European LETS Tour Report #4
Topics: 1) Lousy Highway Engineering; 2) SEL d'Ardoise; 3) Muenster & Warendorf; 4) Email sabotage; 5) Bonn LETS; 6) Austrian Braunau LETS; 7) Savignac SEL; 8) St. Foy SEL; 9) Libourne SEL
1) LOUSY HIGHWAY ENGINEERING: JCT: I found that the European highway system had a couple of major engineering flaws. The most important piece of information for any traveller is not made available: the direction. In the North American highway system, every route is labelled north, south, east, west. You may not know what cities are coming up along your route but you always know you're going in the right direction. This is not the case in Europe. Their signs do not indicate the direction! They only indicate the next few towns coming up in both directions. If you are going east, you might know what highway you're going to connect to but when you get to that intersection, all you see are some names and the route. You don't know if they are all going north and there's going to be a south exit later on. They just list some towns in both directions and it's up you to know which are to the north and which are to the south. If you don't know the cities on the sign, you have to stop and find out which one is in your direction. This is quite difficult if you're motoring at over 100 miles per hour. I can say that I found myself on the wrong road several times and this kind of error would have been impossible had the direction been posted with the route number. Another major driving irritation is that most major highways have not only the national designation but also a new European designation. This would be wonderful but for one major flaw. You might notice, for example, that the European route highway E70 runs along French route A89 from Libourne to Bordeaux and then along A63 from Bordeaux to Spain. One would think it would be an easy process to follow E70 all the but it isn't so. One would expect that when the exit from the A89 to the A63 came up, there would be an indication that the E70 is also switching to that the A63. But there isn't. In the this case, it only said "Exit to A63." Once on route A63, then the E70 signs appeared but it did not appear on the sign at the turn-off to A63. So anyone following the E70 invariably ends up missing the exit and ends up lost. I got lost three or four times before I realized that very often, there is no indication that the European highway is switching over to another one. So the European route numbers on the maps are made virtually useless. I found this kind of highway engineering quite appalling, exasperating and incompetent. It had never occurred to me that any highway engineers would ever be so incompetent as to operate a routing system without including the directions or by not posting when a European highway changes to a new road. I feel quite fortunate to live on a continent with what I consider a vastly superior highway engineering cadre. Considering so much else in Europe is well organized, I am truly amazed that their highway system could be so error-prone. I'm sure that adding directions to the highway signs and indicating when the European routes change roads would be a refreshing experience for European drivers, as well as for tourists. ---
2) SEL D'ARDOISE D'ANGEVIN JUNE 27: JCT: J'avais entendu qu'il y aurait une reunion du SEL d'Ardoise d'Angevin donc j'ai ecrit: JCT: I had heard that there was going to be a SEL meeting in Ardoise d'Angevin so I wrote:
>>Visit a Sel ardoise D'Angers >>Date: Mon May 3 17:33:49 1999 >>From: email@example.com ("Michel ARDOUIN") >>Subject: [sel-info] Sel ardoise D'Angevin >>Riseau local d'ichanges de services et de biens, >>Le SEL Ardoise d'ANGERS est prisent sur le Web: >>> http://www.citeweb.net/sel49/ >Michel: > J'ai note qu'il y aurait une reunion du Sel ardoise d'Angers le >27 juin. Etant un des premiers ingenieurs de SEL et celui qui a >derive l'equation SEL, je serai en train de faire un tour >d'engagements pour parler du systeme "inter-SEL" global. Notre >itineraire a ce moment: Michel: > I noted that there was a meeting of the Ardoise SEL d'Angers on >June 27. Being one of the first LETS engineers who also derived the >LETS equation, I am planning a tour to speak of global inter-LETS >trading. Our itinerary at the moment is: ><snip> >June 27: (?) Sel Ardoise d'angers ><snip> > JCT: Comme vous voyez, a moins que je recevrai une invitation a >addresser la parole a un group SEL en France le 27 Juin, Pauline >Morrissette et moi allons vous visiter le 27. S'il y aurait la chance >de vous addresser, je pourrais confirmer notre attendance. J'aimerais >vous tous rencontrer a ce temps. > JCT: As you can see, unless I receive an invitation to speak to >another French LETS group, Pauline and I will be visiting you on the >27th. If there is a chance to address your group, I could confirm our >attendance. I hope to meet you at that time.
JCT: Il a repondu: JCT: He responded:
>Date: Thu Jun 3 02:35:52 1999 >From: firstname.lastname@example.org ("Michel ARDOUIN") >Subject: Reponse_negative_d'Angers? >To email@example.com >Nous avons bien regu votre message et nous y ripondons: nous sommes >absolument opposis ` ce que vous proposez (installation d'un SEL >global) et nous refusons de participer ` des discussions sur ce >thhme. Nous veillons ` notre indipendance.(1) Le caracthre local du >sel n'est pas compatible avec une quelconque globalisation et donc >nos riunions et marchis restent inaccessibles ` quiconque veut >proposer ses idies, encore moins pour faire du prosilytisme pour une >secte ou un livre ou un parti politique, quel qu'il soit.(2) Elles >ont un caracthre privi et le lieu restera secret. Le lieu de riunion >pour notre marchi privu le 27 juin ne sera pas divulgui.(3) Enfin, je >pricise qu'aucun ichange n'est possible si l'on n'est pas un membre >local inscrit ` notre SEL et ayant signi notre charte. Je ne donne >pas suite ` votre proposition et je suis disoli de vous avertir qu'il >n'y aura pas de comiti d'accueil. Vous ne pourrez pas nous >rencontrer.(4) >Sorry!(5) La riponse est nigative. Pas de globalisation et pas >d'echange avec quelqu'un qui ne cotise pas ` notre riseau local. Le >lieu de notre prochain marchi est secret, et vous sera inaccessible. >Disoli. >Michel du SEL Ardoise, riseau local d'ichanges angevin
> We've received your message and respond: we are absolutely >against what you propose (installing a global LETS) and refuse to >participate in any discussion with this theme.(1) We cherish our >independence. The local character of LETS is not compatible with any >kind of globalisation and so our meetings and markets remain >inaccessible to anyone who wishes to propose their ideas, even less >to proselytize for a sect, book or a political party, whatever.(2) >They have a private character and the location will remain secret. >The location of our June 27 market will not be divulged.(3) Finally, >I stress that no exchanges are possible if one hasn't registered as >member of our local LETS and signed our charter. I reject your >proposition and I regret to inform you that there'll be no welcoming >committee. You cannot meet with us.(4) >Sorry,(5) our response is negative. No globalisation and no exchanges >with anyone not affiliated with our local network. I regret to say >the location of our next market is secret and you will not be told it's location. >Michel of the Ardoise LETS, Angevin Local Exchange network.
(1) JCT: Je peux comprendre pourquoi Michel ne voudrais pas entrer en debat contradictoire avec un ingenieur du systeme mais je ne peux pas accepter que tous les SELists d'Ardoise seraient du meme avis a moins que Michel leur a prive de la chance d'entendre parler de la vision globale et a decide par lui-meme de ne pas les avertir que je voulais leur adresser la parole. (1) JCT: I can understand why Michel wouldn't want to debate with a LETS engineer but I can't accept that all the LETSers in Ardoise would feel the same way unless Michel is denying them the chance to learn of the greater vision and decided on his own not to tell them that I wanted to speak with them.
(2) JCT: Preconiser des echanges inter-sel ne reduit pas leur independance meme comme des echanges inter-banques ne reduit pas leur independance. Les benefices locaux d'un SEL ne sont pas reduits en etant membre d'un plus grand reseau. Beaucoup de personnes au monde sont meme aujourd'hui en train d'organiser des mecanismes d'echange inter-sel. Michel a droit de se tromper pusique le caractere local du sel ne serait pas affecte par la globalisation mais je ne pense pas que c'est a lui d'imposer son erreur sur tous les autres membres de son groupe. Est-ce un reglement promulge par le systeme d'Ardoise d'Angers que leurs reunions et marches restent inaccessibles a quiconque voudrait proposer ses idees ou faire du proselytisme pour une secte ou un livre ou un parti politique, quel qu'il soit? Ou est- ce seulement un reglement recemment redige par Michel? (2) JCT: Promoting inter-LETS exchanges doesn't reduce their independence just as inter-bank exchanges don't reduce their independence. The local benefits of LETS are not reduced by being a member of a larger network. Many LETS supporters around the world are even now working to establish inter-LETS mechanisms. Michel has the right to be in error since the local character of LETS would not be affected by globalisation but I don't think it's up to him to impose his error on all the other members of his group. Is this a regulation promulgated by the Ardoise system that their meetings and markets remain inaccessible to anyone wishing to propose their ideas or proselytize for a sect, or book, or political party? Or is it really only a recent ruling by Michel?
(4) JCT: Je peux assurer Michel qu'ils n'ont pas besoin de se cacher mais je peux comprendre pourquoi il ne voudrait pas que j'assiste s'il a rendu sa decision arbitrairement sans les informer. Est-ce-que Michel est le maitre du reseau local d'echanges angevin? Je serais interesse de savoir si la decision contre les echanges inter- sel est une decision du systeme ou de Michel. (4) JCT: I can assure Michel that they don't have to hide themselves but I can understand why he wouldn't want me to attend if he made his decision arbitrarily without informing the others. Is Michel the master of the Angevin Local Exchange network? I'd be interested in finding out if the decision against inter-LETS exchanges is a decision of the system or Michel's alone.
(5) JCT: Je ne pense pas qu'il est tres desole. J'espere que ma promotion des echanges inter-sel ne soit pas rejete si arbitrairement par les autres SELs a qui j'aurai la chance d'adresser mes idees. En considerant toutes les invitations amicales que j'ai deja recues, j'en doute. Je m'attends d'avoir beaucoup d'experiences positives. (5) JCT: I don't think he regrets it too much. I hope that my promotion of inter-LETS transactions won't be so arbitrarily rejected by the other LETS I'll have the chance to speak to about my ideas. Considering the many friendly invitations I've received, I doubt it. I expect to have many pleasant experiences. ---
3) MUENSTER & WARENDORF JUNE 28: We left Belgium and travelled south a hundred kilometers to visit Luxembourg for an hour so Pauline could send out some postcards and then we made out way north to meet Hans Joachim Werner in Muenster. A Muenster LETS member, Kay Browatzki, joined us at an outdoor cafe as we discussed some LETS improvements and planned the upcoming Muenster meeting on July 18th. He took down some of the important points I wanted to make to add to their advertising flyer. Then we drove south to stay with Hans in Warendorf, a beautiful little town with brick centertown roads. It had the feel of a small European town. Hans lives in a nice large house and has one of the most extensive money history libraries I've ever seen. He's a follower of Silvio Gesell's "free money movement" and was the founder of the Green Party in Warendorf. Unfortunately, when the Green Party endorsed the Kosovo war, he left it. I did some reading on Gesell's theory and like to point out that he advocated a LETS local currency with a demurrage charge, a regular fee or devaluation which prompted to use it as quickly as they could before the fee or devaluation. Of course, it worked like a charm when it was tried in the Austrian village of Worgl during the depression. Of course, since he was not an economist, he was ignored by mainstream economists even though his system worked. Just like Social Credit's Major Douglas was ignored and derided even though Social Credit would have also worked though it never got the chance to be tested. Economists were as resistant to good engineering as many are today. Some information from a Silvio Gessel conference:
International Socio-Political Congress on the Shores of Lake Constance, Germany from May 30 to June 1, 1980 In memory of the 50th anniversary of the death of Silvio Gesell, the Pioneer of Social Justice
This manifesto passed by the 400 members of the conference is addressed to - all governments and their ministers; - issuing banks, monetary authorities and their research departments; - universities and their departments for national economics; - employers' and employees' associations, trade unions, etc.; - all parties whatever their political aims and convictions; - churches of all denominations and creeds; - all responsible people. Sozialwissenschaftliche, Gesellschaft 1950 e.V. Postfach 3, D-450 Gelsenkirchen-Horst
Ladies and Gentlemen, We, the undersigned, with to direct an urgent public appeal to all governments and their monetary authorities, and furthermore to all leading and national international organisations - particularly to the European community - to reconsider their monetary, economic and socio-political policies.. This congress was held in memory of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Silvio Gesell,the author of "The Natural Economic Order" and the founder of the Free Economic System. The following analyses and recommendations are mainly based on his theories which have partly undergone further development.
THE LAKE CONSTANCE MANIFESTO Increasing inflation and rising unemployment can be seen in all parts of the world,which can combine and thus bring about so-called "stagflations." Moreover, we observe that an ever increasing oppressive indebtedness is becoming a characteristic of more and more states, causing considerable burdens of depreciation and - above all - interest, which,if financed by the bank of issue, stimulate inflation. We are worried about the rising interest rates in short- and long-term capital markets which make the urgently needed investments more costly, thus limiting new developments and rationalism if not bringing them to a complete standstill. We are worried about the increasing number of walk-outs, strikes and lock-outs which reduce the standard of living of the broad masses thus worsening the social climate. We are furthermore concerned about the growing escape of capital into landed property whereby the soil,on which all human beings depend, becomes a degraded object of speculation. Consequently the prices for land rise, ground-rent is increased, the price of housing grows beyond many people's means, and agriculture and forestry are forced to demand high prices for their products. The entire economy is burdened with unproductive costs and debts to the value of two- and three-figured billions (milliards). In some countries we observe increasing socio-political tension, potentially violent labour disruptions and general unrest... We ask with great concern if the human race and particularly governments and responsible monetary authorities will come to their senses and adopt an unselfish attitude before a Third World War of unimaginable dimensions claims countless numbers of victims.
THE PRINCIPLE OF ORDER Silvio Gesell wrote a public letter to the "Berliner Zeitung am Mittag" as early as 1918 stating: "Despite the sacred promise of the nations to outlaw war forever, despite the outcry: "Never again a war!", contrary to all hopes of a better future, I have to say: "As long as the present monetary system, the interest-bearing economy, remains in force, I predict that it will not take 25 years before we face a new and still more terrible war. I can clearly visualize coming developments. The present state of technology will rapidly develop the economy to maximum efficiency. Capital is created quickly - in spite of the enormous losses during the war - and an oversupply will reduce the interest-rate. Money hoarding will cause the economy capacity to shrink, and large numbers of people will become unemployed. At many border crossings will stand a notice: "No admittance to those seeking employment." As in the past, attempts will be made to annex land and produce weapons in order at least to provide work for the unemployed. Wild revolutionary movements will erupt amongst the dissatisfied masses and the poisonous plant of nationalism will proliferate. There will be no understanding among nations and in the end, there can only be war."
A new era, with socio-political ideas at its disposal can no longer regard money as a private property which can be hoarded or turned into a treasure or even into a means of speculation. We state: "Money is a social instrument! Money makes the division of labor possible which is the basis of our society. Demand, which is defined as money in circulation, is also dependent on money. With money, we could materialize economic justice which, according to Proudhon, is based on reciprocity. The following must become general knowledge: For the working person, money is an acknowledgment for work done for society; it is at the same time an authorization for the legitimate acquirer to receive an equivalent share of his own choice from the social product. This is what is meant by reciprocity or "fraternity," one of the aims of the French Revolution. Seen in this light, all income acquired without labor or service, e.g. ground-rent, is illegitimate. If money is understood in this manner, then the responsible authorities in a just society must guarantee that only work or a natural shortage of real capital can be sources of income. According to J.B. Say's law, only when incomes are continually expended on consumption and investment is the monetary circle complete. This is what we have in mind when we state: Money is a social instrument. This is what we have in mind when we demand: Turn money into an instrument of social responsibility! This means that the Central Bank of issue should have the exclusive responsibility of putting stable money into circulation with the aim of keeping the price structure constant. The money supply should not increase faster than the supply of goods and services for the turnover of which it has been created. The currency is therefore not covered by an arbitrary quantity of gold, but solely by the volume of trade. It is indispensable that the circulation of the entire money supply can be safeguarded because hoardable money (in the form of cash in hand or in current accounts) tends to cause deflation and consequently leads to mass unemployment. The present method of safeguarding circulation by causing inflation must be replaced by appropriate measures such as withdrawal and reissuing of money when hoarding has been observed or by the creation of serial money etc. Otherwise social responsibility of money is mere lip-service. Today, 40% to 60% of all issued ready money is not in circulation and does not comply with the notion of "money in circulation". On the contrary: with acute fluctuation this percentage is demand with a wait-and-se attitude, paralyzed demand or a surplus of demand and is as such a permanent threat to stability, both to price-stability as well as in the field of employment. Silvio Gesell said: "A currency can either hold the state together or cause it to disintegrate - according to circumstances. If bunglers are at work, the state will disintegrate into tiny particles, into atoms which repel one another, town against country, profession against profession, tribe against tribe, north against south, creditor against debtor, employee against worker, until finally battalions of workers march against battalions of workers." We are aware that a monetary reform which leads to the establishment of pure monetarism will not solve all problems. But it will be much easier to meet economic and socio-political requirements, above all with a minimum of State interference.
PROPERTY RIGHT AND LAND RIGHT One of our further aims is to call into question the traditional meaning of the term "property" and to give it a new direction so that "only what has been created by man" can be properly termed property. The earth was not created by man. It is indispensable to all human beings; it cannot be increased and is by nature indestructible. No other property fulfills these conditions. Nevertheless the present world regards the possession of land in exactly the same way as the possession of bootlaces.
BY NATURE, LAND IS NOT A MARKETABLE MERCHANDISE Robbery and the establishment of prescriptive rights have over the centuries led to common land being converted into personal property. Today it is used as an object for capital investment and as protection against inflation, and misused as an object of speculation. The result is an extremely prohibitive price for land, which in many cases has to be subsidized in order to avoid the most serious social consequences. Land must be exempted from Roman property right, it must be repurchased and made subject to the Allemannic land right; i.e. it must become common land once again. If this is achieved, the community will regain its rights to administer and dispose over the land and the incoming ground-rent can be distributed amongst its citizens (possibly in the form of an allowance to mothers). Pre- democratic privileges of income have no place in a democratic society. Once land had been reverted into common property, it will be possible to grant the right of usufruct to applicants with market- economic principles, taking into account certain economic, ecological and social considerations.
No politician, no government and no head of a central bank can with good conscience claim that he does not know about these theories relating to stability of price levels as laid down by pure monetarists. Gesell's theory of "drowning interest in an ocean of capital" is there for governments to put into practice. Keynes wrote about the "decline and fall of the functionless investor." Yours respectfully,
Paul Bernoulli, architect, Helsinki
Prof. Dr. F.G. Binn, Monchengladbach, Germany President of Sozialwissenschaftliche Geseelschaft 1950 e.V., Hamburg
Hans Cohrssen, Frankfurt Germany Former academic assistant of Prof. Irving Fisher, USA.
16 more academics.
"Stamp scrip, properly used, would lead the United States out of the depression within three weeks. I am a modest student of this German Argentine businessman." Prof. Irving Fisher "The future will learn more from Gesell's mind than from that of Marx." J.M. Keynes "Gesell is the Columbus of Economics." Geo Moffat "Capitalism brings wealth to a few and impoverishes many. Communism impoverishes all. Gesell's economic measures will bring prosperity to all." Prof. Dr. Ernst Schneider "An interesting and worthwhile experiment has been undertaken in Worgl based on Silvio Gesell's theories. I have examined the matter myself and had many long talks with the mayor. I would try out such a system in my home town if such a severe crisis befell it." E. Daladier, Prime Minister 1934
THE FUTURE OF ECONOMY
International Association for a Natural Economic Order
Silvio Gesell was born in 1862 in St. Vith, a town of eastern Belgium, as the son of a Vallonian mother and a German father. In 1886, he emigrated to Argentina where he attained success as a trader, importer, and manufacturer and where severe economic crises spurred him to theoretical deliberation. In 1900, Gesell retired from his business activities and emigrated to Switzerland. On a farm near Neuchatel he turned to agriculture and pursued extensive independent economic studies, unfolding his practical experiences and theoretical insights in numerous publications. In 1916, his chief work "A Natural Economic Order Through Free Land and Free Money" was published in Bern. To date, ten editions have appeared in German, as well as translations into English, French and Spanish. In April 1919, Gesell almost had the opportunity of putting his theories to a practical test. By recommendation of the cultural philosopher Gustav Landauer, he was elected Minister of Finance of the First Republic of Councillors of Bavaria. His term of office lasted only one week, however, after that the first, liberal administration of councillors was overthrown by the second, a communist one. Afterwards Gesell was charged with high treason but in the end, he was acquitted. On account of his participation in the revolution of Munich, the Swiss authorities denied him the right to return to his farm in the Jura of Neuchatel. Gesell temporarily moved to the Potsdam area and later to the cooperative settlement of Eden-Oranieenburg,located to the north of Berlin and co-founded by Franz Oppenheimer, where he continued writing until his death in 1930.
JCT: As I pointed out, his LETS with a demurrage charge was proven to eliminated unemployment and want when tried in the Austrian village of Worgl. That the Austrian central bank stepped in to stop the experiment and help the citizens of Worgl suffer the Great Depression with the rest of the world is one of the great crimes of monetary reform history. ---
4) EMAIL SABOTAGE JUNE 28: JCT: I had received a request from Franceschi Maurice of the Universiti Toulon, MS/LAIAT;83130 La Garde <firstname.lastname@example.org> to be removed from my French distribution list. Then when I sent out my "European LETS Tour Report #3," I accidentally used an old list which included his address. So he bombed my mailbox with the same report 91 times: 4. email@example.com (Franceschi Maurice) (29024 chars) Mon, 28 Jun -- Re: TURMEL: European LETS Tour Report #3 <snip> 95. firstname.lastname@example.org (Franceschi Maurice) (31867 chars) Mon, 28 Jun -- Re: TURMEL: European LETS Tour Report #3 JCT: This caused my mailbox to be over my 1M limit and to have my mail rejected accordingly. So if any of you sent me a message on June 28 or 29 and I did not respond, you know the reason why. I can just visualize this juvenile Toulon University member sitting at his computer feverishly jamming response after response to may mailbox for half an hour to make his point. ---
5) BONN LETS MEETING JUNE 30: We then drove the couple of kilometers south for the meeting in a suburb of Bonn, Beuel, organized by Brigitte Gunther. Brigitte started up her Beuel LETS just a few months ago but had already generated two newspaper stories which Pauline will include in her report as well as radio and television coverage. She mentioned how she and other LETSers had enjoyed earning credits through Paul Imbusch's vineyard work. Paul earned Green credits by arranging to provide labor a grape picking time for a winery. Members could then purchase some wine with their earnings and then repaired to Paul's for a banquet of Indian food. She said it was a big hit and they're all looking forward to it again this year. The wine maker is also pleased with obtaining scarce labor at just the right time of the year and paying with his product. She had informed the media of my talk and a reporter and photographer from Bonn's largest newspaper, the "General-Anzeiger" Regional-Ausgabe Beuel, came. They met in a pub with a back room which was packed with 20-30 LETS members. I did my usual routine of how to solve the usual problems suffered by small LETS, high accounting costs solved by velocity of paper credits, slow spending because half held negative accounts solved by starting up a consignment store and inviting seniors with estates to join and hold the negatives while the workers held the positives, and pointing out how getting government on their system eliminated all such problems with historical examples I've detailed so often in my writings: Roman copper money, English wooden tally money, Lincoln continentals, Argentinian state bonds. Adding in the story of my history of money reform and the adventures I've been through made it the usual fast-paced presentation most seemed to enjoy, especially the reporter. Brigitte is going to help organize the party in Bonn for our last days in Germany where we are inviting all those who have become friends to join us for a discussion of linking up groups to start a German inter-LETS system which all other groups can also join in anticipation of international LETS trading with other countries. Brigitte informed me that the Bonn newspaper was doing the story in Saturday July 3. I hope the reporter does a good job. On our way south the Braunau Austria, we stopped at Paul Imbusch's home so I could log onto my email. Brigitte's telephone system had a different set of plugs so I couldn't log on. ---
6) BRAUNAU AUSTRIA LETS MEETING JULY 1: JCT: We drove to Braunau Austria and got there around 6p.m. again getting misdirected by the highway signs a couple of times. Gottfried Freudmann, their LETS administrator, is a former engineer who switched to a counselling career. He had taken the picture off my web site and included in a flyer announcing my talk and the room was full. One lady who had not been able to attend had translated my first TOES report into German and Gottfried's going to scan it in and send me a copy which I'll post to my German list as soon as I get it. Most people received my message of how to make their LETS fly well but one fellow who was not a member but just visiting spoke up near the end and launched a diatribe accusing me of fomenting a sect like Scientology. I could see Gottfried's face getting red as he ranted on and realized that whatever it was, it wasn't very complimentary. Then the fellow walked out without giving me a chance to respond. Typical of that type. It seems that he's studying religion in Vienna. Of course, I'd point out that LETS is a machine, not a theory, and advocating a new machine can't quite be likened to advocating a new religion or sect. But it didn't seem to faze the others who remained interested and friendly. After all, they were the ones who know how their LETS worked and what I'd been telling them made sense so they know that we weren't a new cult, only a group of people learning to use a new machine. After that, we went to a pub where one member, Franz, mentioned that he had managed to pay for a Portugal vacation stay with his LETS credits. Seems that we are not the only ones using LETS to pay for accommodations. Gottfried brought along a small accordion so I got to play a few tunes for the crowd and as a friend once told me, "once they hear you play the accordion, they know you can't be an idiot." It always helps to be able to wow them with a few 128th notes. On July 2, we left Austria for France. As I was plotting my route from Salzburg to Italy, I noticed that we would be passing by the town of Worgl whose mayor had tried Silvio Gessel's demurrage local currency during the Great Depression. So we stopped to sit in a cafe and fill out some in this beautiful town set in the Austrian Alps. Since the next part of our journey is speaking to the SELs of France, I hope to have the time and help to make my next report bilingual. Stay tuned. ---
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