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Un projet
pilote LETS
(Local
Economic
Trading
System)

Il est facile
d’oublier que
l’argent ne vaut
réellement rien;
ce sont les biens
et les services
auxquels nous
accordons une
valeur! Pourquoi
ne pas se
débarrasser tout
simplement de la
monnaie et
retourner aux
jours de troc
d’autrefois?

Eh bien, Falls
Brook Centre
entame un projet
pilote LETS qui
va accomplir cela.
Le système LETS
contourne nos
restrictions
fédérales en
matière de
papier-monnaie
et de troc. 
LETS est un
système
d’échange conçu
et géré localement
qui fonctionne en
collaboration avec
(au lieu de contre)
notre monnaie
fédérale. C’est
une monnaie
locale dont le
montant n’est pas
limité et qui reste
à l’intérieur de la
communauté qui
l’a créée. 

"Les services et
les habiletés sont
souvent
comptabilisés à un
niveau plus réaliste
en partant du
principe que nous
nous accordons
une valeur entre
nous au lieu de
l’accorder à
l’argent." Ce
projet comprend
environ trente
membres; pour
de plus amples
renseignements,
communiquez
avec le centre.

 

 

       

A Local Economic Trading System (LETS) Pilot Project

Andrea Berry & Marieka Arnold
Falls Brook Centre
July 2001

 

oney makes the world go around" is a popular phrase almost everywhere that you go. We are always trying to get more and spend less. There is no doubt that we have all had times when we haven’t had enough, and have had to "tighten the belt". It’s easy to forget that money is not actually worth anything—it is the goods and services that we value!


Joan Emery, LETS Community Member
and chef supreme


(photo: Falls Brook Centre)


So, if money does not have a real value, why do we get caught up in the race to save more cash? In our federal currency system, only the government has the authority to print up more of the coins and bills. Money is issued in a limited supply (hence the serial numbers), which makes it possible to run out of it. Every community needs money circulating through it--to maintain the flow of goods and services--brought in through exports, visitors, and federal spending. Once money comes in and circles around, it flows back out again. For example, if an exporter leaves the community, the money that goes with it is not replaced, causing a rush in the community to save more and spend less. There could be plenty of lumber in the yard to build a new house, but if there is no money to pay for it, the lumber remains! It is this limited supply of money–not goods and services, that slows down the trading process.

It doesn’t really make sense does it? If the stuff is there to do the job, why should the scarcity of money stop the job from getting done? Why don’t we just get rid of money altogether and go back to the good old days of bartering? John trades Fred three cabbages for four loaves of bread; you trade me one home cooked meal for an hour of dance lessons. But Fred really needs some money for the loaf pans, and I have two left feet! Now what?!

Relax, my worried neighbour! There is an answer—it’s called the LETS system!

LETS stands for Local Economic Trading System, and it side-steps the restrictions of our federal currency AND bartering. Basically, LETS is a locally designed and managed currency system that is made to work in collaboration with (instead of against), our federal currency. It is local money that is not in a limited supply, and stays within the community that created it. Therefore, there is never a shortage it and it can never leave! Sound too good to be true? Read on…


(photo: Falls Brook Centre)


The Falls Brook Centre LETS Pilot Project works like this:

Everybody who joins the project receives their own account starting with $100 LETS.

When deals are made, LETS dollars are moved from one account to another, via the buyer calling in the trade to the LETS Registry. For a transaction in the LET System to occur, one account must go up by a certain amount and another must go down by the same amount. The negative balance allows people to trade with "money" they don’t have, eliminating the restrictions of limited supply. The fact that there is a currency, or trading unit, removes the limitations of bartering by allowing people to take their credit to other members who can supply their requests.

A typical day of the LET System in action may look like this: Beryl de Beaupré is reading the LETS Directory and notices that Joan Emery offers pre-cooked meals. Beryl phones or emails Joan and asks her how many LETS $ she will charge to cook three meat-based pre-cooked meals. They agree that a reasonable cost for the service will be $10 LETS in addition to $10 Canadian to buy the ingredients. Beryl contacts the LETS Registry to acknowledge that her account now has a debit of $10 LETS and that Joan has a credit of $10 LETS. It’s that simple!

Still not convinced?

Here are some of the benefits to using the LET System in your local community:

  • Increased access to local goods and services

  • More federal currency "freed up" for use outside the system

  • No federal or provincial taxes

  • Local businesses attract more customers, increase cash income (as total sales go up), encourage customer loyalty, and ease the cash flow

  • Voluntary groups can accept donations in LETS $ to reward volunteers and free up their cash budget

  • LETS directories increase publicity for local services

  • LET Systems are great places to try out product ideas

Perhaps the greatest benefit that is to be seen, is the greater sense of community and co-operation that is generated through the LET System members. Services and skills are often valued at a more realistic level, under the premise that we are valuing each other, rather than money. Local people get out to meet and greet each other, and find out what we’re all about. People that don’t have as much access to federal dollars can increase their spending capacity with LETS $.

And best of all, there is a greater sense of self-worth and dignity when we start to recognize ourselves as skilled, talented, and useful! With all these benefits, it is tough to figure out why there aren’t more LET Systems around!

Our pilot project, based at Falls Brook Centre, now has around thirty participating members, from Fredericton to Perth Andover. 
Please don’t hesitate to contact Caitlyn Vernon (506) 375-4310, Caitlyn@fallsbrookcentre.ca,  should you wish to receive more details, or visit
Falls Brook Centre's website.