Communal Economics

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A. Allen Butcher:

"One may define communal economics as a system in which production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services involve the cooperation and sharing of all involved. In contrast, monetary economics utilizes systems of possessiveness and competition.

Barter systems and local currencies have been used to help monetary economies out of depression as a way to supplement official currencies. (Greco 1998, 64) Since barter is an exchange system in which the goods exchanged are owned privately, it is not a form of communal economics. Since labor exchange systems involve an exchange of services, usually on an hour-for-hour basis, labor exchanges such as “time dollar” systems (Cahn, Rowe 1992) are also forms of barter and therefore are not forms of communal economics." (


Communal Economics. A. Allen Butcher. May 2002


(revised version of the article printed in: Christensen, Karen and David Levinson, General Editors 2003. Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.)