Depression economics: The return of scrip

Marisol Bello wrote in yesterday’s USA Today that some areas around the U.S. are reviving the notion of local currencies that are sold to the public at a discount to encourage consumption close to home.

Scrip of this kind was last used widely during the Great Depression, when currency shortages and the instability of local banks were a pressing consideration. There’s a fascinating little website,, that traces the history of local currencies in that era and features a large photo archive of samples from all over America.

Above, a shot of a piece of Minneapolis scrip from the early ’30s. Is it an omen of Ry-bucks to come?

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Bob Leland on 04/09/2009 - 02:18 pm.

    Isn’t this the same as buying a pre-paid credit card for $25, but it has a face value for $50? What is the big deal?

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