I find it truly amazing that in a newsgroup
where no one has posted
while I was gone for 10 days, complaints about articles have driven
two contributors off the network.
You can always expect a chorus of screams from the slow readers but I
can handle large posts and I want more, not less.
I don't sympathize
with the guys
the other guys
has made them rise
above the guys
I wrote and reminded Chris Hohner of his greater duty to LETS readers
who like his stuff than to readers who do not.
I reminded him that all Canadian mail in any medium is the legal
property of the recipient to do with as he wishes. Try and tell
someone with a paper letter in hand that he can't publish it and his
rebuttal in public and you'll soon be set straight. No matter what
interpretation of unofficial Netiquette one may use, the legal rights
are always paramount. Christ Hohner simply did not accept an improper
Netiquette limitation on his legal publishing rights and printed the
criticism and response fairly where debate could have ensued. I have
always done the same because it's the only fair thing to do. Putting
heated correspondence in public cools things down and keeps things
WHAT IS A LETS?
When I hear disagreements on econ-lets and newsgroups about what
is a LETS and not, I think the confusion stems from an improper
When I want to know whether an alternate currency system is a
LETS, I ask if the Laplace Transform is 1/s with zero interest
positive feedback? and does it allow Employment-Trading? That's why I
use Local "Employment-Trading" System (with the hyphen) for my LETS
acronym rather than Local Exchange Trading System.
When I'm exchanging with you, I'm trading with you.
When I'm trading with you, I'm exchanging with you.
"Exchange Trading" System seems repetitive unlike Employment-
Trading. You can say LETS is a system for Trading Employment Locally
but you can't say it's a system for Trading Exchange Locally. I find
using two synonyms back-to-back confuses and it grieves me to think
that the Oxford Dictionary is going to use the acronym as Exchange
Trading rather than Employment-Trading. I feel that "exchange trading"
does not adequately reveal the true "employment-trading" result that
employment-trading necessarily effects. It would be nice if Oxford
could include both acronyms since both are in use around the world?
So, using Employment-Trading as the goal of the system in my
definition of a LETS lets me include a lot more systems than most
because but I don't judge whether a currency is sound by its
administrative bells and whistles but only by its system equation and
it's results. The databases of all commercial barter systems who
create their own 1/s credits would belong. The databases of all
casinos who create their own 1/s credits would belong.
In my first federal election to legalize gambling, I might have
entered "gambling systems engineer" as occupation but since then, I
have always entered "banking systems engineer." And take it from the
banking systems engineer, If it's a 1/s system that permits
employment-trading with no interest feedback, then it's a LETS and
most systems belong under that engineering acronym to attest to the
possible integration of all 1/s systems through 1 Global
ITHACA HOURS BACKING
Typical bell or whistle. Paul Glover's Ithaca Hours system has
been criticized by Mama Engineer Michael Linton as having a fatal
instability, that of simply giving all new members 4 Hours of currency
when they join.
As a casino owner, I know what Michael is saying. Where people
are using lots of diverse amounts, I too would prefer to have a system
where people leave an IOU with the cashier before walking off with
their chips. But when it's a one-time standard amount, the explicit
IOUs Michael is insisting upon are no longer necessary.
Paul Glover could solve Michael's objection by the simple
expedient of informing all members to put back the 4 Hours they
originally got when they leave the system. Couldn't he?
Paul Glover could solve it by transferring 4 Hours from
everyone's account to an Hour Notes receivable account? Couldn't he?
I think Paul could easily convince everybody to share the burden
of calling the 4 Hours an interest-free loan, signing the IOUs, and
continuing on with life if it was necessary. I don't think it is. But
either way, Paul could fit in with Michael's definition of LETS if
they really wanted to so that the Hour notes would be explicitly
backed up like in any other LETS.
This would actually allow for extended credit lines I think
Ithaca's standard credit lines of only 4 Hours or $40 per person is
woefully conservative when the average unemployed guy has over 2,000
spare Hours of work in him per year. I myself cannot imagine any
problems arising from allowing everyone credit up to a 40 Hour week of
work and I don't worry that everybody in Ithaca walking around with
$400 Green instead of $40 Green in their pockets would hurt while
certainly boosting larger transactions.
Yet, feelings have been hurt over something
I consider a non-
essential. That Ithaca Hours is one of the largest and most vibrant
Timedollar systems in the world is proof that implicit promises for
small amounts are all that is necessary. Though I agree that explicit
paperwork for larger amounts will be necessary soon, Paul has been
satisfied with people's "implicit" acceptance of the Local currency
and it has been found to be just as binding as explicit promise to owe
exactly 4 Hours. Maybe people don't need more than $40 in chips each
to play in local economic activity. I would have guessed more would
have been more convenient.
But Paul has managed to avoid dealing with the complications
Michael is worried about by using with a uniform credit line. It has
worked fine. But giving new members only 4 Hours would not be sufficient
for new larger commercial traders or City Hall. You want to be able to
work for a currency that city hall is accepting, if not for tax, yet,
for municipal services and fees as some are doing in Britain. When
Paul has to upgrade to account for loans to new and larger commercial
or government credit lines, Michael will have brought that option of
explicit credit lines to Paul's attention.
I think Paul should start thinking about offering a larger credit
line. Also, offering his City Hall the loan of a couple of thousand
Hours to handle projects now left unfunded with the sole requirement
that it be treated like any other "interest-bearing loan" and budgeted
for with a corresponding tax levy. Not often people ask their
governments to tax them more but if means that you can pay them in
money you have rather than money you don't have, payability makes a
great difference. So Paul, consider my advice that your municipal
councillors could probably put a large Hour credit line to wise use
and with the exact infusion into the city of Hours to match the new
tax levy, federal cash spendings and earnings always remain separate
NEXT BIGGEST STEP FOR LETS
The next biggest step will occur when a large commercial
enterprise like a sports franchise sets up its own LETS to accept
sales in its own currency. It's as simple as using the tickets as the
currency and I've cited times when such commercial Paper LETS were
operated during the Great Depression. At any point, they could join
their city's multi-LETS and trade with other established systems.
BIGGEST STEP OF ALL
Many LETSers just do not see the importance of belonging to the
same LETS as the government that is taxing you. Has it been fun
belonging to the same banking system the government has currently been
using? No. But it would be fun if the government belonged to the same
LETS as you. It would make LETS work so much better that it is the
only great "LETS step" left to take in Mankind's quest for Freedom
from Debts. Employment-trading right with the Throne. Building up LETS
from the bottom is nice but having Parliament legislate that the
nation's banks offer service-charge-only LETS Greendollar accounts to
everyone in the nation including the government with the biggest
credit limit of all, no credit limit to the Throne. But every unit of
currency spent based on receipt of the equivalent of Hours of General
Finally, there's the reverse-union effect. Instead of demanding
"More money for our food," they must learn "More food for our money."
It explains how Hours earned today will buy you more from the next
generation because of the increased technology. LETS delivers the
reverse-union effect. I work an Hour on my machine today to provide
shoes for someone's Junior and later, when I cash my Hour in, it buys
4 pairs of shoes Junior just made on his latest-model machine.
Interest might get you more money but it buys you the same food. No
interest lending starts the spiral of "More food for your GreenHour."
Forget more money for your savings. Take more food for the same
FASTEST BY EXISTING HARDWARE
I implore you who share a bigger picture. LETS can be installed
world-wide "quickest" (Game theory) by the existing banking hardware,
the owners of which must be convinced to add an essential account to
my Mondex card, a LETS 1/s Timedollar account too. It breaks my heart
when I travel and see all the homeless beggars and know a LETS account
would solve their problems.
But getting government to join with you is "optimal strategy."
Paying taxes is why federal cash is so necessary, isn't it? Being able
to work off taxes is the Numero Uno criteria for a 100% saturation
LETS. Rather than struggle for the first 1%, then 2% and the march
onward, why not shoot for the 100% saturation the minute you can trade
your talents to government directly? Even though I'm always thrilled
to remember that headlines in my electoral loss in Hamilton East
reading "Super Loser Fails Again" were followed a month later with the
Hamilton Spectator heralding a new Hamilton LETS system.
Still, another little small start-up cannot compare in getting
LETS fastest with the existing hardware. The Banking System Owners are
not crazy. Ecological catastrophe looms for all unless funding is
accomplished. I'm sure many would like to shoot the International
Bankers who've run the Killer Debt Machine these 5 or 10 millennia but
I'm ready to forgive and forget every poverty-instigated offence and
have a LETS party!
You cannot imagine the party we'll have when we all get our
interest-free credits cards and start ordering all the things we're
ready to pay for with the Green we're getting from our new jobs at
manufacturers who are upping production to satisfy new demand. Too
many people think everyone will overdo it. I don't think so.
I'd vote to let every retired person given an interest-free no-
limit credit card and sent off to spend their twilight years cruising
or living comfortably and financial-worry-free at home. I think our
technological power will afford it. I don't want any old-timers ever
worrying about where the money is going to come from ever again.
With involuntary unemployment eliminated and everyone wishing to
work having employment-trading opportunities, there will be abundance
to cover anything our parents can spend while delivering us all from
the worry of debts.
So start kicking your politicians and bankers with requests for a
LETS account at your most convenient bank branch and watch your world
get better quickly.
a comment to John Turmel