Welcome to the Coffee Hour / Open Thread. For today's suggested topic lets consider Complementary Economies.
From Designing Bioregional Economies in Response to Globalization Bernard Lietaer and Art Warmoth © 1999
This is an Open Thread / Coffee Hour and all topics of conversation are welcome. What is for dinner? How are you doing? What is on your mind. If you are new to Street Prophets please introduce yourself below in a comment. Today's Coffee Hour is brought to you by Complementary Economies. ... More beyond the fold.
Complementary Economies or as Wikipedia defines it as Community Currencies are about creating local independent economies that co-exist with the global economies.
Much of the economic hard ship we Americans are facing is due to the global economic forces that are out of our control. For example over the last 20 years a tremendous amount of manufacturing as left the United States and moved to China.
There was a day when one bought a pair of shoes and when they wearout one took them to a repair shop. No longer, we now go to Target, Wallmart, or Payless Shoes and buy a replacement. The same for electronics and mechanical devices. Once we repaired them now we just replace them.
Expanded local complementary economies attempt to address these issues by creating a token, the complementary currency, to moderate exchanges that defy or make no economic sense on the global level. Thus, supporting local job creation and local resource utilization.
Community Currency Defined
In economics, a local currency, in its common usage, is a currency not backed by a national government (and not necessarily legal tender), and intended to trade only in a small area. As a tool of fiscal localism, local moneys can raise awareness of the state of the local economy, especially among those who may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with traditional bartering. These currencies are also referred to as community currency, and are a form of alternative currency or complementary currency. They encompass a wide range of forms, both physically and financially, and often are associated with a particular economic discourse.
From Wikipedia: Local Currency
Yesterday, I bartered my services as a computer technician for fresh grown vegetables and a batch of homemade cookies. A seeming innocent act, but actually revolutionary. The question is how can all the citizens of Vallejo, my local community, participate in exchanges of this type.
Each of us have unique skills that are going to waist that could be used in barter exchanges if only systems were put in place to encourage them. Across the world many are experimenting with local currencies.
Modern local currencies
There has been a tremendous surge in the use of local currencies over the past two decades. Today there are over 2,500 different local currency systems operating in countries throughout the world.
Since 2002 there has been an upsurge in local currency experiments particularly payment voucher-based systems that are exchangeable with the national currency. Such currencies aim to raise the resilience of local economies by encouraging re-localisation of buying and food production. The drive for this change has arisen from a range of community-based initiatives and social movements. The Transition Towns movement originating in the UK has utilised local currencies for re-localisation in the face of energy descent from peak oil and climate change. Other drives include movements against Clone town and Big-box trends.
Previously, one of the most prominent systems was LETS, Local Exchange Trading System, a trading network supported by its own internal currency. Originally started in Vancouver, Canada, there are presently more than 30 LETS systems operating in Canada and over 400 in the United Kingdom. Australia, France, New Zealand, and Switzerland have similar systems. Time dollars, Ithaca Hours, and PEN exchange are among the most successful systems in the USA.
From Wikipedia: Local Currency
Just talking about complimentary economies fly's in the face of Republican ideology. How dare the people agree to work together to improve our lives through community exchanges. What is the point when we can get it cheaper from China?
The point is in re-using materials, self sufficiency, and building community. As I said above there is a lot of experimenting going on around the world with new systems that are trying to "grow" local economics. Here is another example of an attempt to originate such a system.
LETS, Local Exchange Trading System
Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) also known as LETSystems are locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprises which provides a community information service and records transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using the currency of locally created LETS Credits. In some places, e.g. Toronto, the scheme has been called the Local Employment and Trading System. In New South Wales, Australia, they were known as Local Energy Transfer Systems.
Michael Linton originated the term "Local Exchange Trading System" in 1983 and, for a time ran the Comox Valley LETSystems in Courtenay, British Columbia. The system he designed was intended as an adjunct to the national currency, rather than a replacement for it, although there are examples of individuals who have managed to replace their use of national currency through inventive usage of LETS.
LETS networks use interest-free local credit so direct swaps do not need to be made. For instance, a member may earn credit by doing childcare for one person and spend it later on carpentry with another person in the same network. In LETS, unlike other local currencies, no scrip is issued, but rather transactions are recorded in a central location open to all members. As credit is issued by the network members, for the benefit of the members themselves, LETS are considered mutual credit systems. The time-based currency mentioned in United Nations Millennium Declaration C6 to Governments was a UNILETS United Nations International & Local Employment-Trading System to restructure the global financial architecture.
From Wikipedia: Local Exchange Trading Systems
I think the place to start to develop such systems is the farmers markets and with city government that are already our communities. That is unless local city government has been co-opted by Republican ideology. Clearly, this will become an ideological battle between oligarchs, the Republicans, and Democrats that are willing to experiment with alternate ways of doing things.
I have long believed that one of the major differences between Conservatives and Progressives is that Conservatives are against change and progressives are willing to experiment with change. Clearly, establishing complementary economies are a change that Republicans will fight.
This is an open thread / coffee hour and all topics of conversation are welcome.