Reasons why LETS sometimes doesn’t work, and some suggested ways to overcome them...
I’m still not really sure how the LETS system is supposed to work...[edit | edit source]
I’m worried about going into debt...[edit | edit source]
Don’t be! We cannot emphasise enough that it is NOT necessary to have a credit balance before you start spending LETS currency. Unlike the cash economy, a ‘negative’ balance is not the same as being in debt. In fact, for the system to function, it is absolutely necessary that some members accounts are IN COMMITMENT or the whole thing would grind to a halt. There also isn’t alot of point in building up massive amounts of LETS credit as this simply ‘locks up’ energy within the system. Instead, regular spending and earning keeps the economy flowing by constantly ‘re-investing’ in other peoples’ skills and resources.
I’m not sure how much a ‘pier’ is worth or what to charge...[edit | edit source]
Many SEELETS members price their services as ‘negotiable’, but as a rough guideline, 10 piers per hour seems a reasonable baseline figure for most people. Several LETS systems around the country have linked their currencies to stirling, (eg, 1 LETS credit is worth about £1.00), and the dynamics of their trading reflect external ‘market forces’. However in SEELETS we prefer to allow members themselves decide what a ‘pier’ is worth... We see it as being about how much value you yourself place upon the services or goods you offer, and just as importantly, how much you value the work that is done for you by others. If you feel you’ve worked hard and done a high quality job, charge accordingly... similarly, if the organic vegetables you’ve purchased have obviously been grown with loving care and attention, show your appreciation! We hope that unlike hard cash, a ‘pier’ is less about a cold transaction of ‘things’ and more about interacting on a human and social level. In a way, we feel it’s important that LETS doesn’t simply end up becoming a reflection of the money system; After all, isn’t it conventional economics that got the world into it’s present mess in the first place? (See also Piers In A Nutshell)
Nobody has rung me yet...[edit | edit source]
It’s OK for YOU to pick up the phone!! Everybody who is in LETS has joined because they believe in the system and want it to work, and THEY are also waiting to hear from YOU just as much as you are waiting to hear from them!! The directory includes a ‘wants’ section for just this reason- if somebody needs a skill or service you possess, get in touch, even if it’s not something you’ve listed in the directory. Even if you don’t feel qualified to actually carry out a task, you might be able to advise or recommend somebody who can!
I don’t have enough to offer...[edit | edit source]
If it seems that the services you are offering aren’t required by LETS members (though it could be that, just like you, they ‘don’t like to ring’!), maybe you could give some thoughts to other services you could provide. We all as human beings have an incredible range of skills and abilities, even if sometimes these are not considered ‘valued’ within our cash oriented culture. The Offers and Wants Worksheet and Inspiration List might help you to think more creatively about what you can offer, Think of each service in terms of your level of ability, whether it be ‘Hobby’ (or learner), ‘Skilled’ (or semi- skilled) or ‘Professional’. What do you actually ENJOY doing?
Nobody is offering anything I want...[edit | edit source]
Even if you have a specific job in mind that isn’t actually being offered at the present time, with listed services ranging from computer skills to car washing and tree felling to Tai Chi lessons, I find it a little difficult to believe that there is NOTHING LETS has to offer you! Why not use LETS to ‘buy’ gifts for friends, maybe a painting or some music lessons? Alternatively, treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally be able to afford or would like to just try out, such as an aromatherapy or massage session.
I don’t like the idea of getting in touch with somebody I haven’t met...[edit | edit source]
This is understandable, particularly if the service you require is baby sitting, or if it involves inviting somebody to your home. There are however many opportunities for getting to know other LETS members on ‘neutral’ ground; We hold members’ meetings on a monthly basis, and there are frequent social events ranging from games evenings, picnics, therapy days, quiz nights to allotment work days. One of the most popular regular events is the LETS Auction held at the Friends Meeting House in Leigh- an excellent opportunity not only to put some faces to names but to generally stimulate your LETS trading and have a laugh!
During 1998, over 600 transactions took place between SEELETS members, and almost 8000 piers were created and spent.... Remember, at the end of the day, LETS will work for you as much as YOU want it to...
Original content by Quercusrobur at http://permaculture.wikia.com/