Taking into consideration the need for an interest-free and zero-inflation system of currency, which promotes humane development instead of financial power obsessed with exponential growth, last year a group of people, proposing to create an alternative to the existing currency, started to form in Riga. The idea is not radically new, it has existed in diverse forms in many countries and under various systems for some time now – in Switzerland, Germany, Bolivia, Iceland etc. In each place the alternative currency is adapted to local interests and particularities. In this case wood has been chosen as the point of reference – a renewable energy resource, a versatile, functional material, as well as, during its life-cycle, the basis of the ecological system. Firewood currency provides an opportunity to test the hypothesis of demurrage or “stale money” which, when expressed as the carrying cost of money, will increase its circulation while limiting excessive reserves.
Time will tell if this idea is sustainable in Latvia, or just another utopia.
Inga Erdmane, 2014