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(en) Czech, afed: LETS and Time Bank -- On the subject of localization: experimenting with systems of local currency. [machine translation]

Date Thu, 1 Dec 2016 14:12:23 +0200


LETS, a Local Exchange Trading Systems or local currency systems are based on the exchange by the commodities or services for locally produced units that are to supplement or substitute national currencies in the region. ---- Stephen Gudeman in his book The Economy's Tension: The Dialectics of Community and Market (2008) describes LETS with an emphasis on reciprocity, which provides a very local level of the system: "LETS defines the market environment, prohibits the levying of interest, allows a specific range of goods and often emphasizes community values and motives. " ---- The first system is the local currency recorded in 1983, when the Briton Michael Linton introduced in Canada Courtenay local currency in the form of so-called. Green Dollars . Linton emigrated to Canada in the '70s. Here he sought to find out how to relate to each other the social sphere, the environment and poverty. It concluded that in every area of the economy is dependent on the amount of (government) money, while if and when this amount reflects negatively on trading, rising unemployment and other social problems.

Linton seemed pointless to come for work, people who are productive, we would have worked and traded, but due to lack of funds to them, this activity was inhibited. Linton This led to the idea of a local complementary currency, which would be independent of government financing, market prices. This local currency designated as green dollars. Seven years after its creation numbered system has 600 members with an annual turnover of over $ 300,000 (Canadian) and grew. The system of local currencies has shown that people can do without government money at the local level well and live comfortably. In this sense, can be considered a LETS system resistant to capitalism.

Linton idea gradually spread to other areas, including England, Holland, Australia and the USA. LETS works on the principle of local production and distribution of goods and services, solidarity and environmental awareness. The important point is the mutual support of members, benefit from trading must all have. The main emphasis is on self-sufficiency of the community.

LETS work normally so that it is appointed coordinator (or a group), which updates the catalog of goods and services that individuals can give to others, and also takes care of the management of their accounts. The catalog of goods and services, each member writes what they can offer, and expressed here also cost you for such goods or services is expected.

This price is denominated in local currency. "This may reflect the amount of time that it takes action, or may be approximate equivalent of 'normal' monetary value of the operation." The products and services are listed check, which is then sent to the coordinator. That once in a while sends members of LETS status of their accounts. There are no commissions or interest yet. So if someone has an empty account accrues not made him any penalties or other disadvantages. In case that in this system, so-called someone only carries, or is simply the customer himself and the system does not return anything, there is a pressure communities to this individual began to act in accordance with the LETS. Otherwise it may exclude community.

For LETS can be considered the forerunner movement Freiwirtschaft (free economy), which is rampant in Germany after the first world war and inspired the reformer S. Gasellem. This movement responded to the society crisis, falling commodity prices and a lack of national currencies - Reichsmarks. Members of the movement should print its own currency, called. Waray . Its value roughly corresponds to the value Reichsmarks. The difference was that they had a limited effect, usually a month. Before the expiration of the bill was necessary to stick a stamp amounting to 2% of its value.

The positive aspect of this system is shown in 1931 in connection with the Bavarian village Schwanenkirchen, which was closed several years the only source of livelihood for local residents - mine. Movement liberal economists this mine bought, reopened, colluded with local businesses to adopt the currency Wara and miners wage was paid in this currency. Less than a year after the village began to flourish. This, however, did not like the German government, which feared that this system will contribute to inflation. Banning the use of currency Wara mine was forced to close down and the village again fell into a deep economic depression.

However, this economic experiment has inspired many. An example might be the Tyrolean town of Wörgl, whose mayor had modeled after Waray print local money. The principle was identical to the Waray. Wörgelské money to enable people to pay off their debts, pay taxes by municipalities, and increase employment, because the municipality could hire to charitable work people who paid in local currency. But even this Tyrolean town suffered the same fate as currency Waray, wörgelské money were banned state apparatus.

Other examples of so-functioning system of local currencies could be found in Switzerland and other countries. Although the Swiss model works successfully continued, it is more of an exception. LETS are usually sooner or later doomed. And even in cases where it turns out that they can function well, at least locally and solve social problems in the form of debt, unemployment and stagnation of trade. The state in their success sees threat. One of the biggest sources of funds for banks and the state is in fact a system of loans and interest. If not - thanks to the local currencies - favored residents, the local currency becomes a threat. Then the only solution is to ban the local currency at the cost of re-occurring social problems.

There are other local economic models of functioning like LETS, eg. Bank time. This idea first appeared in the US and later also spread to other sites. Time Bank works like green dollars, but the tender is the amount of time spent. Again, the main idea of something to give and something to gain. "Every hour spent in favor of someone else earns every penny member one time (regardless of the type of work performed)." I find it works coordinator, who recorded "money time". This system provides a meaningful recovery time for someone else, while this individual or someone else pays back the same number of hours of us when we need help. It creates a feeling of usefulness and promotes community spirit. Additionally, it seems like an excellent antidote feeling of uselessness and uselessness of job loss.

Time can be likened to bank volunteer with the difference that for the time they devote to someone, someone else gaining time spent in our favor. The essential difference between LETS and time bank is that LETS are more alternatives to the monetary economy, while time bank acts as a complement already existing organizations, such as community centers, schools, hospitals etc., which remains within the monetary economy.

In a similar vein it occurred in the years 1832-1834 in England, an interesting experiment, whose author is Robert Owen and which involved several thousand artisans. In practice, the idea was put labor exchanges , therefore, alternative currency, "in which producers would trade among themselves and in which the value of goods determined by the work done and material consumed." Of the profits they should be financed villages cooperation. This experiment was too failed.

Also on the Slovak village of Lukavica in 1999 he took the local currency system. It was the first system of this type in the Slovak Republic. The monetary unit was called. That which corresponded to one hour of work. At that time there already existed for several years, civic associations congregation for harmonious life (PHZ). It bought the Zaježová economy and bring together enthusiasts who were trying to defy the way of life of the consumer society favored recycling, frugality and living in a community based on equality for all. But as with hindsight themselves admit that life in the community was rather utopian dream theory, which in practice has brought problems, they were not prepared. "However, problems did not stem from a lack uskromnovania civilizacných výdobytkov. We underestimated the social side of coexistence and cooperation. "In 1999, however, visited Slovakia Richard Douthwaite to find a lecture presented LETS. It inspired PHZ members to try to create a system of local currency. And they also managed. Even here, however, they encountered difficulties when a few individuals only, and nothing was carrying within LETS did not contribute. This gradually cause frustration and apathy throughout LETS in Zaježová, however, the system was able to survive this complication.

Currently works at the Slovak LETS via the internet. Anyone can register and advertise for goods and services through the placement of advertisements in the database. At the same time, this site works like a social network, people can find friends here. Although a virtual LETS nonlocal works in a sense on the same principles. Payment means are called. Barty . LETS in the Internet can continue to operate, however, it is the question of whether we can still talk about LETS in the original sense.

Also, the Czech Republic, several people tried to implement LETS. One such case is the Flight of Brno, which operated from the late 90s with a currency called summer flower . Another Czech LETS operate at approximately the same time as Flight of, for example, in the Czech Budejovice (annual ring, which consisted of local currency acorns) or Prague Agency Gaia, whose currency has been jokingly called smiley . We can say that their part of a strategy to help solve the precarious economic situation showed LETS especially abroad. On the territory of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, these local currencies to pay particular group of enthusiasts, not for the purpose of enhancing the existing economy in a given locality.

Published in existence no. 1/2013 on the topic of localization.

https://www.afed.cz/text/6562/lets-a-casove-banky
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