A local currency is a currency that is not backed by a national government and is intended for trade only in a small area. Today, more than 2,500 local currency systems operate throughout the world. Though advocates say local currencies enable people in economically depressed regions to improve their situation, opponents argue that such systems can interfere with economies of scale and lead to tax evasion. What are the oldest local currencies known to be in continuous use?
Henry David Thoreau
Back in the day
Nancy Witcher Astor, or Viscountess Astor, was the second woman elected to the British Parliament's House of Commons and the first to actually serve. She concentrated on women's issues, temperance, and child welfare, and was reelected many times, serving until 1945. Astor attracted a great deal of attention, much of it for her caustic and witty comments. She reportedly once said to Winston Churchill, "If you were my husband, I'd put arsenic in your coffee." What was his response?
Born on a day like today
Claude LÃ©vi-Strauss is best known as the founder of structuralism, an anthropological theory that stresses the interdependence of cultural systems and the way they relate to one another. He theorized that culture is a system of symbolic communication that, like phonemic differences in language, owes its meaning to structure. Borrowing heavily from contemporary linguistics, his theory was a major departure from earlier "functionalist" theories. What role does the incest taboo play in his theory?