How It Works
How does the 5% discount work? The five percent discount is part of the federal dollars-to-BerkShares exchange rate, not a discount given at the point-of-sale. That 5% doesn’t “go” anywhere – no one is making a percentage on BerkShares transactions. To explain more clearly, let’s follow 100 BerkShares through a common transaction: One day, you decide to go out for a nice dinner.
You go to the bank to purchase BerkShares to spend at a local restaurant. You go in with 95 federal dollars and exchange them for 100 BerkShares. You go to dinner, and the total cost comes to $100. The restaurant accepts BerkShares in full, so you pay entirely in BerkShares. Therefore, you’ve spent 95 federal dollars and received a $100 meal – a five percent discount for you. The owner of the restaurant now has 100 BerkShares. They decide that they need to deposit them for federal dollars and return them to the bank. When they bring them to the bank, the banker deposits the 100 BerkShares you spent on dinner and gives the restaurant $95 federal dollars, the same 95 dollars that you had originally exchanged for BerkShares. The end result? You receive a five percent discount because of the initial exchange, but the same $95 you originally traded for BerkShares all goes to the business where you spent those BerkShares.
About BerkShares, Inc.
Echoing the local currencies widely used throughout the early 1900s, BerkShares serve as a tool for community economic empowerment, and development toward regional self-reliance. BerkShares are meant to maximize the circulation of goods, services, and capital within a defined region, thus strengthening the local economy. Commonplace during the early 1900s, local currencies are once again being recognized as a tool for sustainable economic development. The currency distinguishes the local businesses that accept the currency from those that do not, fostering stronger relationships between the responsible business community and the citizens of the region. The people who choose to use the currency make a conscious commitment to buy local, and in doing so take a personal interest in the health and well-being of their community by laying the foundation for a truly vibrant, thriving economy.
BerkShares, Inc. is the place-based, democratically structured non-profit organization that issues BerkShares, a local currency for the Berkshire Region. BerkShares, Inc. works in collaboration with participating local banks, local businesses, and local non-profit organizations to strengthen the Berkshire regional economy through a local currency program and related pursuits.
The members of BerkShares, Inc. envision a diverse and resilient regional economy that supports and prioritizes responsible production and consumption, wherein community members rely on the land and each other to fulfill the basic needs of food, culture, clothing, shelter, and energy.
Money can be a powerful decision-making tool. BerkShares turn currency into a tool for community education and empowerment in the Berkshires, while celebrating our landscape, heroes and artists.