Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I confess that it genuinely surprises me that you consider a Clearing Union approach 'baroque' in comparison, although it is more complex than a gift economy, I grant you.

In this example I'm finding it hard to imagine people checking their depreciating, loss-adjusted, baby-bank balances for suitable credits before picking up the phone.

Any scheme which needs a spreadsheet to decide whether or not someone can afford a babysitter is baroque, surely?


In some cultures trust exists and does not have to be supplemented, and in due course I hope that we will transition to such a gift economy. It seems to me from your apparent antagonism to any sort of rules basis for exchange, that this is your hope as well.

This is THE central issue here. In trust cultures, money is not necessary, and creates more problems than it solves.

In predatory cultures, money exists to facilitate predation - not to improve the common good, or increase trust and mutual benefit.

I'm not sure if we will transition to a gift economy, because for me, the existence of predation is the single most important political problem in all of history.

Given that finance has always been one of the primary tools of predation, second only to military force, I'm not yet convinced that any of your schemes address the problem honestly.

It's at this point you usually say that peer to peer finance routes around predators and makes them redundant. But I've yet to see any evidence of this happening, or any suggestions how this might put - for example - Goldman Sachs, Russian oligarchs, or oil speculators out of business.

I'm not surprised that LETS schemes create trust cultures - I'd certainly hope they would, and they'd be resilient enough to deal with the odd individual who acts with bad faith.

But there's a difference between that level of interchange, and what's usually called business, where predatory bad faith, attempted dominance of markets, customers and competitors, and assymetrical power relationships are all key features, not aberrations.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 16th, 2009 at 10:07:07 PM EST
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