“Commons Credits” refers to various forms of local and public interest currencies that reflect the value added to the commons, the shared background of the ecosphere that sustains all of us. There are many forms of complementary and alternative currencies; we’re simply generalizing the principles to recognize the value that is created by contributions to the public good.
Usually these are not recognized in conventional economic models. Just as these models leave out “externalities,” which are the costs that the economic system imposes on all of us, it also neglects to recognize as valuable the benefits provided as contributions to the public good. One example is the invisibility of the caring economy, where the services rendered by parents to their children, and by children to their parents, are not recognized in the economic system. Another is the benefit that community activists provide in eliminating abuses and reforming the system; and the many other services and benefits provided by volunteers throughout the society.
Commons Credits can be recognized locally, regionally, or globally. In this site they are recognized at the state level, as JerseyBucks™. JerseyBucks™ can be spent, exchanged, or invested anywhere that they are accepted, including outside New Jersey. They represent the added value (or detriment) provided by individuals or organizations that are “in addition to” the immediate values conferred by the exchange. In this way they can be used to incentivize economic activities that are in the public interest, such as reducing pollution, and also at some point to disincentivize detrimental activities, by reducing or removing the incentives from actions that are detrimental.
Not all of the mechanics of using JerseyBucks™ as an additional currency have been spelled out. This is in fact the focus of a separate CRCS project (to be linked here).
Not all of the implications of JerseyBucks™ have been analyzed (any more than the implications of using conventional currencies); it’s our expectation that many different kinds of enterprises can be supported in whole or in part by JerseyBucks™.