Complementary Currencies: What Are They? And Why?


  • Ahmed Mahdi Al-Sharif Belouafi King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia



Complementary currencies, stamp scrip, Islamic values, Silvio Gesell, quantity theory of money, velocity of money


The study aims at exploring the reality of complementary currencies (CCs) through descriptive and inductive methodologies. To arrive at some useful and eloquent results three practical experiments of these currencies have been reviewed thoroughly. Among the results the study reached: (1) – CC is a special kind of a ‘common’ and not a ‘legal tender’. It has been designed to serve specific socio-economic objectives in a well-defined territory. Thus, it works alongside the official currency as a complement and not as a substitute to it, (2) – The format, that the money takes, is very crucial in directing economic activity and affecting the nature of relationships that develops among economic agents, and the financial decisions that they take. Therefore, money is not a ‘value neutral’ as assumed by mainstream economics, (3) – The experiments of the stamped/free money showed that the constant assumption of the velocity of money by classical and monetarist school is neither reasonable nor viable. Influencing this factor can have a big impact on economic activity. And, finally (4) – The study proposes a “TTS framework” which the researcher thinks it may provide a more appropriate approach for a better understanding of CCs’ phenomenon by placing it in a broader human and social context. The acronym “TTS” represents letters taken from three Arabic words; takreem (honoring) of human beings as created in the best of stature by the Creator, taqdeer (appreciation) of the human’s good efforts that benefits oneself and the society at large, and istithmar (capitalization) of the diversity of the ‘unique’ talents and expertise that every and each human being has.