Anyone who had visited the Gulf Islands on the west coast of BC, or anyone who is familiar with small island culture, will appreciate this Master’s thesis examining a community-based micro-economy.

The Salt Spring dollar: toward a re-embedded economy

by Maya Cowan


The Salt Spring dollar is a community currency founded Salt Spring Island, a Gulf Islands community located in the Salish Sea between Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. Currency use in 2018, nearly two decades after its release in 2001, has declined but remains a means of devising alternatives to the dis-embedded market and environmental degradation, as well as a way of re-embedding social concerns and relations in the exchange of money. This thesis is a case study of this alternative currency and examines how it compares to other alternative currencies. It also examines the reasons the use of the Salt Spring dollar has declined since its inception. The Salt Spring dollar illustrates that monetary exchange and participation in the market is not merely an economic act but is also social and political. While the currency was designed with the purpose of promoting local production and exchange, it also was designed to ground money in community and social relations.

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