The new book by Greek columnist Andreas Roumeliotis is out on the shelves of bookstores across Greece through Ianos Publishing House. Entitled “I Can Do It Without the Euro,” the book aims at presenting a solution to the Euro crisis by introducing an alternative solidarity-based economic structure, community banks and social currencies. The author also focuses on the ways in which Vancouver managed to rise from its financial ashes, how Argentina survived its debt thanks to the Nodos, the creditors and the Rosario gardens, and how Brazil got back on its feet with the help of Banco Palmas, one of the many community banks of the country.
The book includes a large-scale study on Solidarity Social Economics throughout Europe, which takes up to 10 percent of the total economy nowadays. It takes note of the 1,500 AMAP food networks operating in France without middlemen, the LETS system and the “Transition Towns” of the UK, the 50 alternative currencies and the 63 community banks of Germany, the French SOL and Italian Libro.
In his interview with journalist Eleni Lazarou for the Greek website kano-oikonomia.gr, Roumeliotis insists that one can make a living in Greece today even without the Euro. Greece can develop a solidarity-based economy by relying more on a community currency or else known as local currency, which can boost the exchange of vocational services and products to those in need. In times of recession and financial crisis social economy is the only way to reduce unemployment.
“Social banks are there to facilitate the trading of services and products among people. Of course, this does not mean returning to ancient trade systems but the establishment of a hi-tech and fair economic system operating auxiliary to the official one,” noted Roumeliotis.
Asked about the increasing number of solidarity networks and organizations in Greece during the past few years of the debt crisis, Roumeliotis said that by next autumn their number is expected to exceed 500. Alone the municipality of Maroussi in Athens has established 12 urban gardens, where unemployed people, immigrants, low-wage workers low pensioners can work to earn some extra money. By next autumn social banks will be in full operation across Greece and alternative currencies will be in circulation in most prefectures. Most municipalities are already hosting social grocery stores, pharmacies, clinics, foreign language schools and eateries. But unfortunately this world does not get any attention by the mass media of the country. Only “Peliti” has gotten some of their attention lately, after it enabled 100,000 professional and amateur farmers to exchange seeds without money over the past 17 years, and thus, preserve the local plant species.
According to the author, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA have an already developed solidarity-based economic system functioning at the same time with the governmental one. In the UK, LETS electronic trade systems are everywhere, while in Berlin one can use the local currency “Berliner” in hundreds of stores next to the Euro.
Moreover, the book features selected articles of Roumeliotis’ work in the daily newspaperEleftherotypia.