Green Party of Canada

News Release

Brant-Haldimand Byelection '92

LETS get communities working

people still have skills, talents and a desire to help each other and
the community but under the current economic structure, they have no
way of putting them to use. But there is an alternative. It's a
program called the Local Employment Trading System (LETS) and it
allows communities to help themselves.
     The LETS is a sophisticated barter system that enables people to
trade their skills with other local people to obtain goods and
services they require. In a traditional barter system, one person may
wish to trade their clothing repair skills in order to get their
bicycle fixed by another person. A strict barter system is limited in
its usefulness as the trade falls apart if the bike repairer has no
need for clothing to be mended.
     The LETS system encourages many people with a wide variety of
skills to participate in the system where they list their skills and
products that they offer. Trading is then conducted in LETS points,
called green dollars. Each service is allotted a certain value in
green dollars and transactions are reported by telephone to a LETS
manager who keeps track of members' credits and debts for what they
buy and trade, on a computer database. Since green dollars represent
real work and talent, they are unaffected by inflation, interest rates
and monetary debt. Fifty green dollars in 1992 will be worth fifty
green dollars in 1999.
     In the above example, LETS would solve their problem. The mender
would get his bicycle fixed, he would be debited points and the
repairer would be credited. The mender could then mend the baker's
pants to build up points. Meanwhile, the bike repairer has spent her
points to purchase toys for her children and so on. Members can trade
using all green dollars or a combination of cash and green dollars
depending on their particular needs.
     The LETS system was designed by Michael Linton, an engineer from
Courtenay, B.C. Linton has successfully launched several systems on
Vancouver Island and LETS has since spread to several North America
communities as well as Australia and New Zealand where it has played
an important role in revitalizing the standard of living. And it will
work in Brant-Haldimand too!
     Ella Haley is a firm believer in LETS and is offering to help
Brant-Haldimand communities set up LETS systems as an economic
strategy -- giving them a locally empowering, dignified, self-help
economic lifeline. Several LETS systems could easily be set up in
Brant-Haldimand to promote prosperity. After all, when layoffs occur,
businesses fail, and the three other political parties can not come up
with solutions, we all still retain our skills and desire to be
productive. LETS helps us put these skills to use, regardless of
economic events beyond our direct control.

Campaign Manager Jim Harris.

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