LETSlink last surveyed its own members in about
1995. Over the years there has been a whole series of studies
by researchers at all levels, both from the UK and overseas -
in fact a new syndrome called "researched-out" has been
identified! Seriously though, it seems that much more funding
has gone into studying the efforts of LETS organisers,
often using information provided by Letslink UK, than has ever
been spent on supporting their work, and very few results
have been fed back for their information. So one purpose of this
page is to provide a place where as an organisation we can collectively
link with individual researchers, at least by archiving their
work, which might avoid some of the re-inventing of wheels, both
for researchers and LETS organisers.
Why is there such a fascination with local currencies?
They capture the imagination not only because of the determination
of participants to "make a difference" in their communities,
but also because however small and inconsequential they may seem,
they are considered to be practical experiments in the field of
monetary reform. The importance of this subject cannot be exaggerated,
and it is the main thesis of the Global
Justice Movement that the only way of ending war and starvation
is to change the system at its roots. The main reference for research
in the UK is the International
Journal of Community Currency Research, edited by Professor
Colin Williams, University of Leicester Management Centre (ULMC),
and Graham R Irwin. Its Discussion List produces a steady stream
of radical offerings. Colin Williams has also set up www.reinventingmoney.com
which presents essential background reading.
Research by Letslink UK
At LETSlink UK we focus on the the practicalities of helping our
members to make LETS work as a tool for community development.
In support of this aim, we have adopted a co-operative model of
research in order to maximise the benefit to LETS organisers.
So far we are unfunded in this endeavour, and any funding we accept
will be based on continuing the approach that the priority is
to educate ourselves in order to improve our own performance.
The current draft list of topics is as follows, reflecting questions
already proposed, and a start has been made:
1. Individuals' involvement with and views
of LETS: experiences and objective analyses - LETS and Social
Justice - some work has been done recently on this by a university
researcher - we will report the results as soon as possible.
2. LETS Groups "Health Check" -
LIVE! - go to: Questionnaire
includes estimated reports on how LETS schemes are doing as well
as statistical data on trading, and how they communicate with
3. Mapping LETS & Timebanks - locations
and contact details - legal structures of LETS & Timebanks
- involvement with Local Authorities and other Funders - identifying
needs of LETS organisers that can be supplied by a national body.
4. LETS Organisers - details of administrative
procedures - documenting
computer systems already in in use - discovering whether and
how groups keep the system account in balance - credit and debit
controls - problems and remedial action - establishing the need
for a new integrated "standard" software.
5. Building up the Archive - recording
our own history and development - legal case histories - the benefits
campaign - research reports - key events in the movement.
6. LETS and Sustainability - developing
the enterprise model of LETS - involvement with local food production
- trading of food items - catering and cafes - box schemes - Community
Supported Agriculture (CSA) and LETS
NB The plan is to send members (individuals and
representatives of schemes as appropriate) detailed questionnaires
on each of the above topics sequentially - and the results will
be reported upon at each stage before moving to the next topic.
If you have ideas to prioritise, add to or amend the list at any
stage (NB this list is an ongoing draft), please contact us:
Researchers are welcome to add papers to this file