Economics/Class Relations

Why a small town in Washington is printing its own currency during the pandemic

The Hustle

Wayne Fournier was sitting in a town meeting when he had his big idea.

As the mayor of Tenino, Washington (population: 1,884), he’d watched the pandemic rake local businesses. Residents couldn’t afford groceries. Long lines snaked outside the local food bank. For more than a month, the downtown area looked almost abandoned.

To bring back the economy, Fournier needed to act. “We were talking about grants for business, microloans, trying to team up with a bunch of different banks,” he tells The Hustle. “The big concern was, ‘How do we directly help families and individuals?’”

And then it hit him: “Why not start our own currency?”


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