Data

General Issues
Social Welfare
Business
Economics
Location
Pumarejo de Tera
Castilla y León
49626
Spain
Links
https://monedasocialpuma.wordpress.com/
Start Date
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Deliver goods & services
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Approach
Independent action
Civil society building
Social mobilization
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Negotiation & Bargaining
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

CASE

The Puma Local Exchange Trading Scheme Alternative Currency (Pumarejo, Spain)

First Submitted By Institute of Development Studies

Most Recent Changes By Scott Fletcher, Participedia Team

General Issues
Social Welfare
Business
Economics
Location
Pumarejo de Tera
Castilla y León
49626
Spain
Links
https://monedasocialpuma.wordpress.com/
Start Date
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Deliver goods & services
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Approach
Independent action
Civil society building
Social mobilization
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Negotiation & Bargaining
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

In Pumarejo, a neighborhood of Sevilla, Spain, locals have come together to create a local exchange scheme and the Puma, a local currency, to reduce vulnerability and economic exclusion.

Problems and Purpose

An alternative currency, the Puma Local Exchange Trading Scheme (LETS), was deployed in the marginalized Pumarejo neighbourhood of Seville in 2012 to reduce vulnerability and exclusion resulting from the economic crisis of 2008.[1] The aim was to build an alternative to the mainstream economy, using a flat organisational structure based on sharing and solidarity rather than competition and individual accumulation.[2] The use of the Puma would support more localised consumption, redeployment of skills and competencies, and development of micro-enterprises.[3] 

Background History and Context

Pumarejo had suffered from stigmatisation as dangerous area due to poverty, homelessness and prostitution, and later was exposed to gentrification and property speculation, which led to poor people being expelled from the neighbourhood.[4] The economic crisis of 2008 had particular effect on Pumarejo’s inhabitants, where many residents lost jobs and faced social and economic exclusion.[5]

The movement to create an alternative currency was initiated by a coalition of ‘de-growth’ activists, activists from the Neighbours Association in Defence of Pumarejo Palace (NADPP) and local residents.[6] De-growth activists saw it as stepping stone to alternative economic system, NADPP activists saw it as practical way to support collective action, and poor households saw it as a way to diversify income and reduce vulnerability and exclusion.[7] 

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

The puma currency was created by de-growth movement activists, and local residents, with the help of other LETS promoters in Spain.[8]

Participant Recruitment and Selection

Know how participants were recruited? Help us complete this section

Methods and Tools

Local exchange trading systems (LETS) are alternative marketplaces which allowing for the exchange of goods and services using a locally created currency. LETS were developed as a way to allow trading between those who are not able to acess or participate in traditional economic structures.[9]

What Went on: Process, Interaction, and Participation 

Starting with 20 participants who adopted the Puma (1Puma = 1Euro), at least 800 people are now using the currency.[10] The Puma was developed through a workshop where attendees acquired basic knowledge and skills to start the currency; mapping and linking local needs and available resources.[11] At first, a horizontal organisation structure was created based on a weekly general assembly, but as the currency grew in popularity, a decentralised structure was created with a steering group to make organisational and coordination decisions and several autonomous and self-organised working groups to perform specific tasks based on their own targets.[12] Members have a personal account (publicly available) which shows exchanges of goods and services; the value of which is negotiated between members. Individuals are either in credit or debit to the community, not to individuals, and credit is interest free to encouraging trading.[13]

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The initial, rapid scaling of the currency’s use created managerial and coordination problems; undermining trust and solidarity elements.[14] In response, Puma Social Currency Network launched a period of ‘hibernation’, following which membership was restricted and new internal rules introduced.[15] Over time it has become more professionalised and more project- and goal-oriented – creating some tension with its initial flexible and spontaneous structure. An emphasis on members participating in organisational functions and transmitting the core values of Puma LETS has led to it becoming a more closed activist hub, reducing diversity and failing to engage people in their everyday lives.[16]

Analysis and Lessons Learned

A high level of exclusion can be observed within the movement. While the organisation claimed to be ‘flat’ or horizontally-structured, the majority of tasks fell to original members with a high involvement in the steering committee, rather than those seeking income generation.[17]

See Also 

Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS)

References    

[1] Prado, Cristina Medina. Our Money: Our Place - Exploring ‘Puma LETS as a Micro-Political Tool in the Context of Economic Crisis.’ Institute of Social Studies, 2014. https://www.academia.edu/10083428/Our_money_Our_place_Exploring_Puma_LETS_as_a_micro-political_tool_in_thecontext_of_economic_crisis_

[2] Prado, Our Money: Our Place.

[3] Sanchez, Israel. Community-Based Alternative Economy. Pumarejo & Social Currency. https://www.slideshare.net/israelkp/communitybased-alternative-economy-pumarejo-social-currency. Think Space.

[4] Díaz Parra, Ibán. "Movimientos vecinales contra la gentrificación y transformaciones en la política local de Sevilla. Los casos de El Pumarejo y San Bernardo [Neighbourhood movements against gentrification and transformations in the local politics of Seville. The cases of El Pumarejo and San Bernardo]." Scripta Nova, Special Issue: X. Coloquio Internacional de Geocrítica (2008).

[5] Díaz-Parra, Ibán, and J. Candón. “Squatting, the 15-M Movement, and Struggles for Housing in the Context of the Spanish Social Crisis.” Human Geography, vol. 8, no. 1, 2015, pp. 40–53.

[6] Rodríguez García, María Jesús, and Cristina Mateos Mora. “Decrecimiento, Comunidades Locales y Recuperación de Solidaridades Vecinales. El Caso de La Moneda Social «Puma».” Innovación Social y Políticas Urbanas En España: Experiencias Signicativas En Las Grandes Ciudades, Icaria editorial, 2015.

[7] Prado, Cristina Medina. Our Money: Our Place - Exploring ‘Puma LETS as a Micro-Political Tool in the Context of Economic Crisis.’ Institute of Social Studies, 2014.

[8] Prado, Cristina Medina. Our Money: Our Place - Exploring ‘Puma LETS as a Micro-Political Tool in the Context of Economic Crisis.’ Institute of Social Studies, 2014.

[9] Dil Green, “LETS Marketplace from a Feature ‘Phone,” Digital Anthropology (Digital Anthropology, April 24, 2017), https://digital-anthropology.me/2017/04/24/lets-marketplace-from-a-feature-phone/#more-1431.

[10] Casa Grande del Pumarejo. “About Us.” Casa Grande Del Pumarejo, 2015, http://www.pumarejo.es/en/content/paginas/about-us.

[11] Prado, Cristina Medina. Our Money: Our Place - Exploring ‘Puma LETS as a Micro-Political Tool in the Context of Economic Crisis.’ Institute of Social Studies, 2014.

[12] Prado, Cristina Medina. Our Money: Our Place - Exploring ‘Puma LETS as a Micro-Political Tool in the Context of Economic Crisis.’ Institute of Social Studies, 2014.

[13] Community Exchange Systems Ltd. “What Is the CES?” Community Exchange System, https://www.community-exchange.org/home/what-is-the-ces/. Accessed 26 Feb. 2019.

[14] Prado, Cristina Medina. Our Money: Our Place - Exploring ‘Puma LETS as a Micro-Political Tool in the Context of Economic Crisis.’ Institute of Social Studies, 2014.

[15] Red de Moneda Social Puma. “Hibernación 2013-2014.” Red de Moneda Social Puma, 6 Apr. 2014, https://monedasocialpuma.wordpress.com/hibernacion-2013-2014/.

[16] Prado, Cristina Medina. Our Money: Our Place - Exploring ‘Puma LETS as a Micro-Political Tool in the Context of Economic Crisis.’ Institute of Social Studies, 2014.

[17] Prado, Cristina Medina. Our Money: Our Place - Exploring ‘Puma LETS as a Micro-Political Tool in the Context of Economic Crisis.’ Institute of Social Studies, 2014.

External Links

Official website [Spanish]: https://monedasocialpuma.wordpress.com/

Notes

Lead image: Red de Moneda Social Puma/Facebook, https://goo.gl/xaKoiA

The first submission of this Participedia entry was adapted from a research project by the Institute of Development Studies, 'Linking Participation and Economic Advancement’ licensed and reproduced under Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).

Original source: https://www.eldis.org/keyissues/mapping-participation-economic-advancement