Another economic system
Economy as an indispensable tool to creat networks of self-sufficiency
A) The art of sharing. Community Economy. Brainstorming on the resources for the collective use of the people who interact, without accounting for the flow of exchanges. Runs on spontaneous reciprocity, affinity relationships, mutual support and high levels of trust without expecting compensation in return for what has been shared.
B) The Barter Non-monetary action of exchange of goods,services and knowledge. A direct verbal agreement between the bidder and the petitioner to satisfy the claims of both parties in relation to the fairness of the exchange.
C) The Multireciprocal Barter. Free currencies. Free currencies, social or local, are tools that go beyond direct exchanges, facilitating multireciprocal exchanges and establishing values for goods,services and knowledge that are exchanged. They are also key aspects to relocate the economy, promoting human and economic relations of proximity at the local and bioregional level. It generates a social market open only to activities that incorporate ethical, ecological and social criterias that allow everyone to interact fairly and without intermediaries. Free Currencies are an opportunity to undermine the hegemony of capitalism and could gradually replace the euro while ensuring abundance, since each individual is part of the creation of resources for meeting collective needs, putting his/her skills and knowledge to the service of the community. An exchange network can be mobilized by a small critical mass (30-40 people would be sufficient) associated locally to boost economic relations based on trust and proximity, on a bioregional action range (near or distant to one another). As a transition tool that inevitably coexist with the capitalist economy, we must promote a mixe.
The LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) defines the guidelines to promote local exchange networks that are interest-free on exchanges. The money is generated when an exchange takes place (the bidder reaches positive balance equal to the agreed value of exchange and the petitioner remains at negative) allowing a negative balance as agreed by the network. As for the exchange, it is allowed to change official currency (Euro) with free currency but never the reverse, because the road taken is to undermine the capitalist economy hegemony. Also we refer to the transparency, needed to understand this new economy based on trust. To do this, virtual systems are used for the management ot the exchange networks, which are only applications (similar to applications used in the banks to manage our accounts) connected to the Internet and used to record exchanges.The systems whose only basis of exchange is banknotes are essentially fragile, and as well in danger of counterfeits and imply the cost of printing the bills. Besides they do not allow us to know about the fluctuations that occur in the debit system as we do not know the amount of money that each person has in their account.
The CES (Community Exchange System) is a social currency adminsitration system (online software) with over 10 years of history, inspired from South Africa and has thousands of users and over 350 exchange networks spread around the world. The Catalan Integral Cooperative and 18 bioregional exchange networks (Ecoxarxes) existing up till now in Catalonia are current users and promoters of CES. However, despite its potential, this software has some shortcomings that limit its expansion and use, so already it is worked on a more intuitive and efficient version: Integral-CES.
D) The transitory relation with the capitalist economy. Building up a counter-hegemonic economy is an unavoidable duty if we want to expel the capitalist economy off our lives. It is clear that for many of the transition projects we need euro injections to get them started. Making use of the capitalists economic resources of legal character (wages, unemployment, inheritances, scholarships) may not be sufficient, and here comes into the picture the role of economic disobedience actions (fiscal disobedience, non-payment of debts and fines, expropriations,etc …) to lead the way to the creation of networks of self-sufficiency and of self-managed projects that do not require interaction with the capitalist economy to ensure their survival.