Another form of currency is really organized barter,
but is not that what money is?
The object of the SANE Community Exchange System (CES) is
to facilitate trade without using our conventional national currencies, and build a sense of community at the same time.
By 'trade' we mean the normal economic activity of selling
goods and providing services by 'sellers' or 'providers', and the purchase of these by 'buyers', 'customers', 'clients', 'patients'
The CES serves two basic functions:
- it is an online money and banking system
- it is a 'marketplace' where people sell goods
Although the CES is internet-based it also works for those
who do not have computers. Each participant gets an account number and a password, and this gives them access to their account
on the CES web site. The site works like a true on-line banking service. Participants can view their current balances and
obtain statements of account. They can also keep track of the trading position of others.
Goods and services are advertised on the web site through
an 'Offerings List'. Participants look through this list, or do a search, and if they find anything they want they contact
the seller who then provides the goods or service. Payment is effected through a Trading Slip which serves both as a means
of payment and a receipt for the goods or service. The information on the Trading Slip is entered by the seller into a transacation
form on the web site. This credits the account of the seller and debits that of the buyer. Accounts record these debits and
credits, giving a balance after each transaction.
Those without computers can interface with the system through
'branches' where everything is done manually and information is available on paper.
To ensure that unscrupulous buyers do not exploit the system,
details of each participant's overall trading position are available to all. General trading statistics are also available
to show how much trading is taking place.
The web site also provides all the information needed to contact
other participants. There is also a 'Wants List' where participants can advertise for goods and services they require.
Trading in this system requires no supply of money, either
by the community as a whole or by each participant. Instead of using a 'hard' currency, which then has to be allocated according
to some formula, the currency of this system is the pure recording of the values exchanged in trade. Money in this system
is thus created at the trading interface and is recorded as credits for sellers and debits for buyers.
There are CES exchanges in eight countries around the world.
Each exchange has its own currency but members of one exchange can trade with members of other exchanges, making CES currencies
as versatile as our conventional currencies.
The local currencies are units of measure rather than tradable
commodities like conventional currencies. However, to make these currencies meaningful to participants, their value is based
on the national currencies. This is purely to give them reference. They are in no way tied to the national currencies and
will deviate from them over time.
There are no rules for pricing in the CES. The 'law' of supply
and demand prevails. However, within the context of the CES, certain services that otherwise would not be highly valued, might
increase in value because of their relative shortage. Other services that outside the CES are expensive might be cheaper in
the CES because the provider wishes to attract custom.
Here are some of the advantages of the using
the Community Exchange System
- It provides another stream of income
- It bridges the 'money gap' between the skills/offers/talents/gifts
of sellers on the one hand and the wants/needs/requirements of buyers on the other. Conventional money usually can't bridge
this gap because its supply is limited or non-existent.
- It builds community
- CES 'money' is abundant and can never be in
- CES 'money' can never be in oversupply and cause
- It is democratic: it returns 'money power' to
- It allocates credit democratically
- It eliminates usury. Its money is 'free' (i.e.
- It keeps wealth where it is created
- It eliminates cheating, theft and fraud (of
- It provides a support network
- It eliminates the problem of sellers not being
paid for what they supply
- It reconciles the accounts of buyers and sellers
- It promotes honesty because one can never 'run
out of money'
- It levels the playing field: everyone starts
from zero and those who deliver real value to others are the ones who get 'rich', not those who deliver nothing but acquire
their wealth by manipulating the currency
- It gives local suppliers preference
- It eliminates the waste of transporting goods
from all over because its focus is local
- It destroys the notion that the source of money
is a job: the source of money is the delivery of value from one entity (person, company etc.) to another
- It streamlines transactions and eliminates wasted
effort (e.g. sending accounts, debt collecting)
- It mobilizes the real wealth of a community:
The knowledge and skills of its people is the real wealth of a community
- It fosters self-reliance and self esteem
- It fosters social justice and equality
- And many, many more...