3.1. The role of the public sector
3.1.1. The need for sustainable local development
Complementary currencies are a local development tool which can be used in the context of fragile economies experiencing reduction in local spending in favour of superstores and loss of euro income capacity. However, they can also be useful in higher-income and -employment areas with important underused resources and inefficient management systems. Local authorities may find that issuing or facilitating complementary currencies can help to generate synergy among its different responsibilities: boosting local business, providing assistance to collectives at risk of social exclusion, fostering local employment and improving neighbourhood relations, as well as offering support to the collaborative network, including selective waste collection, waste management and prevention of dumping. Complementary currencies present a number of challenges and opportunities in the fostering of sustainable local development. Sustainable development is holistic, takes account of social, economic and environmental issues, and satisfies the needs of the present generation without compromising the capacity of future generations to satisfy theirs.
As discussed previously in this COURSE, there is no standard model for complementary currencies, therefore no two projects are exactly alike. Projects can be remarkably similar, but the precise socioeconomic climate of the environment into which they are introduced will determine the nature of each project and make it unique. Hybrid models are the result of the combination of different categories and characteristics and are tailor-made to fit the project’s objectives, the agents involved and the available resources, among many other factors.
In all cases, and in relation to the potential geographical limitations of the area into which the local authority wishes to introduce a complementary currency project, it should be noted that the aim of a hybrid currency system is always to achieve sustainable local development through social, economic and environmental revitalization and transformation, and is never motivated by aspirations of sovereignty.