The Money Problem
Searching for the root cause of many of the world's problems
often leads to the same answer; "there's just not enough money."
Why are people hungry? "There's not enough money."
Not enough jobs? "Not enough money."
Unaffordable housing?..increased tuition?...inadequate health care?
..."Because there's just not enough money to go around."
LETS Make Money!
Today, all around the world, people are taking matters, and money, into their own hands.
Yes, they are creating their own money!
St. John's Central Slum, 1950s
LETS stands for Local Employment and Trading System.
LETS systems are designed to help communities to meet their needs and employ their skills, without the use of regular money.
Members offer goods and services to each other for credits that can be used to purchase other local goods and services!
Codfish served as a form of Newfoundland currency until well into the 20th century. Fishermen would obtain credit at the merchant's store, in exchange for the season's catch. Credit could then be used to purchase household supplies and fishing gear.
Back in those days, a single merchant usually controlled the economy of an isolated outport, and determined the price of both fish and store-bought goods.
Today, we're bringing back the COD as currency..."Cash on Delivery" in the new local economy. But we're extending credit to each other...and this time, everyone benefits!
COD is the name of our new local currency. The value of a COD is the value of a Canadian dollar. Members of LETS Barter NL get an interest free line of credit in COD, extended by the community...to the community!
What IS Money Anyway?
We tend to think of money as "cold hard cash":
Something substantial that is earned, held, and stored for safe- keeping.
But money is really nothing more than an abstract unit of measurement, like inches or ounces. While inches measure length, and ounces measure weight, money measures value.
So, while we can say that we don't have enough inches of wood to build a house, it cannot be said that we have a serious lack of inches.
Likewise, it is wrong to say that we do not have enough money to provide for our community's needs,
and to build a strong, local economy.
Money is rooted in the practice of barter. Barter has always been a convenient way to conduct trade, but only works when two people need what the other has to offer.
Money emerged as a convenient way to address the limitations of barter, and to measure the value of economic transactions.
All kinds of things have served as money throughout history: stones, beads, shells, tobacco...
..and salt...and cod...and salt cod!
Regular Money vs. LETS Credit
Regular money comes from private banks, whose primary function is to generate profit for shareholders. LETS credits are created by us!
Regular money is scarce. LETS credits are as abundant as the goods, services, talents and resources available in the community!
Regular money can be spent anywhere, and tends to leave the community quickly, when purchases are made from large multi-national corporations.
LETS credits stay within the community. Every transaction generates a chain reaction of local trade that supports local businesses and community groups, creates local jobs, and helps local families to make ends meet!