query: local currencies

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Wed Jan 1 11:42:07 CST 2003

[ed:  thanks to Debbie for replying to James' query, reprinted 

One thing you may want to think about is who can participate. The 
LETS system is computer-based, and may only work for a limited 
segment of the population. I think systems like Ithaca Hours are 
wonderful because they involve a concrete item to exchange. I had 
a conversation with Doug Henwood about these systems once 
(author of Wall Street and the Left Business Observer) and he 
commented that they're good for things like trading babysitting for 
haircuts, but that they would never be able to create a way to forge 
the steel to make the scissors for the haircuts.  

In Ithaca, people are asked to value an hour of their time at the 
same rate, I think $10 per hour. And, while there are lots of people 
willing to take Hours for babysitting and yoga classes, there are 
also stores, and even a bank that will accept them.  

Debbie Phillips
Rural Action
debbiep at frognet.net
colist-admin at coserver.uhw.utoledo.edu writes: 

From: "Debbie Philips" <debbiep at frognet.net>

Date sent:      	Wed, 25 Dec 2002 10:04:04 -0500
From:           	colist-admin at coserver.uhw.utoledo.edu
Subject:        	query:  local currencies
To:             	colist at coserver.uhw.utoledo.edu
Send reply to:  	colist at coserver.uhw.utoledo.edu
Priority:       	normal

> <><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
> This is a COMM-ORG "colist" message.
> All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
> <><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
> .
> [ed:  We have had occasional discussions about community-based 
> currencies.  James offers us the opportunity to update the 
> discussion.]
> From:  James DeFilippis <jdefilippis at CSSNY.ORG>
> I have recently become interested in LETS, but haven't seen any 
> good data on who is involved and I have this nagging suspician 
> that it's a middle class white person thing (which would make me 
> less interested in it).  Does anyone have any information on this?  
> LETS are local currencies that are forms of self-contained networks 
> in which members buy or sell services to other members and are 
> paid in the LETS currency.  In most LETS every member has an 
> individual account, which records their debt or credit.  Members do 
> not "owe" the person or business providing the service, instead 
> their debt is to the LETS system, and their debt is therefore 
> socialized.   
> My interest in LETS comes from my long term interest in issues of 
> community control over economic development (especially since 
> most of the community development movement/industry seems to 
> have moved very decidedly away from even the goal of community 
> control over the last couple of decades).  And a local currency 
> seems like a very interesting and innovative way to realize local 
> control over economics.  Any thoughts/ideas/data on this would be 
> helpful.  
> James DeFilippis
> Housing Policy Analyst
> Community Service Society of New York
> 105 East 22nd Street
> New York, NY 10010
> 1-212-614-5435
> jdefilippis at cssny.org
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