A way for it to be impossible for anyone to be unemployed, really!
Last night at our monthly Self Reliant Community meeting, Francis and Lia Ayley of Life Dollars presented a great concept of an alternative currency where people can easily exchange services/goods that they are qualified to perform for services/goods that other people can offer. Francis, a Brit, explained that our current monetary system is based on notes issued by the private, for profit corporation, the Federal Reserve. This monetary system has historically expanded the volume of notes issued (inflation) and then abruptly restricted the supply with the result that a few insiders are able to acquire vast amounts of unearned wealth. When recessions/depressions occur, it isn’t that there is a shortage of resources or labor, but rather that the money supply isn’t functioning. In this modern age of easy communication, facilitated by computers and the internet, anyone who has any skills or just the willingness to work should be able to easily offer his/her services and in return have the opportunity to accept services/goods that he/she desires. For instance I make 10lbs. of cheese about twice a week and enjoy having people come and help me while learning how to make make cheese. Rather than accept Federal Reserve notes (dollars) for this service, the people attending my classes could offer me life dollars that I could use to have my elderly Chevy truck fixed by a person who got his boer doe bred by a buck owned by a person attending the cheese class. So although I don’t have a goat that I need bred and the mechanic doesn’t need a cheese class (in this example, perhaps the mechanic needs a haircut), everyone can do the work that he/she likes to do and get what he/she wants without the necessity of having any Federal Reserve notes (dollars).
Francis gave an example of a woman who attended a meeting where he presented his Life Dollars concept and the woman loved the idea but said that she wouldn’t participate because she had nothing to offer. “You just jot down on this piece of paper a snapshot of your life, and I’ll go over it and give you some ideas,” Francis told her. When he looked at what she had written, Francis was able to give the woman a list of 30 things that she could offer including quilting lessons–it turned out that she was a world class quilter but had never thought of offering her expertise to others.
One interesting point made by Francis was that because this Life Dollar system is based on abundance rather than scarcity (where bankers’ goal seems to be to get everyone’s everything) there has yet to be a case of members ripping off the system. Everyone is able to offer services/goods truthfully and be assured of getting valuable compensation in the form of services/goods that they desire. The more work that is offered, the more services are available, meaning that there is never a question of unemployment with such a system. People with sociopathic tendencies will tend to seek out more stealthy places to try to take advantage or gain power because the Life Dollar system is quite transparent. There is a place on the member’s website where members are encouraged to give feedback on the services they received.
One person in our meeting asked how many trading members seemed to be necessary for people to be able to get satisfactory trades. The answer was 35. Apparently when there are at least 35 people in an area offering good/services for Life Dollars, then there is an adequate variety of offerings to satisfy members. And when there is that core number, naturally many more people become interested in participating.
Francis and Lia live in Bellingham, a small community where there are about 200 Life Dollar members. The concept is more advanced, apparently, in England and Europe where whole communities sometimes support such systems.
What participating in an alternative currency can do:
- Make your skills/services available to people who may have a shortage of Federal Reserve notes due to the depressed US economy
- Give you an opportunity to receive services from people who have skills/abilities and are willing to give those services in exchange
- Give you the opportunity to do the work you really enjoy doing
- Meet people who are open-minded and willing to find an avenue for happiness in a depressed economy
- Help you become a more self reliant community member
What participating in an alternative currency can’t do:
- Because the currencies aren’t usually exchangeable for Federal Reserve notes, you probably can’t pay bills such as mortgage payments, insurance or credit card bills by offering your services through an alternative currency such as Life Dollars
Francis told about how he asked his great aunt about how things were in Scotland during the Great Depression. She told about hungry and starving people and Francis as a young man made the assumption that it was due to a crop failure. No, his aunt said, the farmers were leaving the crops to rot in the fields because there was no money to be made by harvesting them and no money to pay the workers needed to do the harvesting. The Great Depression was due to the fact that the Bank of England retracted the money supply by two thirds. Hmm…