Local Exchange Trading Systems

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Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) also known as LETSystems are locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprises that provide a community information service and record transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using the currency of locally created LETS Credits.[1] In some places, e.g. Toronto, the scheme has been called the Local Employment and Trading System. In New South Wales, Australia, they were known as Local Energy Transfer Systems.

Michael Linton originated the term "Local Exchange Trading System" in 1983 and for a time ran the Comox Valley LETSystems in Courtenay, British Columbia.[2] The system he designed was intended as an adjunct to the national currency, rather than a replacement for it,[3] although there are examples of individuals who have managed to replace their use of national currency through inventive usage of LETS.[citation needed]

LETS networks use interest-free local credit 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. The time-based currency mentioned in United Nations Millennium Declaration C6 to Governments was a UNILETS United Nations International & Local Employment-Trading System to restructure the global financial architecture.[citation needed]

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