Integrate Time Dollars and East German Accounting
connectivity comes from human contact - not just from
trading. A huge potential of human contact is made when
volunteering for a great cause, not just for one trading
partner. And it is generally in this spirit that LETS
organisers give of their time - for the benefit of the
whole membership rather than their own. Hence TimeDollars
are the natural tool for rewarding LETS organisers for
the TimeDollar principle rewards time spent 'in the
community': so many hours for helping a neighbour give
you so many Dollars for your old age. That's the idea.
LETS organisers 'do it for the community' so their old
age insurance could be provided by TimeDollars in the
same way as for the individual who helps another individual.
TimeDollars for LETS organisers would solve the great
limiting myth that the system account needs to be zero
members could of course also join TimeDollar schemes
individually, but on the organisational level, it would
be marvellous if regional TimeDollar offices were to
record all those hours that wonderful people spend spreading
the LETS message and making LETS happen.
practical terms, this means that LETS Core Group members
would use cheque books issued by a TimeDollar office
as a way of recording the amount of time they spend
on producing directories, newsletters or events for
trading and socialising. And to relieve the tedious
chore of recording members' transactions and cheques,
members could adopt the model set by a former East German
'Tauschring': a Mutual Credit Carnet.
booklet turns current cheque books into mutual account
records. Every transaction is recorded as a line with
1 a date, 2 a + column if you do something, 3 a - column
if you are on the receiving end, 4 a balance for your
account status and 5 the signature of your trading partner.
gives the TRANSPARENCY as well as the CONTROL that everybody
wants: for every trading partner sees your account and
you see the account of all your trading partners. Control
comes not via a central body but through the mutual
trust between trading partners before or after every
transaction. And when the Carnet is full, the organisers
can use it for community statistics, if they wish.
devolution of POWER from the centre to the membership
on a financial level mirrors the evolution of CURRENCY
from 'local poetry' to 'global TimeDollars': selfless
volunteering is rewarded and one-to-one transactions
become exercises in mutual trust and confidence building.Ultimately
we have to shift from power to empowerment, not only
on an individual but also a collective level.
mum uses her transaction booklet in a village near Berlin
and I have attended the local trading afternoon where
a 12-year-old recorded the sale of his self-baked cookies.
Maybe people from socialist countries find it easier
to trust their trading partners than 'long-term victims
of capitalism'. But it's never too late for change,
especially from limitations to freedom - for thought
and for action - as Core Group volunteer for TimeDollars
and as LETS trader with a Mutual Credit Carnet! Let's
go for it, shall we? [Contact:
Sabine Kurjo-McNeill, firstname.lastname@example.org]