Mixed fortunes as solidarity economy takes root in Greece

Mixed fortunes as solidarity economy takes root in Greece

Time banks, farmer-to-buyer sales groups and alternative currencies springing up but expansion has not been steady or easy

Bartering bazaar in Volos
A bartering bazaar in Volos, where tem currency coupons are exchanged for products or services. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

As money has become tighter in Greece, an alternative “solidarity economy” has sprung up providing everything from food and medical care to hairdressing and language classes to thousands – without a euro changing hands.

The Athens Time Bank, for example, allows members to collect credits by offering an hour of their time to someone who needs their services. The bank boasts doctors, dentists, electricians, yoga teachers and plumbers among its ranks, but the most popular service on offer is psychotherapy – highlighting how years of austerity have eaten away at more than just savings and living standards.

“These are the seeds, we are still in the beginning,” said member Christine Papadopoulou, who is also one of the coordinators of an annual “festival of solidarity” that brings together thousands of people for discussions, concerts and workshops each autumn.  Read more


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