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The paper presents the findings of ethnographic research and a survey of a Local Exchange Trading Scheme in North-East London and asks the question of whether the scheme delivers on the aims and objectives of its members. The research found that whilst its members express a strong politically motivated desire for an alternative to the prevailing economic system, the LETS scheme falls short of delivering on those ambitions. The findings raise the question of whether there is anything intrinsic to this form of local community currency that leads it to be more inclusive, egalitarian and fair.
To cite this article: Arianna Bove (2017) ‘Let’s change: a critical study of the aims and practices of a local exchange trading scheme’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2017 Volume 21 (Summer) 65-83 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2017.009
Every day brings reports of new financial crises and financial malfeasance within the banking and financial establishment. In an effort to keep the banking system functioning, the largest banks and financial institutions have been relieved by national governments of tremendous amounts of their bad debts, shifting that burden onto the shoulders of the citizenry. At the same time, governments are imposing austerity upon their citizens in order to reduce the extremity of their budget shortfalls. Clearly, the global system of money and finance contains structural flaws that must be recognized and transcended. Reform is very unlikely to come in time to avert widespread social, political, economic, and environmental disasters. That leaves it to citizens, businesses, and communities to take action on their own behalf to ameliorate the negative effects of the failing system. Parallel systems of exchange and finance are both necessary, and easily implemented at the local and regional level. The most effective approach is the process of direct clearing of credits amongst buyers and sellers. This credit clearing process, which is being used in such systems as LETS and commercial trade exchanges, enables the creation of local liquidity based on local production, avoiding the use of conventional money and bank borrowing and moving local economies toward resilience, independence, and sustainability. The focus of this article is on credit clearing as a local exchange option, and deals specifically with the proper allocation of credit within credit clearing exchanges. It explains the causes of (1) the “pooling” of credits, (2) stagnation of circulation, and (3) failure to thrive, it prescribes policies to be applied in credit allocation, and it describes metrics that are important in assessing the performance of individual member accounts and in monitoring the overall health of a credit clearing system. Further, it explains the distinction between private credit and collective credit and the role of each in facilitating moneyless exchange, and recommends procedures for preventing excessive negative and positive balances while enabling both saving and investment within the system.
T. H. Greco Jr.
To cite this article: Greco, T. (2013) ‘Taking Moneyless Exchange to Scale: Measuring and Maintaining the Health of a Credit Clearing System’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 17 (A) 19-25 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2013.003