Case Studies

Outside the WIR bank in Basel, 2005
(photo by Sergio Lub)

The WIR Bank –Founded in 1934 as the Wirtschaftsring-Genossenschaft (Economic circle cooperative) to enable small and medium sized businesses to trade independently of conventional money and banks, this business-to-business credit clearing exchange continues to thrive. -Details-


The Wörgl Currency and Demurrage

One of the most celebrated cases of community currency was that which occurred in the small town of  Wörgl in Austria in 1932-33. In the midst of the Great Depression, the mayor of that little town took the bold step of issuing into circulation a local currency, the impact of which was heard round the world. Many journalistic accounts have been written and circulated, but few definitive descriptions have been found, and even fewer critical analyses. But, because it is so celebrated, and because it was apparently so successful, this is a case well worth studying.

I have undertaken my own critical analysis and I think this would be a good place to start.

Comment on the Woergl Experiment with Community Currency and Demurrage by Thomas H. Greco, Jr. May 2002

Here are three reports from the 1934 volume of Annals of Collective Economy, plus another based on a chapter from a book written around that time.

  1. The Woergl Experiment With Depreciating Money
    by Alex. Von Muralt
  2. A French View of The Woergl Experiment: A New Economic Mecca
    by M. Claude Bourdet
  3. The End Results of the Woergl Experiment
    by Michael Unterguggenberger, Burgomaster of Woergl
  4. Wörgl’s Miracle – An Analysis by The German School of Monetary Freedom; From a book by Ulrich von Beckerath with an important correction by T. Megalli and comment by John Zube.

The website of Hans Eisenkolb contains a wealth of monetary reform material in both English and German with a particular emphasis on Silvio Gesell. He also has a large section on the case of the Wörgl currency, based largely upon a book by Fritz Shwarz, The Experiment in Wörgl. (1951).

The website, Geld Reformis a monetary reform site containing mostly German language material with some material in English. It contains the entire text (in German) of the only book about the Wörgl currency I know of, that of Fritz Schwarz mentioned above, Das Experiment von Wörgl.

Canadian Tire Money notes

Canadian Tire Money –The quintessential rebate currency. This page links to a paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, A Shred of Evidence on Public Acceptance of Privately Issued Currency.


Sardex –A contemporary example of a successful commercial trade exchange, operating in Sardinia, Italy that may be worth emulating.

A report of my 2015 visit to Sardex, with links to other pertinent material.

The Sardex factor by Edward Posnett –article from the Financial Times.

In this video, Sardex co-founder Giuseppe Littera provides some background and history about the company.