Baltimore’s “green” local currency, the BNote, is almost one year old. Happy birthday, BNote. But unfortunately, I don’t really like babies, and I fucking hate the BNote. The mentality behind creating a currency that forces those that hold it to spend it on the products and services of area small businesses does not only reflect the idiocy of petty bourgeois calls to “think local,” it is also a means to accentuate Baltimore’s deeply ingrained structural racism and economic polarization. Some of us need every dollar we have to pay for rent or groceries, and if we are paid tips or worse, wages, in BNotes, forgive us for being enraged that the only thing we can now access is one-tenth of a dinner at Woodberry Kitchen, an artisanal piece of garbage from somewhere in Hampden, or a shitty coffee at Red Emma’s. Supposedly these are convertible into dollars, but as anyone who has tried to break a dollar for change at a restaurant knows, asking small businesses for currency exchanges is a pain in the ass.
Let me point out some other aspects of how annoying the BNote is.