Labour Credits, LETS and LEAVENS
For other examples of the provision of labour see Mike Nickerson’s article about work contributions to the eco-village.
At our members meeting we continue to discuss the idea of using a Local Trading System (LETS) to complement the conventional CDN dollar monetary system. Much of the discussion is inspired by Mike’s Book Life, Money and Illusion (abbreviated LMI)
Life Money and Illusion discusses trading exchange as a form of mutual provisioning. Mutual provisioning can be defined as the work, money, service that people give, trade or sell for mutual benefit. In the context of the growth of our Lanark EcoVillage (abbreviated LEV) , we need to ask the following questions:
What is needed to support the mix of different kind of credits for mutual provisioning?
The credits bestowed on the community by the individual – in the form of labour, money, donated skills, tools, gifts in kind. The individual would be receiving credits from the community by providing this exchange.
Hence the exchange is bi-directional: We consider that the community is leavened by the gifts of the individual, and vice-versa…Individuals to leaven the community <==> LEV community to provide to individuals.
To this end we came up with the LETS currency of LEaVENS whose units are still to be determined. (However: One unit the eleven LEaVENS might purchase a membership, say. ). The intent at this point is not to assign specific currency equivalents, but rather to understand how the assignment of value to an individual’s labour, money, service or in general an ‘activity’ affects the LEV operation.
So in order to introduce the LEAVEN currency we might need
- To evaluate the priority/importance of the activity
- To evaluate the cost of performing certain operations in terms of their environmental or personal well-being impact (Env Assessment or EA)
- To evaluate the diversity of the task, skill, provision. LEV is not a mono-culture community. “And there are different activities, but the same spirit which activates each gift in each person. …”
- To consider the need to maintain conventional solvency (money) i.e. will the activity produce a red balance or will it provide long term stability…)
- The duration of the task should be considered, and when the task needs to be interrupted before completion, the value assignment may change.
These metrics could be put in a table to measure the mutual provisioning item to be evaluated. The evaluation work sheet could contain the following for each activity.
|Provision/Service Checklist Estimates|
In order for to assign relative values, must consider for each Activity
- What is considered constructive and regrettable expenditures
- Monitoring the adequacy of labour opportunities
- Balance of the natural resource stocks,
- report the amounts of pollutants released, the effective levels of accumulation
- Monitor other factors that people feel might affect our well-being
Case Studies : To understand how the checklist might work, consider the following provisions:
Provision 1 LEV member is a person on ‘full disability’ having social assistance benefits to pay for accommodations. This member has a varying capacity to labour in the garden or on construction tasks due to a medical condition. The provision of monthly payments for accommodation provides a steady currency source to reduce the cost of the house mortgage.
Provision2 LEV member is a person with very little money. This member has little capacity to provide cash funding but is in good health and enjoys labouring in the garden and assisting in construction tasks. The provision of several hours of labour per day during the gardening/construction season allows certain high priority tasks to be completed in a timely fashion.
For this to work, we also need a mechanism for working out what happens when the exchange does not work out, is not a good situation, or when members of the community suffer because of the arrangement. This could be due to:
- Episodes of violent behaviour
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices that impinge on other people working/living in proximity.
When the individual ceases to function well within community and needs help that cannot be provided at LEV.
Practically Speaking... For the meantime, we have created a task board mostly related to topical items that need doing:To view the tasks and coordinate your availability: Select either menu item below Labour Contributions – Tasks as follows
- Facility/Building Tasks https://ecolanark.wordpress.com/task-bulletin-board-facilitybuilding-tasks/
- Land and Garden Tasks https://ecolanark.wordpress.com/task-bulletin-board-garden-tasks/
- Please respond if you can help with either Facility or Land/Garden tasks as your availability permits.