TURMEL: West Coast LETS Tour Vashon Island

1 view
Skip to first unread message

John Turmel

Oct 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/30/99

>Date: Thu Oct 28 14:11:44 1999
>From: dem...@halcyon.com (Greg Dember)
>Subject: Re: TURMEL: West Coast L.E.T.S. Tour

>>My goal is to picket Microsoft to urge Bill Gates to help set up
>>an online world-wide Email L.E.T.S.
>John: you don't know me, but I am concerned about your proposal. I
>support local currency, I am against interest-based loans,
JCT: I'm against interest-based loans too and if the world
banking system did switch to a pure service charge system, we'd have a
world L.E.T.S. since L.E.T.S. is nothing more than an interest-free
token system.

>but your idea of creating a world-wide, e-mail based L.E.T.S system,
>and specifically the idea of it being facilitated by Bill Gates seems
>counterproductive and even dangerous.
JCT: I can't imagine how expanding a system which has proven
ideal on the local level to the global level could be
counterproductive or even dangerous.

>To me, the benefit of a local currency system is that it encourages
>*local* trade.
JCT: A global interest-free system would also encourage local
trade where local trade is best. Just because you can also trade
internationally doesn't hamper local trading. The great benefit is
that it's interest-free, not that it's local. Keep your Directory as
local as you wish but let the tokens be accepted everywhere. I've gone
over this question during my European tour. See:

>Local trade is a good thing to encourage because it is
>less abusive of the environment, nurtures community ties, and gives a
>chance for small operations to do more business. And it keeps control
>out of the hands of big multi-national corporations.
JCT: No disagreements here other than the fact that a global
L.E.T.S. would also keep control out of the hands of the big
corporations too since there no control to be gained like a system
where money is kept in short supply on purpose.

>One of the reasons why local currency encourages local trade is that
>it makes it inefficient for big outside operators to work within many,
>many local economies at once.
JCT: No, though local currency encourages local trade because the
big operators do not have any undue advantage from the system, a level
playing field for all, it would not deter big operators from playing
too. That's why local trade would flourish in an international
L.E.T.S. too.

>So, a world-wide L.E.T.S. system seems to defeat the purpose. A
>world-wide L.E.T.S. system seems like something that people who
>support the WTO would propose.
JCT: That's an unfair supposition. There are many of us who see
the ideal nature of a global L.E.T.S. without ever suggesting the
kind of murderous policies proposed by the WTO. Actually, we see the
global L.E.T.S. as the anti-thesis of what the WTO would propose.
There is no advantage to running the poker chips in the game.

>It would make it easier for centralized groups to use L.E.T.S to
>accumulate power, just like they do with the international currency
JCT: Since there is no power associated with any accumulation of
L.E.T.S. currency, there is nothing wrong with anyone accumulating it.
This is another of the points in the optimization portion of my

>And an e-mail based L.E.T.S system also seems to defeat the purpose.
>Rather than putting trading power in the hands of local people, it
>means people are dependent on having access to a technology, that,
>again functions best when controlled by centrally-focused power.
JCT: Just because people with computers can now use them to
register their transactions doesn't inhibit other people from using
the regular media of exchange offered by their initial systems. All an
Email L.E.T.S. does is permit transactions to be recorded in the
database by each individual rather than have to send a paper check to
a keyboard operator to input it. If your purpose is to add an extra
layer of bureaucracy in getting the information into the database,
then an Email L.E.T.S. which would permit each to do it ourselves
would certainly defeat that purpose. I can't imagine any other purpose
that being capable of each registering our own transactions on the
database could be defeating.
Though people connected to the Internet would benefit, if only
one person in some African village was connected, he could effect
international exchanges for everyone in his village who otherwise
still use paper or other tokens. These are not mutually exclusive
media. But it would make every person with an internet connection a
potential L.E.T.S. bank branch for their village. That is why an
Internet L.E.T.S. poses such a threat to the banking system as it
stands. Only they used to be able to handle such international
transactions. Soon, anyone with a computer will be able to.

>And, asking Bill Gates to do it? Now your proposing a system that
>depends on one megalomaniac monopolist techno-idealist.
JCT: The system does not depend on anyone to work though getting
it to the most people in the world the fastest could depend on one
computer industrialist. Admit it. Gates has the resources to get a
L.E.T.S. account to every Internet subscriber in the world. I say that
this will save the world from financial ruin. Should we shun saving
ourselves because of who we have to ask for help?

>Actually I like the fact that Bill Gates seems to be just giving a
>lot of his money away to causes he considers worthy. That's what we
>should ask rich people to do.... NOT to create more systems that
>they control and we depend on.
JCT: As I've said before, no one controls a L.E.T.S. It's a
simple poker chip system. When you play poker with your buddies, does
the fact one of them acts as banker disadvantage you in any way? No.
And I call taking from one person to give it to another "splashing in
the pool" when the problem is an imbalance created by the interest in
the pumphouse. The rich do not have enough total money to help settle
the total debts of the poor. Interest has made those debts exceed the
money available. We have to go after the programmed automatic
shortage, the cause, not compensate for the lack, the symptom.

>I hope you don't take this critical response to your proposal
>personally. I greatly admire people ho put their ideas out there in
>the world and try to make them happen. That's why I'm taking you
>seriously enough to respond. Originally I was going to CC this e-mail
>to everone on the list you sent it out to, but I thought it would be
>more respectful to you and them not to. Take care,
>Greg Dember, (Vashon, WA)
JCT: I never take offense at polite constructive criticism. And
since everyone can learn from the issues raised, I'll post this to my
list for everyone benefit from. Thanks for your concern and perhaps
you could help arrange a speaking engagement in Vashon while I'm in
Seattle so we have the chance to more fully deal with these issues.

>From: lin...@scn.org (Linda Ceriello)
>Subject: Re: TURMEL: West Coast L.E.T.S. Tour
>Vashon Island has an alternative currency group; we are researching
>and pondering the idea of turning our current service exchange/time
>bank system into a currency-based one.
JCT: One of the points in the portion of my presentation on
optimization of community currency deals with the myriad advantages of
a paper medium added to whatever other medium is being used. I'm proud
to say that many systems I've spoken to have quickly add high-velocity
paper to their media and glad to see you contemplating it too.

>We're a 20 minute ferry ride from the WTO protests (which I
>personally plan to attend!). I wonder if we should meet? Can you
>tell me more about what you do? Linda Ceriello
JCT: I would love to meet but would prefer the chance to make a
presentation on optimizing L.E.T.S. and global L.E.T.S. to your whole
group. I'll be in Seattle from Nov. 26 to Dec. 3 so there is plenty of
time to pop over to Vashon Island when necessary. I can point out that
the presentation got some rave reviews in Europe. See some English
translations at:

As for what I do, I graduated in Electrical Engineering but
specialized in the Mathematics of Gambling and have been a
professional gambler for 25 years which has permitted me the time and
funds to work on my "Abolish Interest Rates" Project via politics,
law and L.E.T.S. I think the best explanation of my mission is at:
http://www.cyberclass.net/turmel/greatcan.htm though my whole web site
deals with those efforts.
See you in Seattle and perhaps Vashon Island.

John C. "The Engineer" Turmel, Founder, Abolitionist Party of Canada
915-2045 Carling Ave., Ottawa, K2A 1G5, Tel/Fax: 613-728-2196
LETS Abolish Interest Rates http://www.cyberclass.net/turmel
For TURMEL topics http://www.egroups.com/group/turmel

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages