Community Exchange News

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


  1. Administration: Bad traders
  2. Statistics: Growth of the Talent Exchange
  3. CTTE Group statistics: May 2005
  4. Web Site: New features
  5. Tip: Checking balances
  6. Theory: Credit
  7. Administration: Local Area Co-ordinators

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The Talent Exchange — where your wealth is your talent

Editorial: Bad Traders

At the past two markets we have been 'invaded' by members who arrive on time and scoop up all goods for sale before most of the regular traders arrive. Stallholders get overwhelmed with buyers who clear them out even before they have unpacked all their wares. Many of these buyers are people who have negative balances and appear to be giving very little back. Some stallholders have reported items being stolen and others have reported people giving fictitious account numbers and names. This is not in keeping with the spirit of the Talent Exchange, where there is no reason to steal if you can just take and go into debit.

In order to prevent this buyers will in future have to check in at markets before they can purchase goods. If their accounts show that they are seriously in debit or have not sold anything since the previous month they will not be able to participate. We will also have to implement a system of ID cards. The ID card will give the member's details and they will have to present it to the stallholder who will record the details on the trading sheet. Only then will the buyer be able to sign the trading sheet.

There are a number of chronic 'debtors' on the system who are running up very large negative balances. Sellers are urged to check out potential buyers before agreeing to sell things to them. It is easy to look up someone's balance (see below), and if you see it is deeply in the red you must refuse to sell to them. While it makes no apparent difference to you as a seller if the person is in the red, it does diminish the value of your Talents as it means that such people are effectively stealing from the system, and that affects everyone.

Statistics: Growth of the Talent Exchange

There are now (19 June 2005) 2,011 members of the Talent Exchange nationwide (+ internationally!). There are 19 separate groups. The Cape Town group is the largest with 1,195 members. The following table shows the growth of the Cape Town group. Although the Talent Exchange officially started in February 2003, the first members were signed up in December 2002.

Year Members Trades Talents
2002 10    
2003 368 1112 132589.10
2004 577 4782 596726.24
2005 240 1959 367206.41
Total 1195 7853


* As at 19 June 2005

CTTE Group statistics: May 2005

There was a slight dip in the trading figures for May but there was still a respectable T73,705.24 turnover. The highlight of the month was the passing of the T1,000,000 milestone. This was reached on 11 May and now we are well on our way to the second million and beyond!

At the end of May 2005:

Trader Statistics:

Total members: 1168 Total traders: 678
% of members who have traded: 58.05 % of members who have not traded: 41.95
Total sellers: 394 Seller/buyer ratio: 0.63
% of members who have sold: 33.73 % of traders who have sold: 58.11
# of sellers who have bought 341 # of sellers who have not bought: 53
Total buyers: 625 Buyer/seller ratio: 1.59
% of members who have bought: 53.51 % of traders who have bought: 92.18
# of buyers who have sold: 341 # of buyers who have not sold: 284
Trading Statistics
Total # of sales: 7599 Total # of purchases: 7599
Total income: 1054581.15 Total expenditure: 1054581.15
Income/expenditure less levies: 1000638.11 Overall balance: 0.00
Talentry Statistics (from 15 May)
Total revenue: 53943.04 Transferred to Admin: 48742.58
# of levy payments: 4878 Current Talentry balance: 5200.46

Member statistics:

Individuals: 974
Families: 47
Companies: 69
Organisations: 42
Virtuals: 18
Public: 16
Administrators: 1
Total: 1168

Trading statistics:

Month-Year Trades Talents Average Levy Total (- levy) Total (+ levy)
February 2003 3 295.00 98.33 0.00 295.00 295.00
March 2003 8 394.00 49.25 0.00 689.00 689.00
April 2003 9 1768.00 196.44 0.00 2457.00 2457.00
May 2003 21 2802.02 133.43 0.00 5259.02 5259.02
June 2003 80 6091.82 76.15 0.00 11350.84 11350.84
July 2003 113 10493.65 92.86 0.00 21844.49 21844.49
August 2003 194 19949.01 102.83 0.00 41793.50 41793.50
September 2003 263 26404.88 100.40 0.00 68198.38 68198.38
October 2003 179 35284.47 197.12 0.00 103482.85 103482.85
November 2003 151 18504.75 122.55 0.00 121987.60 121987.60
December 2003 91 10601.50 116.50 0.00 132589.10 132589.10
January 2004 316 26223.62 82.99 0.00 158812.72 158812.72
February 2004 269 27392.60 101.83 0.00 186205.32 186205.32
March 2004 634 37249.23 58.75 0.00 223454.55 223454.55
April 2004 204 15041.29 73.73 0.00 238495.84 238495.84
May 2004 464 40575.73 84.34 1443.84 277627.73 279071.57
June 2004 149 29748.50 184.87 2203.60 305172.63 308820.07
July 2004 98 42439.85 404.09 2839.16 344773.32 351259.92
August 2004 184 42674.52 215.70 2984.96 384462.88 393934.44
September 2004 522 58561.65 104.30 4116.94 438907.59 452496.09
October 2004 638 85618.02 124.75 6025.96 518499.65 538114.11
November 2004 706 100041.54 131.84 6962.18 611579.01 638155.65
December 2004 598 91159.69 141.99 6248.20 696490.50 729315.34
January 2005 422 65470.98 144.75 4386.88 757574.60 794786.32
February 2005 178 53361.10 279.40 3627.72 807307.98 848147.42
March 2005 352 51718.68 136.81 3561.50 855465.16 899866.10
April 2005 224 79730.01 336.71 4306.04 930889.13 979596.11
May 2005 529 73705.24 129.61 5141.26 999453.11 1053301.35
Total: 7601 T1054581.15 T138.74 T53943.04    
Excluding levy: T1000638.11 T131.65  

Web Site: New features

A number of new features have been added to the web site this month and one new feature is being added that is likely to have a major impact in the way that the Talent Exchange works.

Forgotten your account number?

Many people forget their passwords but those are easy enough to recover by clicking on "Forgotten your password?" at the bottom of the CES home page. Some people also forget their account numbers and those are not so easy to recover unless you can get someone else to look it up for you. In most instances people write to the Administrator asking for their details to be sent again.

Now there is an easy way for you to remember your account number, and that is by forgetting it and letting the system remember it for you! A new feature on the login page ( allows you to get your computer to remember your account number. At the bottom where you log in you can tick the "Remember me?" checkbox. This will save your account number on your computer so that the next time you log in it will be already be filled in for you. This DOES NOT remember your password so it is quite safe to use this feature. If you forget your password then at least you have your account number and you can retrieve your password.

Upload pictures of your offerings

It is now possible to upload photographs of your offerings so that they appear in the offerings list. This adds a lot more life to the site and immediately draws the attention of potential buyers of your wares.

To use this feature click on the [Offerings] button and then on the [Add Offering] button. At the bottom of the Add New Offering form you can browse for the picture of your offering and attach it to the offering. It will be uploaded to the site when you press the [Add Offering] button.

Obviously you first need to have a digital photograph of your offering. Only JPG, GIF and PNG image formats are acceptable and the image must be no higher than 100 pixels or not more than 10K in size. If the image is larger than this it simply won't show. Most digital cameras take huge pictures that are way to big for this purpose and so have to be resized before being uploaded. There are many programs available for resizing images. Your digital camera probably came with one. A good freeware program is IrfanView, which is available from most download sites. A good place to look for it is

Updating your offerings

We are soon going to delete all offerings older than the start of this year. This will hopefully clean out a lot of the dead wood.

It is now very simple to update your offerings so that they will remain on the offerings list. 'Updating' does not mean that you have to amend your offerings, it just means changing the timestamp to the current date. When you update your offerings they will immediately appear in the 'Latest Offerings' list and remain near the top of the category list. Old offerings never get seen because they sink deep down to the bottom of the lists on which they appear, where no one sees them. By frequently updating them you will be sure that regular visitors to the site will see them, and so your custom will increase.

To update all your offerings in one go, click on the [My Record] button, and then below your personal record click on the 'My offerings: [View/Edit]' button. This will list all your offerings showing when they were added to the list and when they were last updated. To update them tick each offering in the 'Update' column that you want to update, then click on the update icon on the green bar at the bottom of the column. This will change the datestamp of the offerings to the current date.

Members of other groups

Up to now it has been difficult to see the membership of other groups. This could only be done through one of the drop-down lists, such as on the transaction entry form.

Now it is possible to obtain full details of all members in any of the other 18 groups. To do so click on the [Members] button. Then select a group from the 'Groups' drop-down list. This will load the membership information of the group requested. You may then look for a member in any of the many ways that you would look for a member in your own group. You can get full information about the person, including offerings, wants and trading position.

Planned feature: Currency conversion

An important new feature will soon be added to the site. This will allow you to trade with Rands as if they were Talents!

How will this work?

You will be able to convert Rands into Talents in two ways. The first way will simply be by purchasing Talents with your Rands. The Rands will be deposited in a regular bank account belonging to your group of the Talent Exchange. The Rands deposited will appear as Talents in your Talent Exchange account. The second way will be much the same except that you will be able to reclaim the Rands if your Talent account is in the positive.

You might ask why anyone would go for the first option. There might be those who wish to leave the system but settle their negative accounts before they do so. They could bring their balance back to zero by offering Rands to the system. Then there might be those who find it hard to earn Talents but who have plenty of Rands. By purchasing Talents they could participate in the Talent Exchange. There might also be people who want to avail themselves of services advertised on the Talent Exchange rather than finding the same in the Rand economy. A quick way to do this would be to purchase Talents and so be in a position to make use of the offering they desire. People could of course pay Rands directly but doing so would place them outside the Talent Exchange. The Rands in the Talent Exchange bank account would be spent back into the system by providing goods and services not yet available in the Talent Exchange. They could also be used by the Administration for advancing the system. All expenditure would be visible through access to the Administration's public statement of account.

With regard to the second option, you will maintain a 'Rand balance'. From this Rand balance you will be able to transfer Rands to others' accounts. You might do this when the seller is asking for part payment in Rands. No physical Rands will move around, only the Rand balances of members will be adjusted. This will mean that the amount of Rands you can withdraw from the system will go up and down. You will only be able to withdraw as many Rands as your balance allows, provided your Talent balance is in the black and equal to or greater than your Rand balance.

This will add a whole new dimension to trading on the Talent Exchange. It will hopefully make available many goods and services currently not available. It will mean that some or all of your Talents are backed by Rands. It will also mean a breaking down of the barrier that currently exists between the Rand and Talent economies and so, hopefully, be more attractive to businesses and individuals addicted to Rands. Our ultimate hope is that it will demonstrate to such people the superiority of Talents when they come to realise that Rands are not a 'thing' but just an accounting concept like Talents.

Tip: Checking Balances

Our editorial this month requests that you check out the balances of your buyers before you agree to trade with them. Collectively we must ensure that the 'chronic debtors' are not permitted to go further into debit. Someone who only buys and gives nothing in return is effectively stealing from the rest of us.

There are a number of ways to check out someone's balance and it is very easy to do. On any list where you find the member's name, you can click on the name and call up their personal profile. At the bottom of the profile is a button 'View trading position: [Go]'. Click on this and you will be able to see their current balance. This also gives the number of sales and purchases of the member. On the member profile you can also see when they joined the Talent Exchange and the last time they accessed their account. If you see that the member joined a long time ago and has never accessed their account or accessed it a long time ago, you can be sure that they are not a regular trader.

The easiest way to find a member is to click on the [Members] button. This allows you to find the member in a number of different ways. You can find the name on the drop-down list or search by account number or name.

Theory: Credit

What is credit? Most of us will answer this in three ways: it is getting something and then paying for it later ("I didn't have enough money but the shop gave me credit"); it is borrowing money to pay for something we can't afford ("I got R100,000 credit to buy the car"); it is what a shop gives you if they don't want to give you money ("The shop gave me credit when I returned the faulty goods").

Credit is one of those words with multiple meanings. It can even mean its opposite! ("The credit I received from the bank appeared as a -R10,000 debit in my account" or "My debit card credited the shop but debited my account that was in credit because of the credit from the bank, which amounted to my biggest debit")

Let's not get confused with all these multifarious meanings of the word credit. Let's just consider credit as in the credit you get from a bank when you want to buy something expensive that you can't afford right now. Let's consider, for example, what happens when you ask for credit (a 'loan') to build a new house .

The bank would have you believe that the money they lend you comes from their other customers' savings accounts, that they are lending you money that is already in existence. If this was the case you would expect those savings accounts to be reduced in order that your account can be increased, but in reality none of those savings accounts are altered in any way. All that happens is that your account goes up and, hey presto, the total amount of money making up the bank's liabilities (i.e. all they money they owe their customers) goes up. So too do the bank's assets in the form of the 'loan' you receive. The books balance!

Bank credit is created in this totally fraudulent way. There is no difference between this 'money' and notes printed by a counterfeiter. Both of them are fake money issued into the money stream and both of them dilute that stream because they add no extra value to the social product. Apart from a small amount of cash deposited at the Reserve Bank, there is nothing backing the 'loan' granted to you by the bank. It consists of nothing more than a ledger entry in an accounting program on a computer. Nothing of substance or value is loaned to you whatsoever. Yet the bank, on the basis of the 'loan' that they generated out of fresh air, can lay claim to your hard assets should you fail to miss a few installments.

The 'loan' you receive from the bank is no more credit than the 'loan' is a loan. Both are purely figurative. Real credit is receiving something of substance and value before you have delivered back to society something of equal value. It is the work put into your house by bricklayers, carpenters, electricians and plumbers before you have delivered value doing what you do for others. As has been said many times before: only goods and services can pay for goods and services.

The bank's 'credit' is not something of substance and value, it is simply an authorisation for you to issue money by writing cheques against the 'loan'. When the cheques are accepted by the builders new money is created. That money circulates in the economy and when you become a seller you are able to recapture some of it and so eventually extinguish the 'loan'. On capturing an amount equal to the principal sum your 'loan' is extinguished, but that is not the end of the story. You still have to pay the interest, which after twenty years will be two or three times the amount of the original 'loan'. So simply through manipulating the figures that represent your account on their computer, the bank can not only 'repossess' your assets but it secures a long-term relationship with you where you hand over the fruits of your labour for many years after you have paid off the 'loan'. This is how wealth is transferred to the already wealthy.

How would credit be different in the Talent Exchange?

The Talent Exchange is known as a mutual credit trading system. This means that every member, when acting as a seller, grants credit to their buyers. This is real credit. The numbers on the computer come after the granting of the credit and simply record the amount of the credit. The numbers are not the credit, as the banks would have us believe when they grant their kind of 'credit'.

You could get a house built on the Talent Exchange and the building of it would be the credit you receive. You would extinguish that credit by giving back to the community of Talent Exchangers goods and services to the value of what you received from the builders. There would of course need to be some kind of 'creditworthiness' check to ensure that you are in a position to be able to 'pay' for the house. If you did not fulfill your obligations then you would be ripping off the entire community. As there would be no interest to pay your house would be paid off in half or a third of the time it would take using bank 'credit'. No parasitic class of 'financiers' would be sucking your blood for years and years!

Administration: Local Area Co-ordinators

The following is the current list of CTTE Local Area Co-ordinators or 'branches' of the Cape Town Talent Exchange. If you have a problem accessing your account, do not have regular access to a computer or just hate the internet, then contact your nearest co-ordinator who will help you interface with the Talent Exchange. Co-ordinators will provide you with everything you need to participate, as well as enter your trades for you. We hope to 'recruit' co-ordinators in the sub-areas not listed below. If you would like to assist please write to the Administrator at the address at the bottom of this Newsletter.

# A/C # Name Sub-Area Suburb Tel (h) Tel (w) Cell E-mail
1 SANE0222 Marco Bezzoli Atlantic Green Point 021 447 8675 082 957 8819 marco.arch\at/
2 SANE0043 Raymond Mcinga Cape Flats Lost City 073 630 1403 raymond\at/
3 SANE0349 Iain Macdonald City Bowl Gardens 021 462 6755 021 461 8880 072 327 2840 iain-intuition\at/
4 SANE0635 Lara Pietersen City Bowl V&A Waterfront 082 726 6957 lar\at/
5 SANE0554 Occulus City Bowl Woodstock 082 900 7993 021 426 2707 082 900 7993 occulus\at/
6 SANE0564 James Baxendale Constantiaberg Constantia 021 794 4264 021 794 4264 082 903 3975 Bax1a\at/
7 SANE0435 Dawn Pilatowicz Constantiaberg Marina da Gama 021 788 8357 021 788 1528 083 226 8250 dawn\at/
8 SANE0485 Liza Johnson Durbanville Durbanville 072 234 9595 vrcptadm\at/
9 SANE0448 Jeremy & Jacqui Wakeford Hout Bay Hout Bay 021 790 8558 021 650 2982 083 414 7393 jwakeford\at/
10 SANE0966 Aubrey Dampies Delft Delft 021 954 1613 084 251 1835 adampies\at/
11 SANE0146 Angie Whitehead Northern Suburbs Parow 021 939 0467 021 937 1940 072 242 4334 angie.whitehead\at/
12 SANE0009 Karen Jordi South Peninsula Glencairn to Noordhoek 072 387 5661 jordik\at/
13 SANE0292 Elfi Tomlinson South Peninsula Kalk Bay 021 788 7842 021 788 7842 083 703 3878 elfitom\at/
14 SANE0127 Debbie Bub South Peninsula Kommetjie 021 785 4664 deb-bub\at/
15 SANE0010 Beau Horgan South Peninsula Noordhoek 021 789 2494 021 789 2494 beau\at/
16 SANE0098 Heidi-Jayne Hawkins South Peninsula Welcome Glen 021 650 2442 084 951 5535 hhawkins\at/
17 SANE0046 Vicky Richter Southern Suburbs Kenwyn 021 761 2256 021 797 3660 073 168 4748 vicky\at/
18 SANE0035 Unwembi Southern Suburbs Newlands 021 683 4515 ces\at/
19 SANE0022 Len Stern Southern Suburbs Rondebosch 021 689 4239 lenstern\at/
20 SANE0002 Tim Jenkin Southern Suburbs Rosebank 021 685 4741 021 683 4515 083 354 9374 tim\at/
21 SANE0534 Kim Fourie Tableview Ysterplaat 021 510 5261 021 534 0460 083 993 4580 kim.fourie\at/


Talent Exchange User Guide

  • Do you wish you knew how to update and delete your offerings and wants?
  • Do you wish you knew how to delete an incorrect transaction that you have entered?
  • Do you wish you knew how to...?

All the answers are available right from your account on the CES web site.

Download the Talent Exchange User Guide. To do so, access your account on the CES web site at or go directly to and download one of the printable versions of the User Guide. You can also view the HTML version on the screen. If you would like to purchase a paper version (for Talents) look under 'CES Services' in the Offerings List to see who you can get it from. Your local area co-ordinator should also be able to provide you with a copy.