VALOR Y CAMBIO
El cambio está en tus manos (#valorycambio) is a story-telling, community-building, and solidarity economy project through the conceptualization and design of a new currency –pesos from Puerto Rico– started by the artists Frances Negrón-Muntaner and Sarabel Santos-Negrón that raises the question of what do Puerto Ricans value as a society.
The project emerges from the island’s more than decade-old debt crisis and punitive austerity measures imposed by the U.S. government. By circulating locally-designed and conceived peso, the project provides an opportunity to consider the question of how can Puerto Ricans create different conceptions of wealth that promote values such as accessible education, clean environment, creativity, self-governance, solidarity, food security; and gender, labor, and racial equity. It also calls attention to the ways that the United States—through their currency, financial institutions and stories about Puerto Rico—does not take into account what most Puerto Ricans value and wish for the island’s future.
The project will circulate stories told in currency bills that feature artists, athletes, activists, and communities who have acted on their values and in that way asserted that “change is in their hands”. Concurrently, the project will circulate the bills/pesos through a mobile “collective bank of values” which will travel through the island gathering stories on video about what people value, and how to bring these values into our daily lives, government, and commerce. Each time a person shares a story, he or she will receive one peso.
The project will work with businesses to use the currency to stimulate economic activity and underscore that money can generate value if a community of users decides to back it. Which are meant to impose authority and link this authority to security, the locally produced pesos underscore that security emanates from robust social relationships, and authority from the actions of communities acting together.