From: (John Turmel)
Subject: TURMEL: LETS Registry debate #2
Date: Thu May  1 08:08:16 1997

Date: Tue Apr 29 13:32:32 1997
From: (Stephen DeMeulenaere)
SD: As I had told John privately, I would have preferred to respond to his
contributions to the "Registry Debate" in private, as they had little
to do with registries or with LETS or with the topic.  But since he
took the private into the public, I'll fulfill his request to post my
response publicly, as I'm a good sport.

JCT: Where's he going to go to in a Global LETS? Mars?
SD: Which "he" do you mean here, Thomas Greco or myself?
     JCT: I meant any debtor who thinks he can escape his LETS
commitment for long, unless he has his own spaceship, and even then,
he'll need fuel.

SD: I'd rather live on Mars than participate in a global LETS anyway.
My interest is local and regional. I don't need shoes from southeast
asia if we can make them right close by, and that's where my Credits
will have more value anyway.
     JCT: Sure, it is inevitable that most production will become
local as local small producers prosper Right now, all nations must
export what their citizens cannot buy at home (I/(P+I)) to the outside
world. Canadians eating Australian beef or vice versa is all a
function of the irrational price marketplace. But I do want to trade
Canada's spare wheat for Brazil's spare bananas and Colombia's coffee
beans. Just because we can live within our local means doesn't mean we
have to give up the diversity a free global marketplace will offer.

JCT: It's the whiff of there being a problem with being in the
negative that bothers me. Most children and poorer nations will be in
the negative, and the big negative, for a long long time but it
doesn't not mean that they won't become productive and someday deposit
enough at the storehouse to enable them to join all the others who
have been in the positive far far longer.
SD:  It still adds up to debt slavery.
     JCT: There's no slavery if the debt doesn't grow and there's no
repayment schedule. Isaiah was in favor of such debt "slavery" when he
said "you who have no money, come, buy and eat." Credit is okay. Only
the interest turns credit into an enslavement device.

SD: Of course going into the negative isn't a problem, as long as
there's some movement towards zero again.
     JCT: Having the industrial production average move up is the main
thrust. Individual wins or losses are never a problem since the
increase in wins will easily compensate for losses. Again, the casino
cashier's job is to provide liquidity under controlled conditions and
whose accounts are where should be of no concern.

SD: I find the comment immediately above offensive, condescending and
disrespectful to people living in the "Two-Thirds World", which
includes the "First World" poor. Are you saying we could use LETS to
get them off their lazy asses again?
     JCT: I never ever said it was laziness that deprived them of the
chance to contribute. I've always said that the game was fixed and
they may not be judged as they've never had a fair chance.
     You have to look at it from the point of view of real wealth.
Canadians might think they have real problems, inflation, funding
cuts, etc., but they don't compare with starvation and illness in the
third world. Every time I see highways, power transmission lines,
truckers on the roads, I say "Look at all that wealth."
     I'm saying that when LETS goes Global, First-worlders who know
how to drive and fix machinery will be able to rack up Hours worth of
credit helping Third-world nations build up their real-wealth infra-
structure. Our world is almost paradise-like already if we could only
get rid of our financial problems. Canada and advanced nations will
surge into the positive for years to come.
     Third-world nations will surge into the negative for as many
years as it takes them to surge into production and add to Eden's
storehouses of collateral wealth upon which they have earned and paid
their debts.
     If you doubt the Third World may find my offer of a credit line
such that all our spare resources are at their disposal for as long as
they need offensive, condescending and disrespectful, especially if
their bellies are full.
     LETS delivers a fair game and admitting that our poorer cousins
will need the lion's share of initial credit allocations makes no
statement about any individual's or nation's self worth. It simply
makes a statement about our belief in that individual's or nation's
ability to become productive with the rest of us in a fair game.

SD: I remember an old debate similar to this one relating to Auckland
and Waiheke LETS in New zealand.  Waiheke is a tourist destination,
connected by an intertrading clearinghouse to Auckland. Waiheke was
flooded by Auckland's LETS Credits, driving rapid inflation and
JCT: There was no technical inflation possible so what was perceived
as inflation was a function of the concerns over inappropriate
SD:  Right, you remember that discussion, except that it was LETS
Credits and not LETS HOURS that were involved.
     JCT: I think that your wish to make a distinction between the two
is relevant because considering the question using the universal time
standard eliminates many of the questions arising from using federal
units which we are now going to debate.

SD: Everyone in Waiheke had large positive balances, it was hard to
get anyone to do anything anymore using the LETS Credits, unless they
were willing to pay through the nose for it. The devaluation was
technical to the extent that the Intertrading System was responsible
for allowing Aucklander's to dump their slow-moving Credits into
Waiheke.  And Perceptual to the extent that people were wanting to be
paid twice the normal Kiwi National Dollar per hour in LETS Credits.
     JCT: "Perceptual to the extent" that it affected mechanical
operation. That's why it's so important that people learn to convert
to time in their thinking or perceptual barriers arise which do not in
reality exist. How does everyone in town being owed 10 hours each by
Aucklanders affect how Islanders trade with each other?

SD: The same problem CAN exist in the Ithaca Hour System, among a
range of other problems, except that there aren't any intertrading
HOUR systems.
     JCT: The whole concept of doubting being owed too many hours by
reputable traders in other neighborhoods would not seem logical to an
Hours user.

SD: They don't have a system of accounts, for one.
     JCT: Of course they do. It's just that everyone takes out their
maximum in paper notes and Paul doesn't have any bookkeeping to do at
his end. Hour notes are the LETS which most perfectly matches casino
accounting principles. Ithaca could agree to extend larger credit
lines to larger concerns, especially the town council, it could start
registering larger trades. The fact it's working fine just by issuing
everyone sufficient chips to facilitate trading within the circle
without any central bookkeeping is its greatest triumph, not its
greatest weakness.

SD: Secondly their currency is limited and much more scarce than LETS
Credits, and they don't necessarily circulate between the
participants, but fall on the ground, or get stolen, or are used to
light cigars during poker games. If too many get issued, the exact
problem with the regular economy is replicated.
     JCT: First, their currency is as scarce as the Hours they can
produce to trade for it. Which is NOT.
     Second, circulating between more than the signed-up participants
is a benefit which greatly outweighs a user losing his cash or
burning it away. Most of use have learned how to cope with cash and
these pitfalls have been mastered by most. So the benefits of having
outsiders trading with insiders without needing to be insiders
themselves seems to be a benefit of notes which is free.

SD: The assistance of other connected LETSystems was of no use, and
Waiheke eventually ceased to exist, or it was restructured to be
balanced again. It wouldn't have been a problem had this been a
JCT: Waiheke ceased to exist because Auckland owed them too much
        SD: No. Because Waihekeans couldn't spend their dollars back
in Auckland and tried to unload them on each other, driving inflation.
And it was LETS Credits, wasn't it? and not LETS HOURS.
     JCT: Again, if they had thought of their savings as Auckland
Hours which will never inflate no matter how much prices rise in
Auckland over the next 10 years, they might have thought twice before
dumping true one-to-one value receipts for less than their true value.
     This is an answer I use when people ask what I will do when we
get elected and peg Canada's Dollar to the Greendollar in our National
LETS. They expect foreign money-holders to dump our promissory money
but if they want to dump a piece of paper worth 1 ton of wheat today
and next year for less than the value of a ton of wheat, they are just
letting us off the hook easily.
     My point is that they fellow on Waiheke who is planning to visit
Auckland and who bought all the Auckland Greendollars at 50% from his
silly neighbors will always get full value when he's in Auckland. So
the Auckland notes did not lose their value. Waiheke LETSers lost
their confidence, lost their true equity, while the sharper ones won
the benefit that the losers didn't see.
     Let's say that after a few years, this fellow has bought all the
Auckland IOUs and spent them to save on expenses while in Auckland.
Once all the Auckland dollars have been returned to Auckland, would
the Waiheke members now feel better about doing LETS trades again?

JCT:  The rationale does not hold if we think in Hours.
SD:  Sure it does, if everyone has too much time on their hands they
won't need anyone to help them get the job done. People would either
be willing to work for free or charge a lot of life-time for a little
     JCT: We can worry about people working for free or charging a lot
of life-time for a little labour-time when everyone has too much
time on their hands and don't need anyone to help them get the job

JCT: This is unbelievable. To prevent the alleged problem of leakage,
a manufacturer who needs 130 different components from 120 different
places in China, Japan, United States is going to have to open
accounts in all those jurisdictions to coordinate their interest-free
SD: That is exactly how the Registry works. In my mind, that's why
we're calling it LETS and not GETS. The GlobalCorp, INC. doesn't GETS
to take what it wants from any locality it wants without paying the
     JCT: The GlobalCorp INC GETS I've been suggesting has no cost and
would require no tithe. One free public newsgroup is all we need.

SD: That's how money gravitates locally and circulates home again,
with the greatest value coming from the area closest to the
individual's home.
     JCT: An Hour will always get an Hour and you will not get greater
value for your local Hour than a foreign one. Sure, money does all
this and has elastic value, even Greendollars might seem to, but Hours

SD: That corporation is going to have to source from as locally as
possible, and within as few systems as possible to keep its production
cost down.
     JCT: But they are going to do that anyway. The question is why
raise their bank expenses by making them join so many other LETSes?

JCT: So if I visit a town and open an account in their system,
anyone I'll want to do trade with will have to open an account in my
system so that we "hold accounts in both Canterbury and Whitstable
LETS to trade with each other?" to avoid leakage?
SD:  No, you missed what was being said. If you're the one making
payment, you'll have to open an account in the system of their choice,
or you better think twice about buying it.
     JCT: That is a silly reason to have to think twice about buying a
product. I'd rather be thinking about quality. And since this kind of
duplication of expenses is needless in a Global Banker clearinghouse,
the "you-only-need-one-account" way of doing things is the best.

SD: If they want the sale, then you have some negotiating power on
your end, to record the transaction in the Registry's overall system.
     JCT: This is not the kind of negotiating power I am interested in

SD: We don't have to worry about leakage in a Registry, it's a problem
with Intertrading Networks and HOURS systems.
     JCT: Paul, has the use of Hours by non members proven to be a
leakage problem Ithaca has had trouble coping with?

JCT:using the Global LETS banker account opened in each Local LETS to
effect Third-Party trade anywhere and everywhere.
        SD:  Why would any local LETS want to do that?  The farther
away from the locality, it can be shown, the less the value of the
LETS Credit. And there are many, many levels from a small town to the
whole world.  Good luck!
     JCT: In economics, it can be shown that the value of credits
change. Again, you're thinking in monetary units which have more and
less value in your eyes. In my eyes, an hour is an hour no matter what
its physical locality.

SD: I'd like a pint of stout from Manchester, please. Wire it to me
here in British Columbia, will ya?  Maybe you should also work on
designing a Star Trek transporter as well, which would make Global
Trading more worthwhile and much less polluting.
     JCT: Considering how I explained that New Zealand Quarterly
reports could be already traded for Canterbury LETS information, this
trivializing of the process by reference to beer and transporters
means you've missed the whole point. If you want a pint of stout from
Manchester and are willing to pay a couple of Hours, $24 Canadian, #12
British, someone over there will mail it to you and you can then owe
me the 2Hour/$24Canadian and I can owe Manchester 2Hour/#12British and
you can make your transaction.
     I think you err in your contention that inter-nation trading is
somehow bad.

SD: Intertrading systems don't account for differences between
economies, and so large systems can flood small ones, tourist
destinations can become flooded with LETS credits earned by city
dwellers, and the Intertrading Clearinghouse is powerless to stop it
unless they should stop the whole relationship over a simple problem
that can be overcome by implementing the Registry.
JCT: I don't see this as a problem.
SD:  Unless you have an account in a flooded system, that is.
     JCT: There will always be those to absorb any flood who know
they'll always get full value when they are presented for redemption.
If people choose to believe that Greendollars have lost value, those
who know the truth will profit. Tough for the no-faith losers.

JCT: and I wonder if Paul Glover has these problems with his time
units in Ithaca? Do the fact some neighboring communities who accept
Ithaca Hour notes have leaked to circulate between members of other
communities who will visit Ithaca to shop someday proven to be a
problem? I doubt it.
SD:  There is no parallel relation between the two community currency
systems which would benefit the discussion here. Paul doesn't seem to
be listening to econ-lets anymore.
     JCT: Why should Paul be participating in the discussions of your
problems when his system doesn't exhibit those problems? And there is
a parallel between the two. It's called a wage. For anyone to deny the
promissory-time-base of their local currency is to not understand the
nature of the system. What is being pledged by each member is time at
work. Not seeing the link, the chain, between the two does explain the
reluctance to talk in terms of Hours.

JCT: Tom is absolutely correct that the problem is obviated with use
of one value standard upon which chips shall be based. I prefer to let
individual LETS convert from their public promises of Greenhours into
their own local currencies. I believe that the International Bankers
hand-book indicates they will someday use the unit of "time" and the
Ithaca Hours system has proven the prototype valid.
SD:  Having studied the Kootenay Barter Bank in Nelson, BC closely, I
strongly disagree. We don't have just one value standard, we have
     JCT: Their cashiers use more than one standard? Tell me more.

SD: Conversion implies incompatible currencies, a clash of values.
     JCT: No conversion to a common standard implies compatible
currencies, a likeness of values: Hour for Hour.

SD: It's a matter of design, which direction to take. I'm debating in
favour of the Registry. and screw the bankers, we're doing this
without them. Besides, we can do everything Ithaca HOUR does and much,
much more. Stephen DeMeulenaere
     JCT: I'd like to hear the vote of the starving Third World babies
on whether LETSers spend the next 20 years building up a computerized
LETS infrastructure from bottom up or do we compel the banks to
install LETS in their existing systems and save them with life-support
credit from top down now.
     I doubt they'd find the suggestion for the speedy solution
offensive, condescending or disrespectful?

Date: Tue Apr 29 17:02:12 1997
From: (Andy Ryrie)
Subject: Registry debate
To: (Econ-LETS)

AR: Having not read econ-lets for a couple of days I now see that the
only postings were 5 or was it 6 all by John Turmel. I have read most
but not all of it. I suspect that most people don't - that's up to
them. If a discussion group gets overloaded by anyone contributor
presumably it'll cease to be used - regardless of whats being said.
     JCT: Andy would have been happier tuning in to find nothing?

AWR: Anyway, a few brief points: (Is anyone reading this?)
John, you say that you're concerned with politics rather than
technical detail yet your latest registry debate posting does deal
with - and I think tends to mix up two, as you call them, technical
points. Firstly registry v intertrading and secondly defining units by
national currency or time.
Yes these are important.
Yes people have different ideas about them.
Yes these kinds of issues cannot be seperated from politics.
If you're going to talk about LETS you have to specify the model
you're advocating.

JCT: I would opine that any mechanisms in place to prevent
leakage will act like bars in the spokes of trade. Leakage is trade.
We need more trade. We need more leakage within our one system.
AWR: The quality of life cannot be calibrated by the volume of economic
     JCT: I think the quality of life is enhanced by greater volume of
economic activity.

AWR: All trade is not necessarily good trade. GNP is measured
that way & worshiping the mirage of economic growth is worth
questioning. Your call for more leakage does not take account of the
detrimental effects of leakage on a community.
     JCT: I don't see Hours leaking having detrimental effects.

AWR: Your 'one system' - a global mono system is I suggest not really
a LETSystem.
     JCT: My Global Banker Usenet newsgroup is a Global mono system
which acts like a LETS for LETSystems. It uses the same equation to
produce balanced transactions. It's the same thing.

AWR: An interest free trading system ok but that's not really the same
thing. Let's be clear about that. Leakage of wealth and spending
capacity is undisputably a problem in the existing money system. It is
important that we do not replicate that problem.
     JCT: Leakage is only a problem when liquidity is kept in
perpetual shortage. When you've got your own pump-house, you're not
worried about from your pool.

AWR: As I have said to you before John, interest is an important
issue, it is not the only one.
     JCT: As I've asked before, name another?

AWR: I find myself agreeing with the points made by Stephen DeMeulenae
about registries. John does not seem to have understood the drawbacks
of intertrading which presumably lead to the registry design. Andy.
     JCT: I hope I've conclusively dismissed the drawbacks experienced
in local prototype testing.
     If some people choose to devalue another casino's chips, anyone
familiar with the rule that all chips are backed by collateral will be
available to absorb any under-valued liquidity as a profit to
     As long as those Auckland dollars remained worth what they were
worth when the Aucklanders pledged and spent them, anyone taking on a
loss on them was losing of their own volition on a token whose value
could not be altered.
     The fact a LETS would break down because of their
misunderstanding of the value of their neighbors' IOUs is the saddest
part of the tale. Another great reason that this leakage problem has
to be finally dismissed before it causes other systems to fold.
     Once they understand that the tokens are receipts for time, I
have no doubt there will be any hesitation to be in the positive.
After all, within local systems, doesn't everyone prefer to the in the
positive? Why would that attitude be reversed for inter-system
     Regardless, if Canterbury LETS posts a public transaction stating
it owes Thames LETS for their archives and vice versa, has not inter-
trading been accomplished in an acceptable form?

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