* JCT: Eleven years ago
in 1986, Jean Chretien resigned his seat in
**St. Maurice and I doubt he could have missed Turmel promoting LETS
**on my Creditist program in the by-election after I made the news
**being arrested for attempting to participate in an election debate
**with his Liberal protege.
*Well, I'm glad I stand corrected! Perhaps the growth in the number of
*systems that have cropped up since then will help him revisit the
*concept in a more encouraging light.
JCT: More than the growth in the number of systems is the number
of governments who have supported LETS including Health Canada's grant
to the University of Toronto to study the health benefits of belonging
to a LETS. Elected politicians and Parliaments are already pro-LETS.
By the way, we were both candidates for Prime Minister in 1993
when led his 300 Liberals and I led my 80 Abolitionists.
**JCT: Besides, we'd bumped into each other
so many times on
**Parliament Hill in my first 5 years of weekly picketing of the Bank
**of Canada and Parliament Hill that there is virtually no chance he
**has missed John Turmel screaming for National LETS from every open
**political pulpit in the land.
** I hope you're successful and if you do see Jean, make sure to
**ask: Why didn't you see the benefit of LETS 11 years ago? Had Jean
**adopted LETS 11 years ago, the bad times would have been avoided.
**And his maker's going to hold him responsible for the fact that
**there were more children existing in poverty when he was through
**than when he got started, the true indictment of political justice.
**There aren't many political leaders who can boast having reduced
**child poverty and those who have are usually portrayed as "mad
**dogs" in the news.
*Well, I tend to present the topic in different
ways depending on who
*the audience is. This trip with Chretien will involve businesspersons
*and politicians almost exclusively - provincial Premiers are also
*going - so I plan on talking, first, about how technology is changing
*the way entrepreneurship and self-employment can happen, especially
*since so many programs attempt to address community health by first
*trying to address employment and retraining issues.
JCT: I envy you your opportunity. You should keep a journal of
their responses. Trust me it will be of interest to LETS historians.
Remember though that they are always coming from the angle of ShiftA
inflation. Argentina is the only way to prove that adding local
currency reduces federal ShiftB inflation.
One could argue that if it is found that adding local currency
brings inflation down, then they were suffering ShiftB inflation, not
*But these programs seem to be very costly
in comparison with LETS, and
*and revolve around tired paradigms that haven't succeeded well.
*Workers get "retrained" through employment programs that can cost
*thousands per person to implement, and they often end up with little
*more than basic word-processing skills. By contrast, LETS can, and
*has, provided skills-adaptation by providing a very low-risk (and
*low cost) opportunity to test new employment directions within a
*social network, where startup capital for a self-employment idea
*doesn't have to be risked in the kind of "all-or-nothing" way demanded
*by the regular economy. This is one of the most powerful arguments
*I've found to work in getting small business people involved in LETS.
*Often they're making a career transition and see right away the value
*of the pre-existing social / trading network that a LETS group has
*already brought together.
JCT: I agree. It's handy having models sprouting up in many
neighborhoods to point at.
*And the home-based, one-person business now has a solid array of tools
*(fax, email, web, pager, and LETS-style member / service / networking
*"groups of affinity") that make it much easier to creatively pursue
*the mundane aspects of making a living, which are necessary and timely
*given the unemployment problems that seem so entrenched these days.
*LETS will be the example on the trip since I'm taking the software
*down in Spanish and Portuguese versions.
JCT: I hope they provide for the choice of Hours of currency. As
the upcoming global standard, it has to be wise that they be prepared
for the notion of global time trading.
*But the company I represent
*(Community Software), is essentially an adjunct of a CED think-tank
*that pursues various creative alternatives to employment issues, of
*which LETS is just one. And Community Software itself is an experiment
*in job-creation that is based on CED scholarship - still obscure -
*that rests on "mapping community capacity" rather than risk-venture
*capitalism. Showcasing that approach to the Prime Minister is, I
*think, another subtle goal of the trip. The "product" (software) just
*happens to cater to an innovative community-based economics (LETS),
*while the "company" (Community Software) just happens to exist through
*innovative venture-startup ideas. From our end, these are not
JCT: It may be that LETS time has come.
*But as far as Chretien knows at the moment,
we're just another youth
*company with a product (there are five such companies going, and a
*number of older, corporate-types). I think that subtlety in altering
*the underlying paradigm - while using familiar terms like "company"
*and "product" - is similar to the way that LETS plays with
*connotations of money and familiar concepts as an introduction, while
*in fact altering them in practise. I've seen a number of LETS members
*come to the (often joyful) realization over time, as the full
*implications of LETS dawn on them, in terms of social cohesion and
*community and social health.
JCT: It is joyful to see Christ's financial differential equation
in action with effects described Paul Corr II: 8:14:
Where those who gather much don't have too much and where those
who gather little don't have too little and there can be equality."
I see the whole planet singing in financial joy in under 3 years.
What an amazing turnaround. In my Rensselaer presentation, I pointed
out the suddenness of the change for 99% of the world who have no idea
that interest-free credit is coming by asking a starving African
saying: "Here's an interest-free credit card. Are you hungry?" To him,
financial security, earthly heaven, will have arrived in that
LETS is "liberation from our debts" software. Joyful software.
*This is the strategy I see as being
*successful in dealing with the wheels of government also - underscore
*the familiar in terms that are familiar (employment, local wealth-
*creation, skills retraining, cost-effectiveness), and let the more
*radical bits, or hard-to-measure bits (societal) seep in over time.
*Nor do I see LETS as a singular topic, but a potentially powerful
*meeting-place for community, non-profit, elderly, scholars, youth
*unemployed, and small business people, with government perhaps coming
*on board, as they tend to do, once the people lead and government sees
*it's become politically safe to endorse. Hence the need for the "nuts-
*and-bolts" of building the systems, one by one - perhaps the reason
*for discussion on starting a purely practise-oriented list.
JCT: There are too many hungry children to be going one by one
when these guys have to power to deliver financial lifeboats to their
constituent databases the very next day using existing banking system
hardware. Banks need only be instructed to offer LETS accounts and the
nuts and bolts are solved.
Though I approve of the nuts and bolts efforts, I realize that
they will eventually be laid aside with our profuse thanks for the
threat the represented if the current banking hardware did not do the
job we were about to do ourselves and was therefore compelled to offer
the LETS software to compete. They point is that they can get interest-
free credit cards to the Third World faster than our puny local efforts
*I see each of the societal groups above
participating in LETS for very
*different reasons: the nonprofits, like the Red Cross, psych-survivor
*groups, social agencies - approach it as a new tool for addressing the
*specific community problems they address. The elderly tend to get in
*for the social and practical side as they become less able to manage
*without help, and more isolated socially. The CED outfits look at it
*as further defining their differences with standard corporatism. The
*young unemployed just want a job and skills. Scholars are in because
*it's fascinating, evolving quickly, with tremendous implications
*academically and societally. Small business sees competitive advantage
*in the trading infrastructure of a members-only client group.
*Government seems perplexed, waiting. And of course, lots of us are
*mixed into all of these sectors simultaneously.
JCT: Sure, it works wonderfully because there's no positive
feedback. They should all like having their own LETS account whether
they set them up themselves or government and banks offer the service
for them. I think the Daughters of Charity in El Paso Texas are a great
reference for those in favor of reducing child mortality in poverty
*Trying to boil it down to to a singular
topic might alienate one group
*or another. I've learned to try and identify which sector I'm dealing
*with, and shift promotional tactics accordingly - sometimes presenting
*LETS as sociology, sometimes as entrepreneurship, sometimes as
*revolutionary economics. 1/s is a seminal point,
JCT: But it most clearly indicts the most seminal point of the
usury banking system: 1/(s-i), the positive feedback of interest. And
i=0 is an assault on the cognitive dissonance ingrained in all current
*but misses the social
*side of implementation and keeping it all running in unique community
*contexts, which is where the swapping of practical notes is important.
JCT: Sure, as en engineer, to me, LETS was designed as a lifeboat.
A machine. The social implications are a direct function of how people
choose to use that machine and it always pleases me to hear of
innovative uses made by people once hooked up to the machine.
*I hadn't noticed that you always prefix
your subject headers with
*'TURMEL' - a nice courtesy, and it also logically creates its own list
*without fracturing off. Perhaps if other posts were similarly prefixed
*with 'PRACTICAL' or 'SCHOLARLY' then it would achieve similar sublists
*while keeping everything together.
JCT: I always
thought so even though it has sometimes been
construed as a massive ego. I've found it to be of immense help in
checking through newsgroups and mail. I know there is a following who
like and approve my of programs and tactics and those who are offended
by them. It all depends if I was right when I picketed the Bank of
Canada with an "Interest kills" and "Abolish Interest Rates" sign. If I
was wrong about the genocidal implications of usury, then I was a fool
to have called myself The Engineer. If I'm right, I won't only be known
as a great professional Poker player but also as a great engineer who
did his duty. So, the flag has saved me a lot of grief over the years.
*Getting back to LETS promotional tactics:
for me, communicating the
*entrepreneurship aspect is always the starting point with business
*types and mainstream politicians - something they can relate to
JCT: I have stock routines which boil down to telling them about
saving the interest.
The pensioner example works great and the teacher example is
particularly effective in demonstrating how taxes can be paid faster.
*Maybe later weave in the community and
*aspects of poor folks getting financially stable through LETS, and
*then, if they're still listening, get around to the more radical
*implications in terms of how it may restructure economies themselves.
*(And I reverse the promotional pitch completely when talking to
JCT: I like to put them on the spot with a life-and-death issue
they are currently facing. When someone dies because the ambulance
didn't get there in time, premiers take the heat. When someone dies
because of environmental pollution, usually, no one takes the heat.
*Anyway, I do read your posts, John, for
the most part, and have often
*found things in them that were helpful. The size / volume issue seems
*more one of style - doesn't bother me - but it might be a portability
*/ laptop issue (I read your posts in restaurants), so I don't notice a
*problem with long emails, and enjoy them over lunch. Old machines and
*clunky email software might be causing others grief when they get
*these posts, however. And sometimes, too, I get three copies of your
*posts at once (I don't even know which lists I'm subcribed to these
JCT: I can't understand since I only post to econ-lets. Unless you
download newsgroups automatically and subscribe to any of
sci.econ, sci.engr, can.politics, ncf.ca.lets, own.eco.lets,
alt.fan.john-turmel or a few others. So there's no reason for your
getting 3 copies unless it's an error at mailbase and I hope that
isn't too regular an occurrence.
*- back to your argument that a single,
unfractured list is perhaps
*more efficient in cutting down duplication.
JCT: I remember writing to Richard after he'd been deluged by
complaints from readers that a controversial correspondent is usually
encouraged rather than dissuaded from writing. I simply figured that
since I was writing about current events in the LETS political arena, a
quite unique kind of contribution, there would be others who would
eventually need make use of the examples I've used to handle
*Bye for now, Chris Hohner, Peterborough,
JCT: I can't help but be pleased to think that you are getting a
chance to explain the global ramifications of LETS to players in the
political arena armed with some of my arguments. Whatever one may think
after reading much internet material about me, I know that ruling
Canadian governors hold no disrespect for me, my political philosophy,
my political tactics. Jean Chretien was Justice Minister while I was
defending home foreclosure victims and fighting for my right to
political participation in highly-publicized cases. He remembers the
old Socreds who always made sense. He's never shown anything but
courtesy or fear as have 99% of my political opponents, a large
percentage of them winners.
Of course, you will soon face the issue about LETS being
associated with that political pest John Turmel. I've been told the
best answer is to ask: What else has he done other than scream about
LETS? Usually, they've all got their "Turmel" stories to tell,
even their parents' "Turmel" stories to tell about my picking
on their candidate, stealing the show or disrupting the event. My
journals contain hundreds of adventures which would have been even
funnier if I hadn't spend so much time in jail. But even jail time
hasn't hurt my reputation considering the Sheriff's men called the raid
Project Robin Hood. Other than fun kind of crimes, Robin Hood's 44 runs
for Parliament have provided thousands of funny political exchanges
even though they have, at the base, always showed an insistence on
talking about LETS.
You know, every time I hear about presentations to be given to
governments, I pray that one day, one of them will open an account and
use a substantial amount of credit for the public weal.
Of course, you know that on government using Green credit, the two
LETS parent engineers are diametrically opposed. Michael and I have
argued over whether government is worthy of having access to Green
credit from the start and despite all the historical examples of wise
use of Green credit by governments I have provided, I still know that
every presentation made to governments is in the context of them not
getting involved and helping locals do it locally. Don't forget a
substantial LETS supporters who want government to deliver LETS
services to us as a social service.
Of course, as soon as the large commercial barter participants see
LETS databases as markets worthy of connecting to and they adopt the
Hour standard of exchange, governments will have to peg their money to
commercial LETS money in order to trade. Global currency is coming and
One thing you might discover is that financial people find
inflation ShiftB fascinating. And the best way to demonstrate to them
how inflation ShiftB takes place to use interest on tooth-picks to take
away one guy's watch. They can ask you questions about it for
hours and not come out of it understanding it though effects of those
six Argentinian Provincial Local Currency systems seems to have cracked
Finally, the most attractive word to these kinds of people is the
word "market." And LETS databases are "markets" of purchasing power in
the truest sense of the word, purchasing power which retains its value
with the strength of the community.
Make sure you take along a tape recorder and record your official,
even unofficial presentations. I know it's a pain to carry around a
tape recorder as you go to the podium since no one else does it but we
can all learn by hearing others' presentations and am sure many would
find them of interest. There may not be much more than glory in working
for LETS but it can't hurt getting in early on the parade.
God be with you and may they see the light.
a comment to John Turmel