Community Exchange News

Community Exchange News is the Newsletter of the Cape Town group of the SANE Community Exchange System


The Talent Exchange - where your wealth is your talent

Administration: Transaction Levy introduced

On 15 May the long talked-about Transaction Levy came into affect, replacing the Donation System that has been in effect up to now. The levy was introduced to secure a definite and stable revenue for the CES Administration and as your contribution to the maintenance and development of the CES.

Previously donations were optional and because of this many account holders failed to make donations when entering their trades. This both reduced the income of the Administration and left those making donations with a feeling of unfairness.

The new transaction levy automatically deducts four per cent of the value of transactions from the accounts of both the seller and the buyer. From the seller's point of view the contribution rate has been reduced from the 10 per cent requested before, to the new rate of four per cent. Previously the seller contributed the full donation while the buyer was not required to contribute anything. The levy is now shared by both parties to a transaction.

The transaction levy is based on the TEAL concept (Total Economic Activity Levy) which certain groups are trying to persuade the government to adopt as a new taxation system. The beauty of TEAL is that it is easy, automatic, immediate, transparent, fair and progressive. Instead of a fixed membership fee, those who use the CES more will contribute more. This applies to both buyers and sellers.

By keeping the levy rate as low as possible, we are hoping that members will not view the levy as a disincentive to trade. As the CES grows we are hoping that the levy rate will decline in direct proportion to the number of traders. We have set the rate at four per cent initially as we consider this fair and sufficient at the present stage of development.

Levies become revenue for the CES Administration, which needs funds to promote, maintain and develop the system. Every Talent derived from the levies will be ploughed back into the system, stimulating trade and benefitting all.

How it works

When a transaction is entered by a seller (e.g. T100), the system calculates four per cent of the amount entered (e.g. T4). This becomes the levy. The amount entered by the seller is recorded as the value of the trade, but four per cent of the value is deducted from the seller's balance, effectively reducing the entered amount by four per cent (e.g. to T96). The buyer's balance is debited by the same amount (e.g. T100) as well as by the levy (e.g. T4). This effectively increases the price for the buyer by four per cent (i.e. the buyer is debited by -T104 in our example).

T4 from the seller and T4 from the buyer - a total of T8 - goes to the Administration. The levy does not go immediately into the Administration account but into a new account we have called "The Talentry". This word was derived from the words 'talents' 'pantry', 'treasury', 'armoury' etc. It is meant to convey the notion of a money box, piggy bank or storage place where the levies are held until required by the Administration. The Talentry account is not an 'open' one in the same sense as the Administration account because there is nothing to see. It will simply be a staging account where the levies will go until required by the Administration. Periodically the Administrator will transfer funds from the Talentry to the Administration Account.

The amount held in the Talentry and the amounts transferred will be open for all to see. The amounts are visible from the 'Member Balances' page. The Talentry itself will never 'sell' anything for it derives its income from the levies and will never 'buy' anything as its only 'expenditure' will be transfers to the Administration account. It will be the Administration that 'spends' the levies in the form of purchasing goods and services from CES members. The Administration will in effect be recirculating the Talents it has gained through the levies, ultimately benefiting all members.

Events: Talent Exchange Market Day, Saturday 22 May 2004

You may remember that our first Market Day took place at Community House in January this year. In May we return to this venue. As always we hope you will join us at our Market Day for food and some light entertainment and lots and lots of trading.

At the Market Day we will again be demonstrating how to use the system. If you don't feel too confident about using the system our demo will ease your discomfort and really launch you as a Talent trader.

People have found that our four Market Days this year have opened the doors to interesting and sometimes very profitable working relationships and friendships. We would like you to benefit (or benefit again!! if you were present at the earlier events) by getting to know others who would like to trade with you on the system.

Community House is being spruced up by its manager and staff. It is easy to find at 41 Salt River Road, Salt River.

If you would like to book a table or room at Community House, or find out anything more about the event, contact Russell Bishop on 021 447 7312 or 072 742 5401.

If anyone has any suggestions about venues for future Market Days, please contact the market organiser at markets{at}

Site statistics: April sees trading downswing

Cape Town

April saw a downward trend in trading due to the fact that there was no trading event in the month. This points out to us the central weakness of the CES: the inconvenience factor. Trading in April was less than half of what it was in March, simply because there was no venue where people could come and trade. However, May should be a bumper month as there will be two trading events during the month.

At the end of April 2004:

Sales 2003/2004:

Month Sales Talents Total
February3 295.00 295.00
March8 394.00 689.00
April9 1,768.00 2,457.00
May21 2,802.02 5,259.02
June80 6,091.82 11,350.84
July113 10,493.65 21,844.49
August194 19,949.01 41,793.50
September263 26,404.88 68,198.38
October179 35,284.47 103,482.85
November151 18,504.75 121,987.60
December91 10,601.50 132,589.10
January316 26,223.62 158,812.72
February269 27,392.60 186,205.32
March634 37,249.23 223,454.55
April204 15,041.29 238,495.84
Total2,535 238,495.84  

Web Site: New Features

This month sees many small but significant improvements to the CES web site. The most significant is the new transaction levy system. This required a complete re-writing of the 'guts' of the transaction software. With it a number of practical and cosmetic changes have been introduced.

Selective e-mail control

Up to now if you wanted to control email from the CES you only had the option to have it on or off. Off meant that you received nothing at all and so were kept completely in the dark about the CES. Now it is possible to selectively switch on or off Lists, Updates and Community Exchange News (this!). Go to your personal profile (click the [My Record] button) and choose what you want to receive and what you don't.

Offering keywords

When you add new offerings it is now possible to include search keywords. A new keyword field on the 'Add New Offering' form allows you to add words that you don't want to include in the text of the advertisment, but which others might use to find your offering. For example, you might be offering art lessons but don't want to include everything to do with the kind of art you are offering in the body of the advert. Instead you can add keywords that people might use to search for art lessons, such as 'oils', 'pastels', 'water paints', 'canvas' etc.

Tip: Correcting transaction errors

If you make a mistake while entering a transaction, do not panic as it can easily be corrected. From the home page of your account click on '4. My Statement of Account'. This will list all your sales and purchases. The list is sorted by date, so your latest entries will be at the bottom. For 10 days all sales are editable. Click on the sale description and you will be taken to a form where you can edit the amount and description. You can also delete the trade if it is being cancelled.

When you adjust the price the levy amount will be adjusted up or down, in exact proportion; if you delete the record the levy will be negated too.

You can also correct errors by getting the buyer to do a counter-trade, but that way you will be deducted additional levy.