I took a day off
to bus it to Washington and visit Dr. Edgar
Cahn, Mr. Timedollar, at his Timedollar Institute. Timedollars is a
pure computer 1/s credit software used to register Hours of Time
working in community service. Dr. Cahn is considering also introducing
He has 8th graders tutoring 5th graders who tutor first graders
all for Timedollars with a recycled computer when they earn enough
He has lawyers donating their Hours to people who have donated
their Hours knowing their contribution is a direct benefit to the
Dr. Cahn is pushing to have Time dollars earned in service to
the community meet the requirements of the work activity participation
of the new welfare reform law so that single mothers have a user-
friendly transition from welfare to work by helping others in one's
I wanted to discuss possible integration with LETS Hours systems
around the world and he pointed out discussing with the Berkeley Hour
system so he's thinking ahead.
I just urged him to use colored small-denomination checks which
can be passed around a few times before being deposited, thus
eliminating much accounting overhead. Nothing beats tokens for no
accounting overhead. As for signing the checks each time they change
hands as is done in the Mexican Tlaloc LETS, I'd say unknown customers
should sign but certainly not known and trusted friends. The
signatures are a handy security option but unnecessary for most
transactions between friends while the checks will last longer before
having to be deposited. And let's face it, it's the centralization of
all transactions at one node that has provided the overhead costs to
really stunt many LETS's growth. So I hope Mr. Cahn introduces
checking tokens that can be passed around for free.
Since several LETS members around the world have joined Pauline
and I in recently establishing the first branches in a network using
an standard unit of a Timedollar being worth "1 Night" of
accommodation rather than 1 Hour's work, I used it as an example. Even
if I can't provide the accommodations, someone I barter with will. I
suggested that "1 Night" might be pegged at 2 to 4 Hours but the
luxury of such pegging is unnecessary for the present. Keeping it
simple using a "Night-time" currency for international travelers since
that is the cheapest alternative I'll be using. Dr. Cahn said there
might not be very many places we'd like to stay. Our experience is
that whether rich or poor, people make a pretty standard effort,
usually their best, to be gracious hosts and hostesses. When you're a
pauper or on a short budget, the digs don't matter when you can
usually expect the company to be good. If I can sleep whole nights in
a bus or a plane, I certainly would enjoy sleeping on a couch or a
bed far more. I'd bet they could find someone in every city in the US
with a Timedollar system to offer accommodations.
I mentioned how I'd raised LETS at a public speech by Ralph Nader
on Corporate gloom and doom. Rather than ending as a Gloomy Gus, he
sparkled with a success story and signed up 28 interested people to
the one glimmer of hope.
Dr. Cahn gave me a promotional tape of a news broadcast
introduced by Ralph Nader. It has the same kind of heart-pleasing
success stories as we heard in Robin Johannsen's video "LETS: Another
Economy." Pauline is having it transferred to the PAL format so we can
show it and make copies of it around the UK.
What is particularly nice about Timedollar is that a Timedollar
is pegged to the Hours society's most and least experienced members,
the elderly and the children, with even more startling results. Old
and young alike enjoy earning spendable credit for Hours volunteered.
Pegging the Hour to the Hour accepted by the old and the young would
still allow the better doctor to charge 5 Hours per hour in capitalist
competition which adds a necessary zest to enterprise and which I hope
they never try to eliminate. And you can bet many oldsters will still
be in the higher scoring competitions too.
So let's hope that Dr. Cahn's tape gets some of the UK LETSers to
try some new tricks with their 1/s LETS software.
I've already written to the Jubilee 2000 group at TOES urging
them to not seek Jubilee for all debts but only the bad ones.
After TOES, Pauline and I hope to visit Birmingham LETS, Bradford
LETS, Burnley LETS, Manchester LETS, Stockport LETS, Calderdale LETS,
Coventry LETS, Liverpool LETS, Dublin LETS, Falmouth LETS, London
LETS, and Paris SEL among others for samples of their local
currencies and literature and signatures on our Petition for National
If you belong to any LETS between these points and would like to
meet, send me a note and we can arrange a stop for a chat.
LETS REVENUE EXEMPTION
I just heard that Liz Shephard in the UK has managed to get LETS
earnings exempted from counting as revenue just as Timedollars and
Greendollars were exempted in the United States and Australia. Can
anyone confirm this new legislation? It's a great break-through
which more and more nations are sure to follow.
a comment to John Turmel