Local Exchange and Trading Systems (LETS) in Australia: a new tool for community development?

Local Exchange and Trading Systems (LETS) are a form of not-for-profit community enterprise which have rapidly spread throughout the English-speaking industrialised nations during the 1990s. A LETS is a local association whose members list their offers of, and requests for, work in a directory and members then exchange this activity valued in a local unit of currency. However, little is known about them. Drawing upon the results of a questionnaire sent to all Australian LETS in April 1995, this paper evaluates their contributions to community development. Finding that LETS are to some extent rebuilding more localised economies, reconstructing local social networks and helping the unemployed engage in productive activity, recommendations are made about how these achievements could be further improved. However, and on a more cautionary note, questions are raised about not only the effectiveness of, but also the reasons for, the state’s support of LETS in Australia.

Colin C Williams Volume 1(1997) 3

IJCCR vol 1 (1997) 3 Williams

To cite this article: Williams, C. (1997) ‘Local Exchange and Trading Systems (LETS) in Australia: a new tool for community development?’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 1 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.1997.002