*Date: Mon Apr 20 08:45:57 1998
*From: email@example.com ("Jonathan Simms")
*Subject: Re: TURMEL: LETS: TOES UK TRIP 19980419
*I have been wondering about the issue of trading between different
*LETSystems, in different countries, as suggested by John in his
*mailing. I also had this discussion with Pauline when she visited
*Hebden Bridge in Calderdale (UK) last year.
*Suppose that I was to earn lots of LETS money in my local System (by
*local I mean where I live). However, suppose further that there is
*nothing I wish to buy that is provided by members of that System
*(in John's case he didn't even live in Toronto).
*Instead I choose to spend my LETS earnings in another country. I
*thought that one of the advantages of LETS was that the LETS money
*spent would remain within my LETSystem, and would be spent by others,
*within my local System. In this way the spending stimulates the
*local economy, the local economy is isolated to a degree from the ups
*and downs of the world economy, persistent trade deficits do not
*emerge between Systems.
JCT: The real advantage is not that the same currency will stay
in your system to stimulate the local economy. It is that no matter
how much leaves, there will always be more than enough new currency to
stimulate trade. Edward Goldsmith's LETS article cited the major
advantage #1 of LETS: "there is always sufficient local currency"
which circuits any leakage concerns. I used the example of how the
casino chip owners don't care how many of tokens leak out as long as
the colletaral or pledges for those tokens remain in the casino cage.
*What John is suggesting negates these
JCT: Just because you could also spend out of the local area
would not impede spending within the local area if sufficient LETS
currency can be created to fill the gap unlike federal currency of
which there is an automated shortage of supply. The advantages of LETS
always continue whether your system has IOUs outstanding or not.
*You could say that spending within a World
LETSystem would be
*spending within the one System. However, it seems to me that the
*problems of the current world economy would be likely to repeated in
*a World LETS, except without the interest.
JCT: Here, everyone who says they don't think getting rid of the
positive feedback in the system is the crucial engineering design
factor is proven wrong. LETS is the system that serves as money would
if it were not crippled by its unstable design flaw: interest positive
feedback. Having no interest makes such a big difference that none of
the old economy's problems have arisen with LETS so far and my
Consulting Engineer's Stamp of Approval guarantees they never will.
*I am quite prepared for there to be an
obvious answer to this that I
*have not seen. Please help. Jonathan Simms
JCT: And the obvious answer is that the benefits of LETS were
never that the money you created could not leave the area, it was that
you could always create just enough new money to stimulate the economy
even if other money went away or some of your traders had amassed
large international accounts. It's true some LETS think it is a
problem to have accepted too many non-system IOUS but as long as the
Green IOUs are redeemable on the other island, they're always good
whether it's convenient for you or not.
*I agree with Steve and Mary
*I think some of these same patterns have emerged in Calderdale LETS.
JCT: And all the problems deal with less-than-optimal use of the
machinery and not its engineering design. As you later pointed out:
*As Mary and Steve indicate, if LETSystems
do not "work", ie if
*people do not wish to trade in them, or inequalities in earnings
*potential persist, then this is a problem that resides with the
*members involved. It is not a fault of the LETS design.
JCT: The monthly service charges that seemed no better than those
at a bank that soured Mary on Peterborough LETS would not have
occurred had she joined my Abolitionist Party LETS.
We had a one time registration charge and used our own notes. She
would have immediately withdrawn G$500 in Party Greendollar notes
while going G$500 into commitment, paid her $10 fee in federal (or
Green) and she could have either used her currency or left it idle in
her dresser drawer for years with no appreciable effect on other
participants in the system. With no monthly charge draining her
account and making her so justifiably irate.
But had Mary used those notes to trade with a whole group of non-
members and not even trade with any LETS members, she would have
gotten all those trades for that one time sign-up fee while still
having no appreciable effect on the activity of others.
I've always argued that using handy tokens eliminated the need
for monthly service charges by eliminating any accounting transactions
at all which is the reason it's the only way to go in the Third World.
And it took years for the idea to finally get through. Nothing is
cheaper in dealing with less-active original members than having a
one-time transaction for paper tokens and hoping not to see them again
at the cashier's office for years.
*Date: Mon Apr 20 09:25:54 1998
*From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tariq Shabbeer)
*Subject: RE: TURMEL: LETS: TOES UK TRIP 19980419
*Greetings to all from Bradford and district, Yorkshire , England. I
*would like to know when and where the TOES Peoples Conference is in
*England in 1998. I will try to come 200 miles south to London. I have
*read about TOES conferences - I believe they introduced LETS to
*Britain back in 1984.
JCT: Check my recent posts labelled TOES in the
www.mailbase.ac.uk archives. One of them has conference information.
Glad you'll be able to come.
*As to regards inter trading between systems
- there are extremely
*strong arguments for and against
JCT: Actually, I've never heard any strong arguments against. The
fact so many people are working on just that is a clear indication
that its usefulness outweighs any disadvantages some might see.
*From my point of view - I would really
like to offer some hospitality
*here in Bradford to anyone inthe world who wants to come here and
*learn what we have, have not and are doing in getting LETS going in
*this part of the world.
*Someone wrote from California and John Turmel from Canada etc -
*people asking to visit for a a day or two. I would be happy to offer
*you accomodation, food and music from my own house and a very warm
*and extroverted community. To me this has always been a social
*responsibility and i would not ask for anything except the immediate
*expenses to do it.
*But I would also appreciate a payment of LETS units. But i am afraid
*I really don't know the answer on how someone from outside the
*Bradford LETS could do this at the moment. Perhaps they would have to
*join the local system or there could be an uderstanding between the
JCT: Pauline went
to bed last night praying for a good omen and I
picked up a new article on a Usenet newsgroup which I'm going to try
to use as an example.
*Subject: FREE ACCOMODATION IN LONDON!!
*Date: Sat Apr 18 19:10:24 1998
*I am a 24 year old Englishman who is very keen on travelling. You can
*get a lot of cheap flights these days but the real cost of trips
*comes from accomodation. I would be very interested to hear from
*anyone who likes travelling, would be interested in staying with me
*in London, and who might perhaps be able to put me up for a few days
*if I ever make it to wherever you live.
*I could offer one or two beds in a small flat in the centre of
*London, near Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road. I also live on a
*sheep farm about 60 miles north of London if anyone is interested in
*catching a glimpse of life in rural England.
*Send me a line if you're interested. Address above. Regards,
JCT: So I sent him a response which mentioned:
* I agree that the major deterrent is not the air fare but the
*accommodations I was really pleased to see your idea of bartering
*accommodations. It just so happens that my girlfriend pauline and I
*are going to the People's Summit at TOES 98 The Other Economic Summit
*and will be staying on in Britain or France for another two weeks,
*sometimes in London. In one of our such trips to New Zealand, Pauline
*spent time with some Maoris in the sheep shearing shed so meeting a
*few sheep again should delight her.
* Pauline and I belong to barter clubs called LETS Local
*Employment-Trading System. I believe you have half a thousand in the
*UK. I have built up a large credit with the Toronto LETS and my girl
*friend has a lot of credit at the Ottawa LETS. We were looking for
*LETSers in the UK to do just what you propose so there's no reason we
*can't swap accommodation IOUs with a non-member.
* So we'll give you IOUs for nights of accommodations which we will
*honor whenever you make it to Canada. Thanks to LETS, I think that I
*could easily assure you that within our two, if not more LETS systems,
*we could find someone even if we could not provide accommodations
* Where we go, others may follow. As we develop a chain of LETS
*barter accommodations in the UK through our travels, we could
*certainly do the same for Canada's 27 LETSystems and perhaps end up
*offering not only you but many others an even better choice of many
*Canadian accommodations. You should join your local LETS and offer
*accommodations on their list.
* Anyway, your offer seems heaven sent. We finance these trips with
*a credit card then I go play Poker in Atlantic City to pay it off. To
*organize bartered accommodations will so greatly reduce debtload that
*it will pay off to get it better organized. And I hope we find a way
*to use LETS to allow us both to visit even more countries in the same
*way. We are pioneering something new in international transactions.
*Wait till other LETSers in other countries get involved and watch
*travelling become more fun.
*Regards and I look forward to meeting you
JCT: So this fellow
is trying to set up his own private LETS by
earning accomodation IOUs for around the world with his flat in
London. Individual LETS members can do it too. We just have.
So, Tariq, we would like to visit Bradford LETS and I'll give you
Greendollar IOUs for every night of accomodations which you may then
use in Canada or trade to anyone at Bradford LETS who is coming to
Canada. If interLETS trading is eventually established, you can cash
the checks at that time. It's like holding onto post-dated checks
which you can cash if you come to the right LETS bank in Canada.
Remember, an international clearinghouse for LETS does not need a
central register, only a public posting area where any system which
will trade in Hours may post intersystem trades and each system keeps
their own records with their foreign account transactions matching the
Are there any other LETSers out there, in the UK or France in
particular, who might like to join Pauline's International
Accomodations trading? Drop us a line and whether we visit or not, the
offer will stand be made available for travelers who follow. If you
belong to a LETSystem in the UK or Canada, could you check to see if
accomodations are offered and if so, add it to our master list in
either country. But London and Bradford in the UK and Ottawa and
Toronto in Canada are great starts.
And for sure, we're going back to Calderdale where they seem to
be doing everything right. They use notes and government has an
account. I'm sure it will lead the way in growth and utility.
Hoping for any information soon,
a comment to John Turmel