Subject: TURMEL: UK Govt supports LETS
Date: 11 Jun 1998 22:17:22

1) TARIQ SHABBEER: UK Government funding
2) PETER NORTH: UK Govt supports LETS - thoughts
3) TARIQ SHABBEER: Met with John Turmel and Pauline
4) TARIQ SHABBEER: LETS networking in action!

Tariq Shabbeer, Community Economics Development Officer for Bradford
City Council UK, wrote:

Date: Thu Jun  4 09:43:44 1998
From: (Tariq Shabbeer)
Subject: RE: For econ-lets peoples interest from the Credit union net.

        British Government Support of LETS !
"Sent:         Thursday, June 4, 1998 2:55 pm
"Subject:      Community-based Regeneration Initiatives
"I have received today from the Department of the Environment,
"Transport and the Regions a copy of a paper called
"Community-based Regeneration Initiatives: a working paper.
"On Internet at

All, Peace Be Upon You !
Yes. Isn't this great news and brilliant support from the Government
at long last. This paper clearly shows that the best practice for
Community based regeneration initiatives are:
"Credit Unions, LETS, Microcredit systems, community loan funds,
"Community Enterprise, Development Trusts, Managed Workspace, and
"Community Shops and Pubs are all described.

Its the best thing I have seen in a long time - it even recommends the
New Economics Foundation's brilliant Community Works booklet.
Surely a solution for sustainability are in this rainbow of Community
Economic Development tools.
Tariq Shabbeer, Bradford, UK.

     JCT: In my upcoming UK Trip report on Bradford, I transcribe that
same Government report favoring LETS and note it also recommends
support for local "stores and pubs." Sounds like a LETS Recycle Store
and/or Pub covers two or three objectives with the same funding
application. Perhaps existing community shops and pubs could also be
persuaded to install a LETS for their customers?

2) PETER NORTH: UK Govt supports LETS - thoughts

     Peter North commented:

Date: Thu Jun  4 11:44:19 1998
Subject: UK Govt supports LETS - thoughts

*I've just looked at the UK Govts Department of the Environment,
*Transport and the Regions working paper. Its certainly very
*positive, saying all the right things about working from the bottom
*up and supporting communities doing things for themselves rather than
*(at best) consulting while doing it to communities.
*A few thoughts struck me:
*How can we make sure that any Government funding truely does support
*communities working for themselves?
     JCT: That's already covered. Since LETS by its nature supports
communities working for themselves, any government support of that
effect is useful. How can any LETS funding not support the function?

*This takes time, the community may want to go slower/quicker than
     JCT: Optimum is quickest. I can't ever imagine wanting to go

*It might be easier for government just to spend money quickly on
*inappropriate development of LETS to be seen to be doing something.
     JCT: I cannot imagine what an inappropriate development of LETS
could be?

*The level of understanding of the paper is very superficial.
     JCT: They understand results and if it doesn't take much
understanding for the average poker to grasp how the chips work, it
shouldn't take more than superficial understanding of how LETS chips
would work. LETS is not complex stuff.

*They've obviously just heard of CED and LETS and are excited.
     JCT: Wonderful. Maybe their understanding is much more than
superficial if they're excited about something useful for a change. I
hope they really run with it.

*They seem to have no concept of barriers they are likely to overcome
*in setting up LETS in low income areas, how slow trading can often be
*at first.
     JCT: These are barriers to low-powered LETSystems. High-powered
LETS transcend barriers felt by the many small LETS. I have no concept
of barriers if you start big enough. When Argentinian Provinces
started up their own LETS provincial bonds currency, there were no
barriers and no slow trading. Sure, you can have all the barriers you
want if you chose to start small and slow. They don't exist once
you've hit LETS critical mass.

*How do we avoid unrealistic expectations from government?
     JCT: There are no unrealistic expectations when most haven't even
seen half its true potential yet.

*How do we make sure that Government does not put inappropriate
*requirements for the delivery of outcomes from LETS development it
*supports? Too many jobs created too quickly? Unrealistic numbers of
*businesses recruited? Unrealistic turnovers?
     JCT: We can't make sure they don't make unrealistic demands but
I'd bet they will underestimate, not overestimate LETS potential so
why worry until they do? It doesn't matter. Once started, LETS do good
and are hard to shut off. Besides, if they screw up their expectations
the first time around, they'll do it better the second time around.

*How do we get government to 'get out of the way' of development of
*LETS that can go on independent of direct government financial
      JCT: The fight for removing benefits is successfully being waged
almost everywhere including the UK. Though of secondary nature, that
seems to be the Big LETS issue of immediate concern rather than
attaining critical mass.

*For example, removing benefit penalties?  Helping development by
*trading in local?
     JCT: Of course, Government Trading would result in almost
immediate saturation critical mass. LETS connection to Bell Telephone
or Power Company would also result in almost instantaneous critical

*How do we make sure that funded development is sustainable, and that
*workers aren't employed who will understandably be more concerned
*that their short term contract is renewed.
     JCT: Again, these are people looking for sterling pay without
realizing the whole purpose of LETS is for them to build networks to
not use sterling. If their LETS reaches critical mass, they won't need
another grant in sterling.

*How do we get LETS systems and schemes to be sustainable after
*government funding ceases?
     JCT: LETS are inherently sustainable once administration expenses
are optimized and critical mass is reached. .

*Lets not uncritically welcome government interest in LETS
     JCT: Let's uncritically welcome government interest in LETS. It's
a machine. There's nothing they can do to corrupt its engineering
design no matter how well they ride it.

*- it needs to be channeled in the right direction or -
     JCT: What would be a wrong direction? It's their money, let them
channel it in any direction. It all boils down to their helping in the
war to replace sterling with LETS currency. Greater market share.

*as been the case so  often with community development in the past -
*all we will see is the professionalisation of development with the
*growth of a dependency on government funding,
     JCT: The whole purpose of LETS is to reduce dependency on
sterling funding. LETS should be able to reduce its dependence if it
offers a way for people an end their dependency on sterling.
Though low-powered LETS need their sterling grants mainly for high
administration costs, high-powered LETS don't are virtually free and
can be kept in a manual ledger.

*and the incorporation of more radical sides to LETS.
     JCT: What radical sides to LETS are you worried about here? What
is the radical side of token theory?
     I can't understand all the worries about who is going to promote
LETS. That bulletin was promulgated while I was Tariq Shabbeer's
office and I felt more like doing cartwheels than casting about for
sinister motives. I've even added this good news of official UK
government promotion of LETS in my UK Trip report.

*Peter North, School of Urban Development and Policy
*South Bank University, London
     JCT: I suppose you're trained to look for the downsides as well
as the upsides but as an engineer, I only need my blueprints to be
reassured of optimum engineering design. I have never seen a downside
to promotion of interest-free currency over interest-bearing money. I
wish you could be so reassured.

3) TARIQ SHABBEER: Met with John Turmel and Pauline

*Date: Tue Jun  9 05:15:24 1998
*Subject: RE: Met up with John Turmel and Pauline.
*Hello fellow LETSers,
*Just a quick note to say that I met John Turmel and Pauline last
*They had come to Birmingham as one of the 50,000 people protesting at
*the G8 summit. They visited many LETSsystems up and down the country,
*and gave a talk here in Bradford Council.
     JCT: JCT: Reports on TOES 98, Jubilee 2000 and UK LETS Trip soon.

*John is a very passionate, larger than life, speaker and filled us
*with great enthusiasm and ideas for new ventures to get LETS
*practically going.
     JCT: After thousands of rehearsals, some have likened me to a
preacher at a Bible-thumping revival meeting. That sure applies when
I'm thumping my Bible about Christ, the Interest Fighter. But in a sea
of drowning debtors, it's hard not to be passionate when you're
bearing the good news of high-powered LETS life-boats.
     The poetry, props and graphs make it a coherent whirlwind 75
minute presentation offering a glimpse of the imminent revival of
peace and prosperity with Global LETS. I guess you could call them
LETS revival meetings. Bradford was the last after a long line of LETS
revival meetings. Fortunately, a Halifax man taped the same show a few
days earlier in Mytholmroyd and is distributing it on CD for #10.
Contact Rothwell Shackleton at 1 Holly Ivy Cottage, Saville Park,
Halifax, Yorkshire, hx1 3en 01422 365146 for Turmel's TOES 98 LETS CD.

*Namely, 4 things :
*1). Look into introducing some form of token system to run along with
*cheques, like in Ithaca. John left me a great video showing how
*virtually all businesses in Ithaca take Green Dollars.
     JCT: Of course, the video of Ithaca's 40-velocity Local
Employment-Trading Hour notes was a hit for people burdened with all
the administration costs of 1-velocity systems.

*2). Create some form of Community Shop / Store.
     JCT: The LETS recycle consignment store and pub seems to
naturally fulfill several government-desirable functions.

*3). Get elderly people involved - Pensioners;
     JCT: Pensioners should be offered LETS credit to obtain the full
value of their estates. I think a minimum number of Hours credit from
a municipal grant to all pensioners' accounts would be both affordable
and appropriate. Letting the stores and pensioners hold the negatives
then allows young workers to now save up their positives and trade
more freely.
     Tariq is too modest to mention his interview on how LETS is
helping a LETS pensioner Shirley Quinn in a two page spread that just
came out on May 21, 1998 in a national women's magazine "Take a
Break." I transcribe it in my upcoming report.

*4). Greater support and encouragement of local and national
*government in spending to reduce interest re-payments.
     JCT: Expansion of those main points with exhibits and poetry to
Her Majesty was the script for this year's TOES 98 LETS mission. But
Tariq didn't mention the most telling moment at the Bradford meeting
after I'd mentioned that at my first Calderdale meeting, a Calderdale
city worker asked a Calderdale Councillor if she could receive 10% of
her pay from the city's account in "Favours." Tariq noted he'd already
offered to take 10% of his salary in "Brads" but no one took it
seriously, yet. With a Manchester civil servant and LETS member also
expressing an interest in being paid in Green, one mayor may soon see
the advantage of using their city's interest-free LETS account rather
than the city's interest-bearing sterling accounts. Such offers seem
to be the quickest way to get them started.

*I had a great time showing John around Bradford and introducing local
*LETS people to him. We are looking forward to the report and photos
*and to seeing Pauline again later in the summer.
     JCT: I hope you're the first authority in the UK to find someway
of making your municipal LETS fly. I'd point out I've spoken to pro-
LETS councillors from Halifax and Hebdenroyd who were also faced with
civic employees demanding to be paid in Local Currency. The advantage
of using LETS and not sterling cannot remain unappreciated for very

4) TARIQ SHABBEER: LETS networking in action!

Date: Tue Jun  9 07:42:13 1998
From: (Tariq Shabbeer)
Subject: RE: LETS networking in action !
To: ("''")

*If anyone else out there wants to send me a video, I can do the same.
*From:         Tariq Shabbeer
*Sent:         Tuesday, June 9, 1998 12:30 pm
*To:   ''
*Subject:      FW: Met up with John Turmel and Pauline.
*Dear Peter,  Peace Be Upon You  !!!!
*Great to hear of a LETS in Teeside.
     JCT: What did you hear about the LETS in Teeside?

*John's video really shows practical trading of notes in Ithaca.
*It is a collection of short 5-10 min reports of Ithaca's Time Dollar
*Scheme - mostly taken from American TV stations news channels.
*I found it very stimulating - it is as accepted as normal currency
     JCT: And its high velocity has made it the local currency to

*You are most welcome to borrow the video at any time, but better
*still, if you send me a video tape, I can record it for you and send
*it back so that you have a copy to use when ever.
*We have also produced a song for LETS and are busy making our own
*video - Leicester LETS has one too.
     JCT: You should get the video in UK's PAL format called
LETS: Another Economy produced by Robin Johannsen at 33 St. Andrews
Square, Surbiton, kt6 4eg, UK, Tel: 1081-339-0919. Of course I like it
because he uses some of my poetry in it but there's a ton of good
information on LETS in the UK with Liz Shephard and Harry Turner in a
very pleasing format. There's a transcript of it somewhere in the
mailbase archives.

*John Turmel is an amazing character - he has been a professional
*gambler for 24 years, but makes up for his sinning by going all out
*for LETS development.
     JCT: I've always said I wouldn't feel so guilty of breaking daddy
at the tables if junior had his own interest-free credit line.

*He is a harmless radical really - very extroverted.
     JCT: I've always thought I was the most dangerous radical in the
world. To the banking establishment, that is. And it's tough to whip
up enthusiasm if you're an introvert

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