An Introduction to Community Exchange Systems (CES) and Local Energy Trading Systems (LETS)
CES/LETS is a way of simplifying barter. The trouble with straight barter is that you have to find someone who wants what you have and has what you want. For example, Alan has lots of pumpkins from the backyard garden and he needs a mattress. Bev has a spare mattress but doesn’t need pumpkins; she needs her car fixed. Col needs pumpkins, he has no mattress for sale but fixes cars. These three can’t barter but they can trade in CES/LETS using the local alternative currency.
FNQ Community Exchange is a non-profit organisation. Users pay a small joining fee (in $) to help cover admin costs. Experienced Users across the region help keep the system running smoothly.
Users advertise the goods and services that they want to trade, both offers and requests. It is easy to trade in CES/LETS because you don’t have to save up for what you want (unlike cash transactions).
About the Bartle
In FNQ Community Exchange the currency or trade units are called Bartles, named for the nearby Mount Bartle Frere, the highest peak in Queensland (1622m).
Mt. Bartle Frere
Advantages of a CES/LETSystem
- You don’t need dollars. all you need is something to trade – produce, goods, a skill, a service, time, muscle, knowledge, tools, anything that someone else might want. CES/LETS is based on the idea that everybody has something valuable to offer.
- There is no interest. If your account is in debit, you pay no interest. If it is in credit you get no interest.
- You can’t get into debt. If your account is in debit it just means that you are making a promise to supply something in the future. The whole system always adds up to zero. The bartles just go round and round inside the system.