The origins and growth of LETSystems
A LETSystem is a self-regulating community trading network that uses a local currency to facilitate the indirect exchange of goods and services between users.
Local currencies perform a similar function to cash or cheques. Goods or services are paid for in part local money and part Sterling. LETSystems are not designed to facilitate bartering or skill-swapping.
Local currencies have been common throughout economic history, emerging whenever needed to maintain a community's internal economy. Inevitable instabilites in economic and financial patterns, for instance, during the depression of the 1930's, prompt a variety of initiatives.
The Social Credit movement was one well-intentioned but poorly designed example. More successful systems were used in Austria before World War II.
The Origins of LETSystems
The early development work on LETSystems at Comox has been championed by
The design was adapted from the so-called commercial 'barter systems' common in the US and developed to meet community needs. LETSystems offer a greater range of advantages to all sectors of the community (individuals, organisations and businesses) at a much lower cost.
The Growth of LETSystems
In the UK, the numbers have risen from 7 in 1991, to 20 in February 1992 and to 200 as of February 1994.
World-wide at least 500 LETSystems are now operating. All of these systems are based on the original Comox Valley prototype.
The Future of LETSystems
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