Community-based LETSystems in Australia: Localised Barter in a Sophisticated Western Economy

Modern domestic barter systems are operating in Australia and other high income countries at the local community level, and at the national level for business exchanges. These exchange regimes appear to have become institutionalised in a macro-marketing system that is organised on the primacy of market exchange based on price as the co-ordinating device. This points to widespread imperfections in various markets at the local level, and in particular, in markets for credit and labour. In this paper, the nature of Australian community-based LETSystems is discussed and some results from a national survey in Australia of LETS members are presented. The interface between LETSystems, the federal taxation system and the social security system in Australia is introduced.

Peter W. Liesch and Dawn Birch Volume 4(2000) 2

IJCCR Vol 4 (2000) 2 Liesch and Birch

To cite this article: Liesch, P.W.; Birch, D. (2000) ‘Community-based LETSystems in Australia: Localised Barter in a Sophisticated Western Economy’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 4 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2000.005

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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