This chapter discusses the contribution of 99 per cent of businesses – independent, small or medium enterprises (SME) – to the project of building just, sustainable and dignified economies for the Anthropocene. Recognizing that place matters in understanding who is likely to be an independent trader or an SME owner, the chapter develops a broader and more inclusive understanding of entrepreneurship as something performed by a wide range of people who see small independent, community-based businesses as vehicles for living as they want to – not just the special, ‘heroic’ entrepreneurs that we all rely on to employ us, as lauded by business schools. It recognizes that many independent traders struggle to get by, and may be reluctant entrepreneurs who have no other choice. But many independent traders and SME owners relish their independence and ability to do things their way, putting their ethical values and commitment to their localities into practice in ways that are more-than-capitalist.
This chapter explores how people wishing to develop creative alternatives to money-as-usual issued by states have experimented with a range of diverse alternative forms of currency such as LETS schemes, time banks, local paper currencies, electronic forms of payment, and more recently, cryptocurrencies. Sometimes these are small, local schemes. Sometimes, such as in Argentina after December 2001, millions use them to survive an economic crisis. These different models of grassroots currency suggest, support and enable very different futures: libertarian, communitarian, hyper capitalist, ecological, inclusive. For diverse economies advocates, they enable people to live ethically, sustainably, prosperously, and with dignity and justice in the Anthropocene. The chapter discusses the implications of different ways of valuating alternative currencies (aligned with money-as-usual, with time, or with something else) and if they should be convertible. It discusses the extent to which an alternative currency should be issued and its use managed, and different geographies of circulation.