Saturday, December 26, 2020

BerkShares are an early version of #thinkfranklinfirst gift cards

The Boston Globe has the following:
"Last spring, shortly after it became clear that COVID-19 was more than just a little flu and that local shops would be down and out for more than just a little while, America got to wondering: How can we save small businesses?

Many commentators demanded quick federal relief. Some consumers went on gift card shopping sprees. And 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted a proposal combining the two — government-issued debit cards redeemable only at locally owned small businesses.

The Twitterati mostly condemned Yang’s idea as “stupid,” “impractical,” and “useless.” And the debit cards never came to pass; consumers got stimulus checks and small businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans instead.

But a piece of his idea — a currency that could only be spent at local businesses — has been a fixture of life in Massachusetts’ southern Berkshires since 2006."

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