Accomodating unwilling allies Creation of a mutual credit system

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Mutual credit systems (MCSs), a type of complementary currency, are thought to have a countercyclical function by providing additional credit in times of recession. Past research has also focused on trust and social values as the basis for MCSs. Actor-network theory, which refrains from making a priori assumptions about the role of either economic or social factors, is used to offer a more detailed account of the creation of a mutual credit system. This study follows the Dam Foundation in Rotterdam pursuing to turn the statement ‘Dam provides an additional source of credit’ into reality. Due to the unsuccessful enrollment of account holders, Dam cannot practice its credit function and is substituted to ‘Dam provides a professional and personal network of entrepreneurs with a similar value system’. This study shows how the enrollment of certain actors can lead to substitutions to the program, and how the meaning of a phenomenon is ultimately dependent on the actors using it, rather than on the initial statement. This study furthermore shows that shared social values are needed to create the system, at least in the absence of any direct economic benefits. Trust, the belief that others will positively contribute to the system based on past experiences of their reliability, tends to be mentioned as a crucial requirement for the development of the system, but not as something currently present.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen