ISSUES & DEBATES
Models of LETS: Consultants and advisers tend to place emphasis
on one or other of the extremes in the continuum between community
or business orientation of LETS schemes. The former would tend to
emphasis participation of and accountability to members; the latter
would tend to emphasise efficiency. However, most LETS organisers
would be hard put to identify where they belong in such a continuum
- they get help and advice where they can, respond to local conditions
and to their own perception of what is needed, and use whatever
resources are available to them locally to maintain and promote
Funding LETS Development:
similarly, some groups believe that they can work best when
properly funded and resources whilst others take the view that they
work best on a grassroots level when their workload does not include
reporting to authority figures on how funding has been disbursed.
These attitudes may or may not coincide with intentions around community
or business orientation of LETS. It has yet to be shown that running
a LETSystem can be economically self-sustaining in sterling, whilst
groups vary widely on the extent to which they are generous in allocating
payments in their own local currency to LETS organisers, and the
extent to which they are prepared to issue currency from a system
account below zero. One way forward which has recently been suggested
is to link LETS schemes with Hour Banks and to acknowledge organiser
effort by payments from Hour Banks - this has yet to be explored
Benefits Campaign: Several research reports have shown that
the ambiguity in the DSS regulations and the varying way in which
they are interpreted locally may give people claiming benefits cause
to fear that their trading on LETS could count against their benefits.
On this basis, LETSlink UK has been running a campaign for some
years to persuade the government to declare a total disregard of
LETS when calculating what benefits are due to an individual, which
could be done by amending small print in the relevant legislation.
For the latest on the current campaign see: www.letslinkuk.org.
Meanwhile other groups take the view that the way forward is not
to draw attention unnecessarily to the economically unconventional
activities of individuals participating in LETS, and therefore have
misgivings about the campaign.
Monetary Reform? LETSlink UK's and LETSlink LONDON's policy
is to promote and support the development of Local Exchange Trading
Systems (LETS) as complementary currencies, ie operating alongside
the existing monetary system, and to gain the support of government
and its agencies in so doing, as one way of of advancing the development
of sustainable communities and assisting those in poverty. We are
working within the existing legal framework and therefore do not
officially have a view on reform of the monetary system. However
we recognise that many of those working in LETS schemes will have
had their awareness raised by the experience of creating their own
money and will therefore be interested to follow these other kinds
of debates. For further details of different areas of the campaign
contact Peter Challen <firstname.lastname@example.org> and <Sabine@globalnet.co.uk>.
ARTICLES from Newsletters, Conferences papers and Research
Reports and Book Reviews are ARCHIVED
showing the most recent first.
We welcome the addition of more material for this section. LETSlink
London now has a Message Board accessible via www.letslink.org