Here is a short stock publicity article you can use in you community organisation newsletters. Adapt or edit and add your logo, and your members can share it in their community, educational or religious groups, business or workplace, or Facebook groups.
L.E.T.S. – Think About It!
Local Energy Trading System…Local Energy Transfer System…Local Enterprise Trading System… those are just three of the possible titles behind the acronym L.E.T.S. There may be more!
The Sydney L.E.T.S organisation prefers to use the first of these. The others are used elsewhere. The precise wording is not important because the basic idea conveyed by all the interpretations remains the same: it’s local, and it’s a system.
The easiest way to describe L.E.T.S is that it is a sort of expanded barter system, with a central co-ordination point where trading units are recorded. The name chosen by Sydney L.E.T.S to describe trading units, is Operas. The philosophy is that ‘all time is valuable, and everyone’s time is of equal value’. The standard rate charged for services is 25 operas per hour.
This is how it works. Zahara would like some gardening done, which John is prepared to do for her. John charges Zahara fifty operas, and enters this in to the online system, which debits her account and credits his account. Meanwhile, Rachel has decided she needs to destress, so comes to Zahara for some relaxation therapy, which she is happy to provide, for thirty operas. Zahara enters the thirty operas in to the LETS system, to credit her account and debit Rachel’s. Operas, of course, don’t physically exist, and therefore, theoretically, there is an unlimited supply, so no-one is forced to trade or to provide a service when it is not really convenient for them to do so, simply to earn some operas.
The L.E.T.S System allows for cashless exchange of goods and services in a comparatively relaxed way, with no pressure on anyone to trade, or to provide a service simply because they have used a service provided by someone else. There is no pressure to reduce debits. It is a self-regulating system based on co-operation.
At the moment, Sydney LETS has approximately 340 individual members, plus 6 companies and 20 organisations. Sydney LETS is also linked online to 59 other LETS exchanges in Australia, and over 800 internationally.
The benefits for individuals are many and varied, as current L.E.T.S members provide a wide variety of services, including all kinds of labouring, gardening, computer help and web design, accommodation, cooking, sewing, animal care, domestic services, counselling, childcare, relaxation and stress management. Some say the biggest benefit is the building of community. Business and organisations can benefit as well: for example maintenance and cleaning of premises and grounds, occasional morning teas, lunches and functions catered for, outsourcing of some office tasks such as wordprocessing, courier services and perhaps stress management for staff!
As well as their normal services, LETS members can attend Trading Days, where fresh produce, preserves, craft items and practically anything else can be traded on the spot.
So if you are considering alternatives to cash exchanges, you may like to consider L.E.T.S. To join, or for more information, visit www.auslets.org/sydney
Adapted from an article by Martie Juszka of Albury-Wodonga L.E.T.S