Lund Sydsvenska Dagbladet July 20 1999 (page 1) LUND CAN GET A LOCAL CURRENCY by Freda Roijer
There are plans to start a so-called LETSystem in Lund where one is able to exchange goods and services with one another. The price will be put in a local currency which will be free from interest and inflation. The project was developed in Canada in the 80s. At the start, it will probably be mostly apples. Computer services, massages will also be possible exchange goods and services, says the initiator, Anders Ohlsson. A meeting will be held tomorrow in order to establish a LETSystem which is supposed to lower the prices in Lund. See Page 2
LUND CAN POSSIBLY GET A SYSTEM OF LOCAL CURRENCY
Critics of the present banking system want to establish a local payment system in Lund without interest or inflation. It's called LETSystem and already exists in many places in Sweden. If you have got apples which you want to get rid of, you can sell them to me for a price which we agree on, declares Anders Ohlsson who is the burning fire behind the project. We write a type of check and the transaction will be recorded by an administrator. In your account, there is a plus and in mine is a minus. You can use the service for buying something offered by some of the other members in the system. To prevent buying lots of goods without selling anything, a limit is introduced on the account. The idea is that the goods will become cheaper without the hidden interest cost which today constitutes a great part of the price. The short distance between seller and buyer is promoting a good environment due to the lessened transport. A problem is that profit- making producers may prefer to sell their goods at a high price in France instead of a lower local price. In order to make everything work, a great number of sellers and buyers are needed with many goods and services to offer. Anders Ohlsson is going to entice companies into the system - those who might possibly be interested could be shops like Klotet which has an expressed policy of solidarity. Other companies might take the bait of the publicity which LETSystem could achieve. In the long run, Anders Ohlsson even wants to engage the local community in the project so that parts of the income tax can be paid in local currency. "In this way, taxpayers will be guaranteed that the money stays within the local community and will not be lost in speculations on the stock market or that they will disappear in investments somewhere else. The local currency is going to function together with the Kronor - it is possible that a certain part of the price will be paid in Kronors and the other part in local currency. How can the local currency be protected from inflation if the value of Kronors is decreasing? "The local currency doesn't need to have anything to do with the Kronor because it is only supposed to be used for goods and services produced in Lund, is Anders Ohlsson's explanation. He admits that the supply can become quite thin. "In the first place, I suppose it will be mostly apples. Computer services, haircutting and massage will also be possible exchange goods. If we get shops within the system, it will become more interesting. In that case, they can pay salaries and rent in local currency and so the system will be expanded. Market-places will appear where buyers and sellers can meet. Goods and services will be listed in a directory. In order to finance the whole thing, there are several possibilities. Eventually, member fees will be charged in ordinary money. Another possibility is a kind of taxation where those who have money left in their account at the end of the month pay a certain charge. This would stimulate activity in the market at the same time; at the end of every month one can suppose. There is also the possibility of lending local money in order to permit a person to pay the fee. Completely without interest of course. So far, some ten persons have expressed their interest in a Lund currency. Tomorrow, the Canadian John Turmel will come to Lund to tell of his experiences in LETSystems in order to help start such an organization. Later on, they are going to test the interest in starting a LETS in Lund. "If we are 100 who want to participate, I will be extremely satisfied, says Anders Ohlsson. But we'll start even if we get less than that.
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