Uncommon Currency – How One Man Defeated the Great Depression

German with English Subtitles
1 x 44 min

This documentary investigates whether Michael Unterguggenberger’s interwar vision of a model for running whole economies could have been successful. It also examines why alternative currencies remain so attractive, such as the Chiemgauer, which has a circulation of almost half a million people, and the newer BäRling from Freising near Munich.

Tyrol in the early 1930s: Michael Unterguggenberger becomes the new mayor of the small Austrian town Wörgl, which is in dire financial straits. The Great Depression has left many unemployed and nationalism and anti-Semitism are on the rise. In the face of apparently insurmountable challenges Unterguggenberger embarks on a risky experiment, creating a new currency for the local inhabitants. It is a resounding success: employment in Wörgl recovers, several government infrastructure projects are completed and Unterguggenberger’s “Miracle of Wörgl” attracts attention from countries around the world, including Germany, France and even the U.S.A. However, Austria’s central bank is quick to clamp down, taking the mayor to court and ending the successful experiment. A film by Thomas Reider.

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