Guest opinion by Crystal Arnold

Creative solutions are needed to navigate this time of rapid transition. I have studied complementary currencies since 2004, and most recently attended the UnMoney Convergence in Seattle in April 2008. More than 100 international experts from diverse fields gathered to collaborate in this growing movement.

From an economic perspective, complementary currencies like OurNexChange encourage the circulation of local goods and services, independent of the availability of national dollars. As "complementary," these currencies do not replace the national dollar but circulate simultaneously, fulfilling a different purpose.

The design of money shapes social behavior. In our current debt-based banking there is inherent scarcity, which breeds competition. There is never enough currency created to pay back the loans and interest owed to the banks.

Currency expert Bernard Lietaer writes, "The ongoing financial crisis results not from a cyclical or managerial failure, but from a structural one." (www.lietaer.com)

OurNexChange provides a local exchange platform that develops relationships of trust in our community. There is transparency, both in the operating and governance of the system. This is not present in our current financial system with complex derivatives markets and the recent unaccountable bailouts. The relationships that provide for our needs are the real value of our community. Through this web of exchange real wealth is created. My recent Sentient Times article expands on this; read it at: www.sentienttimes.com/09/dec_jan_09/currency.html.

Sharon Miranda's commitment to this community is evident by her purchasing the GETS software, which is viewed by many as the most powerful and effective exchange platform in the world. It is also being implemented in Vermont and the Denver, Colo., area. She now has access to the GETS team of experts, who offer consultation and support.

Community currencies are powerful tools that create economic resilience. A resilient system is able to absorb disturbances, responding with flexibility to external shocks. This concept shifts our attention from growth and efficiency to needed recovery and diversity. These systems provide an opportunity to continue trading even when access to national dollars and bank credit are limited.

A complementary currency facilitates economic development that revolutionizes the quality of life. OurNexChange is a valuable resource that could transform the way our community relates.

Crystal Arnold earned a bachelor's degree in international economics from Southern Oregon University in 2007, has completed the Conscious Bookkeeping course and is the creator of the Money Metamorphosis workshop series. Contact her at crystalconsults@gmail.com, or read more at webspiritcommunity.com/webbooth/crystal_consults.