1. Manchester LETS is a local exchange trading system for people in Manchester.
2. Members use the LETS to trade goods and services without any pounds sterling changing hands.
3. The LETS is just a platform – members use it to offer and search for exchanges and are then responsible for seeing them through.
4. Members are responsible for maintaining an up-to-date profile on the LETS, and understand that relevant information will be shared with other members in order to provide a trading platform.
5. The currency used by Manchester LETS is the em, written with the symbol M. One em is equivalent to one pound sterling (1M = £1).
6. When members agree to an exchange, it should be recorded on the LETS so that the appropriate number of ems can be transferred between accounts.
7. Members are never under an obligation to trade – no exchange should take place until clear terms have been agreed.
8. Caveat emptor – let the buyer beware. Manchester LETS does not provide any warranty as to the suitability or quality of any goods. Members should be sure to have a clear understanding of the condition of an item, or nature of a service, before committing to exchange ems.
9. Members can either send a payment in ems, or issue an invoice in ems, once the exchange has taken place.
10. New accounts start at zero. It is not necessary to have credits to trade; indeed, members are encouraged to keep their balance close to zero in the long-term.
Scrip is a term for any substitute for legal tender and is often a form of credit. Scrips were created as company payment of employees and also as a means of payment in times where regular money is unavailable, such as remote coal towns, military bases, ships on long voyages, or occupied countries in war time. Other forms of scrip include subway tokens, IOUs, arcade tokens and tickets, and "points" on some websites.
Company scrip was a credit against the accrued wages of employees. In the United States, where everything in a mining or logging camp was run, created and owned by a company, scrip provided the worker with credit when their wages had been depleted. These remote locations were cash poor. Workers had very little choice but to purchase meals and goods at a company store. In this way, the company could place enormous markups on goods in a company store, making workers completely dependent on the company, thus enforcing their "loyalty" to the company. Additionally, while employees could exchange scrip for cash, it was rarely done at face value. Scrip in this context was valid only within that area or town where it was issued. While store owners in neighboring communities could accept the scrip as currency, they rarely provided a 1 for 1 exchange. This was to avoid the risk of having coins/currency that were worthless anywhere else.
Manchester LETS (Local Exchange Trading Scheme) is a community network which enables people to swap goods and services using an alternative currency, the “em”. You earn ems by doing something for someone else, like washing a car, or lending equipment. You can then spend ems on something you want, like help with the garden or a lift to town. The em has many advantages. Using it enables people to help each other and be helped, without needing any money. It’s a real bonus for people on low incomes and helps people excluded from the job market.
Karen Cropper's insight:
The link with AFSL was Sarah McCulloch who has nw moved to London.
A local exchange trading system (also local employment and trading system or local energy transfer system; abbreviated to LETS or LETSystem) is a locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprise that provides a community information service and record transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using the currency of locally created LETS Credits.
LETS networks use interest-free localcredit so direct swaps do not need to be made. For instance, a member may earn credit by doing childcare for one person and spend it later on carpentry with another person in the same network. In LETS, unlike other local currencies, no scrip is issued, but rather transactions are recorded in a central location open to all members. As credit is issued by the network members, for the benefit of the members themselves, LETS are considered mutual credit systems.
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