A look into some alternative local currencies reveals very quickly the diversity and profusion of communities everywhere making a concerted effort to go economically off-grid. Each rendition of a Time Bank, a LETS currency, a loyalty system, a barter network, has distinctively presented a platform for exchange capable of supplementing the use of national (fiat) currency with debt-free, money-free solutions. What really gets me going particularly is a concept known as mutual credit, aka credit clearing, or a community exchange system.
One such credit clearing system recently grabbed my attention, pioneered by a Scottish man, Richard Logie, and called GETS (Global Exchange Trading System), indeed employs a type of complementary currency in which the currency used in a transaction can be created at the time of the transaction. Meaning, no prior earning of money is required to begin exchanging. This is what a LETS does of course, but where GETS differs is in its advanced capacity to issue credit based on a matrix of evaluations, making it scalable from small P2P local systems to large B2B enterprise. It is essentially the leading-edge of credit clearing, having the capacity to evolve with the needs of its members and the demands of expanding communities.
Watch this TEDx presentation by Richard himself about the core principles of GETS —
Additional to, and equally critical as, the mechanism of exchange which is currency (energy), is the platform on which we DO the exchanging! In this new age of information, where Internet social media and sharing-economy tools are exploding with energy, we are seeing a tremendous multiplicity of perceived Value representation taking hold. The online environment fundamentally redefines “successful business” by establishing transparent, data-driven norms such as buyer/seller reviews (see eBay), 5-star ratings (see Yelp), vouches, references, and “the story” (see CouchSurfing, AirBnB), likes, comments, subscriptions (see just about everything on the Internet).
We are also seeing a huge influx of modern day peer-to-peer barter networks and resource-sharing and trading platforms collectively known as the collaborative consumption market. Browse the directory, wow! While traversing such a vast and varied landscape of goods and services, it quickly becomes apparent that just about any need can be met in collaborative fashion, many times at no cost, and that there seems to be a recurring method for determining exactly what, when, where, and how these exchanges are fulfilled. And if it’s not hard cash, then it almost certainly revolves around trust, reputation, relationships, and the story.
Check out what Rachel Botsman has to say about it —
All the Internet’s positive reviews, vouches, references, ratings, likes, comments, badges, and accomplishments I see as Prime Value in a digital world, but not in the way it is presently capitalized by those seeking to harvest (extract Energy Value for sale to undisclosed 3rd parties) for profit. Precisely the opposite, actually (thank GOD)!! This information, in a Vectorance environment, becomes CREDIT for the individual RECEIVING the GIFT of the energies represented in that information. Talk about a 180° in how we experience pretty much everything. This of course is also how credit would be perceived in real life—as Gratitude—and this credit can be measured in a number of ways, some of which are demonstrated by Richard Logie’s mutual credit issuing matrix of GETS. In Vectorance, the story means everything.
And it gets more interesting …