04 June 2011
Local Energy Transfer Systems (LETS) are localized trade systems that occur outside the mainstream economy. They grow from communities seeking to meet their material needs in a truly equal market exchange based on labor-produced credits rather than money. LETS users trade local units of value for goods and labor/services. A LETS credit's value is determined by the community of people participating in the system. LETS systems will change and grow as the community of users grows - essentially it is a biomimicking economic system. Research on existing LETS has demonstrated that the system works alongside the mainstream economy and actually increases the value of the dollar. However, I am optimistic that LETS has the potential to serve as a bridge between 'islands of sustainability' in the future.
We are now trying to get a LETS rolling here in Birmingham. Zach and Robyn got the facebook page going and we all completed the first round of proselytizing - via 80 or so flyers - this morning at Pepper Place (trial by fire suits us all just fine). The response was pretty positive - people were actually reading the flyers as they headed for the sponsored drum circle!
For more information on how a LETS works and to participate in how our local system develops, visit the Birmingham LETS facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_133164623426645.
[[click for articles on LETS in Australia and the UK, a book on LETS and *buzzwrrd* sustainable development, and LETS FAQs]]