technicians and software advisers offer their services. Local agriculture in
the periphery of the city has enormously benefited from this possibility to
market its products. The same can be said of the social sector - nurses are
often being paid with regional money.
Rolf Schröder: How does a hairdresser - to take up your example - cope with
the constraint of being paid just in regional currency? Apart from private
expenditures they also have to defray costs in Euro.
S. Flor: You are right. In particular the equipment used has to be financed
in very orthodox ways. However, from the examples I mentioned before, you
can see that the typical local services do not require much capital. But
coming back to the hairdresser - his customers are not only people like me,
who pay with regional money. I would reckon that more than one third of them
are bank clerks, highly specialized engineers, secretaries and others, who
pay their bill in the old way by producing their Euro card. Whereas I paid
eight "Locales" the price in Euro is higher, twelve or fourteen Euros, as
far as I remember. Of course, this reflects the fiscal benefits for regional
transactions. However, my hairdresser could decide to change prices with the
aim to increase his Euro income - it is his choice.
Rolf Schröder: As I understand it, these institutions are markets, a small
copy of what we have on the global level.
S. Flor: Not quite. They are non-profit organizations. People sell and they
make money, yes, but this makes sense only in as far as they spend the money
Rolf Schröder: How does that work in practice? How did you effectuate the
payment of eight "Locales"? Did you also use plastic money?
S. Flor: Yes. Although the "plastic" and the whole payment transfer has
hardly any resemblance with what you experience in the early years of the
century. Inserting the price into the payment machine plus security check is
a very quick procedure. The amount is being credited on the account of the
hairdresser whereas I get a debit note. These accounts are being managed by
the local market authority. This administration is also providing financial
support, manages credit lines, and assists with regard to technology
transfer and professional training. These institutions are a kind of pivot
between the regional markets and the traditional economy.
2. The Dual Economy - a story of mutual dependency
Rolf Schröder: This arrangement appears to be rather complex. What I find
surprising is that the regional markets and the old-style economy are
closely bound up with each other. Would it be correct to say that they are
just a kind of annex to the global system?
S. Flor: In a way - yes, although this sounds like the negative
interpretation put forward by those critics who argue that the fundamental
economic reform of the last decades only conceals the inherent
contradictions of capitalism.