Juarez Mello, mayor of the small town of Braga in Brazil, has found a novel approach to the country’s economic troubles – inventing money. Mello says he created his new currency, ‘the bonus’, to help reactivate the economy in his town of 4,500 people. He dismisses complaints from the Finance Ministry, saying he is merely following President Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s suggestion that ‘only those who are creative will survive’. Brazil is facing one of its most difficult economic crises in years. In the first few weeks of 1999, the country’s currency, the real, lost more than ten per cent of its value against the US dollar.
Latin America Press Vol 31 No 2