Tumin (currency)

Túmin is an used in the municipality of Espinal, , . Its name means “money” in the . (Note that this word in Totonac is borrowed from the old Spanish coin the “tomín” [www.rae.es]). Espinal is a municipality of some 2600 inhabitants, 19% of whom are indigenous . Used as a complementary currency, the Tumin was first put in circulation in 2010 as a student project at the Intercultural University of Veracruz, where students were trying to find ways of strengthening the local economy. In Espinal the access to cash is scarce as most people work for the minimum wage. The project creators analyzed the economy of the area and concluded that there were sufficient goods and demand, but that a medium of exchange was lacking. The creators designed bills and started promoting its use as a kind of exchange coupon among locals in Espinal, in order to support a barter economy. The bills are decorated with the likenesses of and paintings by , and they describe the value of the bill in Spanish and Totonac. The Mexican National Bank has in fact sued the developers of Tumin for acting against its monopoly on printing money, a lawsuit that is still on-going. The creators state that the accusations are invalid as Tumin do not replace money, but is rather an instrument for barter.

One 2013 study argued that the currency was ineffective in reaching the goal of improvement of the community’s economy, but that it has been successful in promoting mutuality and solidarity within the community.



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