A Swop Project, Ongoing project. Audio

The interviews in this archive are made with people involved in local alternatives to
the dominant monetary economy. 

The project is structured as a relay. It started out with two interviews. At the end
of every interview the interviewee is asked to introduce two new people to be
interviewed next. In addition, they are asked to exchange two of the ten initial

The structure in itself aim to illustrate resistance to profitable systems, in the
sense that it supports network building, is anti-hierarchical, equally distributed as
well as without copyright. 

Read the interviews in the Swop Book

Qoute from interview with Neelima Kafle. General secretary of MASK 
- a NGO providing micro-savings and loans to women of rural and urban
areas in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, 
"The men are powerful in our country compared with women, who rarely get an
education; they are treated as second grade. Women are the main target group for
our micro loan system. When the women start their business, they use what they
earn on their children, education, health and the house."

Qoute from interview with Gabriel Oehme - Tauschring Marzahn:
”[...] We haveour own currrency called the 'Marzahner'. It is a social thing. A way
to help each other in a financial difficult situation [...]”

Quote from interview with Ditlev Nissen from Christiania in Denmark.
About the lcal currency LØN:

" [...] In 1997 Christiania started a new and excitingexperiment. We made our own
currency, called LØN. It can be traded in all of Christiania's shops and bars. When
you trade in Christiania you can choose if you want your change in LØN. One LØN 
is equivalent to 50 Danish Crowns. LØNis distributed by Christiania's Common Funds.
A fund guarantees that it always will be covered for the LØN circulating. The idea is
to develop the local economy, to create new activities and businesses and to support
sustainable growth. The LØN can only be used within Christiania, and that supports
the local trade and creates social actions. It's about circulating the money before
they are thrown into the rest of the society. But within the economy today what 
happens is that the local community is emptied for resources. It is the linear eco-
nomy, where the money just goes through the local community and drains it of
energy. It's all about acting locally and thinking globally. But we're lacking in perspec-
tive and in a deeper understanding of things. The small heart functions as in life,
we all have a heart…that's the way it should be in the local community too [...].”

Qoute from interview with Jaap Vink from STROhalm in Utrecht, The

" Strohalm started in the 1970's as an environmental organization. We were very
active in the anti-nuclear movement but throughout the years we changed our
focus to the more underlying causes of the environmental problems. We found out
– of course it took years of investigations – that the actual monetary system, and
especially the role of the interest mechanism, results in short time investments
with negative consequences for the environment but also for the welfare of people.
We developed different methodologies that we try in pilot projects. We started up
the local exchange trade system LETS in the Netherlands. It is still one of the lar-
gest LETS systems worldwide, by now it has around a 1000 members. We decided
to expand our activities also to other countries. The need for change is larger in
southern countries and organizations there are more motivated to join these kinds
of projects. They see the problem of interest, because interest rates in Brazil e.g.
can be up to 40 or even 70 percent.If you have a sort of mechanism to stimulate
internal trade within a community the currency starts circulation within the com-
munity. And if you use local currency, which can only be used within the community,
it prevents the money flowing out to parts where it would get higher profits on
investments. Companies and people get a possibility to use their capacities they
were not using before. Smaller companies can start in a semi-protected environ-
ment, the system gives a protection from strong competition on the world market.
Another advantage is that it also makes people conscious about what their money
is doing."

The interview compilation consist of the following:

Interview with Neelima Kafle
General secretary of MASK 
- a NGO providing micro-savings and loans to women of rural and urban areas in
Kathmandu and Bhaktapur.
Date: Interview December 14, 2008. 
Location: MASK general office, Kathmandu.

Interview with Jaap Vink

The Organisation STROhalm., 
Research & Development network working with the strengthening of local economies
through complementary circuits of exchange.
Date: March 29, 2006. 
Lovcation: STROhalm office. Utrecht, The Netherlands. 

Interview with Marie Knuff and Matthias Wesemeyer

TauschOase Schöneberger
Date: 13 August 2005
Location: Nachbartschaft Zentrum, Schöneberger, Berlin

Interview with Gabriele Oehme
Tauschring Marzahn - Berlin (BRD)
On the local currency 'Marzahner'
Date: 13 August 2005
Location: Selbsthilfe- und Beratungsstelle, Marzahn, Berlin.
Quote from interview: 
"The Marzahn Exchange ring is an attempt to development a system for self-help in
a neighbourhood with social and economic problems. It is open for everyone in the
community. The exchange ring is built on a principal of creating a balance between 
giving and taking.The Marzahn Exchange ring sees itself as a project to develop the
neighbourhood Marzahn-Hellersdorf (Berlin) as a social city in the city. The Marzahn
Exchange ring see itself as a part of a worldwide system of Exchange rings."

Interview with Thomas Rausch
Translator Nicola Dietrich
Kreutzberger Tauschring
Date: 29 July 2005.
Location: Neighbourhood house, Kreutzberger, Berlin.

Interview with John Holten-Andersen 

Engineer in Environmental Issues/ Editor of the magazine SALT. 
On environment and sustainability
Date: 27 April 2005.
Location: The Ecological Inspirationhouse, Copenhagen.
Quote from interview:
“Our whole society is based on making money, and because of that our democracy
is emptied of meaning. In my vision of a sustainable society we turn it the other
way round: Now it's democracy that is the aim of the economy and the economy is
just a means to getting there.”

Interview with Niels Ørum
Ecological guide
On the third world and growth
Date: 27 April 2005.
Location: The Ecological Inspirationhouse, Copenhagen.

Interview with Asger Sørensen
Bank manager
On interest free societies
Date: 27 April 2005.
Location: Faelleskassen (bank) - JAK/Jord Arbejde Kapital - Cph (DK)
Quote from interview:
“In this bank (Faelleskassen JAK) we operate with “interest free money”. The
money our costumers put into their account gives no interest. In return they are
offered interest free loans. There are no shareholders to push us for the biggest
possible profit and we are strongly fighting against the interest system. The ideo-
logy behind Faelleskassen JAK is that nobody should make an economic profit on
behalf of others. Today money has become speculation. Money has become a com-
modity even though the money does not have any value in itself. Imagine that you
dropped every penny and every bill down to the ocean. Nobody would be any poorer
for that reason. Not one. No what has value is what we have created or produced.…
JAK is for Jord (re: soil), Arbejde (re: work) and K for Kapital (re: the produced
goods and values). Of course this refers to our elementary resources.”

Interview with Jakob Jespersen 
Noah Friends of The Earth, Denmark.
On Ecological Backpack and self-sufficient economy
Date: 26 April 2005.
Location: NOAH Office, Nørrebrogade, Copenhagen.
Quote from interview:
”We talk about producing refuse, or garbage, when we throw things out. But in
reality, only a very small part of the refuse comes from the consumers, the great-
est part is coming from the producers. A car for example is 'carrying' a refuse of
25 tons, a gold ring 2.9 tons and an ordinary stapler 4 kilo. The industries, and
therefore the pollution, is more and more based in South and because of that it's
completely invisible to us here in Europe.”“When communism broke down Margaret
Thatcher said: 'My child's name is TINA - There Is No Alternative.' Now there are
some groups, primarily in Germany and India, who work with subsistent economies
in modern societies. They are saying instead: 'SITA - Subsistence Is The Alternative'.”

Interview with Ditlev Nissen
Co-organizer of Christiania's local currency system.
On the local curency LØN.
Date: 22 April 2005
Location: Loppen, Christiania, Copenhagen.

Interview with Helle Kibsgaard
Member of Herlev exchange-ring and author of the dissertation 'Complementary
Money: A tool for the development of local, cooperative economies in Kud Chum,

On complementary money
Interview February 1, 2005.
Qoute from interview:

" One of the things I discovered was that local currencies always create social net-
works, even if that is not the main goal. But obviously you get connected and get
to know each other in a different way when you are constantly exchanging. It always 
leads to increased social exchange and activity."

Download Swop interviewmap

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