Ethos of LETS

LETS Ethos

The system is based on human capital - your skills and energies - and on trust. Unlike the cash economy your capital is not restricted to the numbers on your bank statement. So long as you have something to offer another person (and everyone does), you have capital. Since participants don't need to compete for scarce resources, it is a fundamentally cooperative trading endeavor.

The currency is information rather than a commodity in its own right. No interest is charged or credited, and there is no stigma about going into debit, as debit only represents a future commitment to offer skills to another member, rather than a financial penalty imposed by a third party. Putting it another way, if half of us weren't in debt the systems wouldn't work ar all! Whenever you have a job done you are offering a member "work", so the "Wants" in any LETS are as important as the Offers.

Reasons to join LETS
  • Most of us see the community building side of LETS as being a major benefit - it is a great way of meeting new friends and building a sense of self worth and belonging.
  • LETS also offers people the chance to use skills that they have not tested in the conventional economy, thus building confidence as well as a network of able, versatile people.
  • It's a gift economy which is fundamentally different from a cash economy.
  • Local currency economies can be far more varied, creative and stress-free than conventional money.

Transition Movement & LETS

Although LETS existed long before Transition Towns were heard of, we can consider LETS to be in line with the Transition Movement. Local Exchange Trading is all about helping ourselves and others by local activity and production, manifesting local skills and resources, promoting local reliance and resilience. Developing a local economy not driven by the demands of distant corporations and banks could be a seriously important part of the transition to a low carbon economy.

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