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        ID-12           Yeah, but...                  January 8th,   1986

                            Yeah, but...

        The only intelligent reason not to do something that looks good 
        is the possibility of getting hurt, or hurting someone or 
        something else.

        The specific risk of participating in any currency system is that 
        of being left with worthless credit after giving value, 
        particularly if the giving of that value puts the giver at risk.

        In this case, to be at risk means to lack something which is 

        The first guideline to safe participation in a LETSystem is thus 
        to never give for green dollars anything that you need, or which 
        you need to spend cash to replace.

        Never give what you cannot afford. 

        If then you have a credit balance and cannot spend it as you 
        would like, at least you haven't lost anything essential.

        This is not to say no one should take a risk.

        Indeed, you will often find that it pays to do so.

        This simply defines the safest way to use a LETSystem while you 
        are still uncertain of its value.

        A personal money system that operates around a zero balance 
        provides for about half of the membership at any time to be in 

        These persons are entirely free of risk of loss if the system 
        should cease operating.

        No other monetary systems offer any equivalent protection.

        Thus it is entirely safe to use green dollars if you : -

             a. never forego cash earnings in favour of green, and

             b. either : -

                  maintain a negative balance, in committment to your 
                  community, or

                  accept acknowledgement in green only when you are able 
                  to write it off as worthless with no loss.

        Landsman Community Services Ltd.              ID-12     Page    1

        ID-12           Yeah, but...                  January 8th,   1986

        The way to gain value from a LETSystem is to mind your own 

        When you pay green dollars you are spending your earnings.

        If you don't pay more than you think something is worth, and 
        don't give away your own time and energy for less than it is 
        worth, how can you lose ?

        It is best to become good at spending green money, and to thus 
        learn its value to yourself, as soon as possible.

        Earning green dollars need never be a problem.

        The concern that others might get hurt is difficult for me to 
        take seriously.

        In the first place it is insufferably patronising.

        Mind your own business.

        Let others mind their own.

        In the second, anyone who is that concerned for the safety of 
        others will have a hard time justifying their use of conventional 

        The only consideration that merits deeper analysis is the concern 
        that the whole thing is, in some strange way, dangerous.

        This may be associated with an anticipation of retribution from 
        some particular quarter.

        They won't like it, and they will stop it, and that will be bad.

        It is useful to try to establish precisely who "they" are, why 
        "they" won't like it, and what "they" might do that would be a 

        When "you" have worked it out let "us" know.

        You may be assured that "they" aren't big business or even the 
        banks, not the government and not the unions, and neither 
        organised religion nor organised crime.

        Everybody who can use money and can use some more stands to gain.

        It is left as an exercise to the diligent reader to derive the 
        precise reasons for this result.

        Landsman Community Services Ltd.              ID-12     Page    2

        ID-12           Yeah, but...                  January 8th,   1986

        A more realistic but equally unfounded anxiety lies in the 
        nameless dread that somehow using our own money might precipitate 
        some collapse of all that is essential to keeping us in the 
        manner to which we are accustomed.

        It is entirely appropriate to be anxious about the way things are 
        these days.

        Anyone who looks around without concern has every reason to be 

        Think of the cartoon character who steps off the cliff and 
        remains poised in midair, oblivious to the risk; and then, on 
        looking down, sees that he has no support and flies like brick.

        It is surely by now clear to all that our money system has for 
        some time been supported by nothing more than our belief in it.

        If we can indeed remain poised for so long without support, why 
        can we not do so consciously ?

        Why should we be unable use a simple, self regulating system when 
        we have demonstrated our ability to manage with this monstrous 
        contraption ?

        The establishment of LETSystems will in fact stabilise the very 
        institutions currently in the greatest danger of irrecoverable 

        The relationship between personal and conventional currency 
        closely parallels biological symbiosis, where each organism 
        contributes positively to the development of the other, or the 
        marriage, where male and female become more than either alone 
        without losing their identity.

        The concern that one must compete with or threaten the other is 
        based in a very simplistic perception of the way things actually 
        work, both in the natural world and in human society.

        One response that I find particularly exasperating is the 
        plaintive bleat that a LETSystem isn't perfectly safe.

        Neither is a bicycle.

        Come to that, what is safe, or, more to the point, foolproof ?

        Fritz Schumacher observes that  " Ghandi once said scathingly, 
        Everybody is looking for a system so perfect that no one inside 
        has to be good."

        Apart from being the ultimate trivial pursuit, since nothing can 
        account for the variety of human behaviour, such a Quest for a 
        Holy Grail is totally repugnant in its reduction of the person 
        from a responsible ethical being to a mere element in a system.

        Landsman Community Services Ltd.              ID-12     Page    3

        ID-12           Yeah, but...                  January 8th,   1986

        Anyone who argues the impropriety of LETSystems on the grounds 
        that a complete fool might be able to damage himself, is 
        logically bound to withdraw themselves immediately from their 
        current involvement with their conventional currency.

        Wrap up all your unwanted money in a brown paper parcel and send 
        it, postpaid to ....

        Or perhaps they think there is room for improvement, the LETSystem 
        isn't the best we can do.

        Very likely.

        But I don't see any better ideas in the field.

        So, until the day that one comes along, ...

        Indeed, I suggest that any who are interested in economics, 
        either theoretical or practical, particularly those engaged in 
        alternative currency development, ought to give some serious 
        consideration to these ideas.

        While it may well prove that there are better ways to do this, 
        the best way to discover those improvements is to work from the 
        state of the art, particularly when simulations and explorations 
        are so accessible.

        Landsman Community Services Ltd.              ID-12     Page    4

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