Most of us take for granted that those rectangular green slips of paper we keep in our wallets are inviolable: the physical embodiment of value. But alternative forms of money have a long history and appear to be growing in popularity. It’s not merely barter or primitive means of exchange like seashells or beads. Beneath the financial radar, in hip U.S. towns or South African townships, in shops, markets and even banks, people throughout the world are exchanging goods and services via thousands of currency types that look nothing like official tender. TIME Business
Phi Beta Iota: In a recent radio show on the East Coast, the single most urgent question was “what do we do if the US dollar collapses?” Alternative currencies are a huge part of the answer. Signals are mixed on whether the US will experience hyper-inflation and interruption of common supply chains (food, fuel, water). On balance we tend to believe that the USA will muddle through and crisis at the neighborhood level will be avoided.