Community Exchange News

Community Exchange News is the Newsletter of the Cape Town Talent Exchange


  1. CES wins contract with Australian government
  2. Talent Exchange market, Saturday 15 December
  3. CTTE Depots
  4. 'Buddy System' starts working
  5. Concentrate on the Giving, not the Getting
  6. NITE Exchange

Alternative sources

This Newsletter can also be read on the internet here and here.

1. CES Wins Contract with Australian Government

In September this year the CES was sent an Expression of Interest (EOI) by the Offices of Communities - Volunteering of the New South Wales Government in Australia to provide software to facilitate timebanking.

In collaboration with Jnana Australia, an international economic and political research and development consultancy, the CES submitted a proposal to provide timebanking services as requested. In the face of competition from other providers, CES won the contract and is now providing timebanking services to the Australian Government using the CES software.

The reason that was given for the choice of CES, ahead of the other contenders, was that CES has been tried and tested over the past ten years, already has a strong user base in Australia and has extensive experience of the Australian environment.

The new site is at and is already fully operational. Timebanking services are required to provide a means to reward the many thousands of volunteers already providing services to the public through the structures of the NSW government.

The software had to be adapted to accommodate the many hundreds of thousands of volunteers expected to be enrolled to the timebanking service.

This is a mighty boost for CES and a recognition that it is providing a solution in the realm of alternative exchange systems that is more advanced than any other.

2. CTTE Market Day

Join us this Saturday for the last Talent Exchange Market of 2012. It is already nearly full but we still have a few days to go. Lots of Christmas presents and lots of delicious food that gets better and better every month. Plus there will be some exciting new stalls.

Contact Liane urgently if you would like to hire a stall as the spaces are going fast.

See you all there!

Date & Time: Saturday 15 December 10:00-13:30
Venue: Novalis Ubuntu Institute, 39 Rosmead Ave, Wynberg
Costs: T30 per stall
Bookings: Liane Greeff, or 083 415 2365 or 021 709 0864

Sellers: Please bring along your own trading sheet: Click here to download.

3. CTTE Depots

Have you noticed the offerings for Talent Exchange depots? If not, look under the ‘Depots’ category on the Offerings page.

The purpose of the depots is to make it easier to trade, especially where the traders live far apart.

Often you see a good offering but the seller lives miles away on the other side of town. You feel that it is not worth it to make the long long trip through the traffic to get what you want. The same for sellers: you have a really good offering but no one contacts you because you are just too far away.

Apart from distance, there are other factors that make trade difficult. Sometimes the buyer is willing to make the trip, but only during the day when you are at work. Some sellers too, prefer not to have strangers coming to their homes.

The depots are meant to solve these problems.

If buyers consider you to be too far away then drop off your goods at a depot that is half way, or if someone else is travelling in the direction of the buyer they can leave your goods at a depot that is most convenient for the buyer.

The same thing if it is a problem of time coordination or you prefer not to have people coming to your home.

There are several depots so take advantage of them. There is no charge for using them. Just respect the depot's requirements for clear labelling, times and other conditions.

If you would like to become a depot please contact Admin. You can earn a monthly stipend for doing so.

4. CES Buddy System Implemented

The new feature, called the Buddy System, has recently been activated and you are invited to use it to earn Buddy Points. You do this by encouraging those whom you introduced to the Talent Exchange to increase their trade.

What is the Buddy system?

The CES Buddy System is a bit like the ‘loyalty programs’ used by many shops, airlines and other businesses to encourage you to use their services and remain loyal to them. They do this by awarding you ‘points’, ‘air miles’ or other incentives, which you can redeem to receive real rewards.

The CES’ Buddy system is slightly different in that it doesn’t reward you directly for trading, but it rewards you when those whom you introduced to the exchange engage in trade.

New members that you introduce to the exchange can nominate you as their >Buddy. In doing so, you in a sense become their “mentor” and if you help them to understand the exchange and get them trading you will be rewarded for this by earning Buddy Points. Those who have you as their Buddy are your Buds, because they are like new leaves or flowers waiting to unfurl!

When your Buds engage in trade you will score Buddy Points if they are the seller. These points accumulate in a separate account and can be redeemed (“cashed in”) at any time for Talents. In this way you can earn credits when those who have nominated you as their Buddy sell something.

How it works

If you encourage someone to join the Talent Exchange get them to name you when they are filling in the box on the application form that asks:

Who recommended you or how did you get to hear about the Community Exchange System?

That new member will then become one of your Buds and you will be their Buddy. The more people who name you as their Buddy the more Buds you will have, and hence the more Buddy Points you will earn when they engage in trade.

If you have introduced people to the exchange but they have not named you as their Buddy, ask them to do so, and you can name as your Buddy the person who introduced you to the exchange.

To name an existing member as your Buddy, log into your Talent Exchange account and click on the [My Record] button at the top. At the bottom right of your personal record you will see a My Buddy Points [View] button. Click on that and it will take you to a page that shows your Buddy Point position and various options.

To select a Buddy simply select the member whom you want to be your Buddy from the Select Buddy drop-down list. When selected, the name and account number of your Buddy will show.

Click on the My Buds [View] button to see a list of those who have named you as their Buddy (if any).

When you have scored Buddy Points you can redeem them on this same page. Simply enter the number of Points you wish to redeem in the Redeem Buddy Points textbox and click the [Redeem] button. The redeemed points will reflect in your statement of account.

5. Concentrate on the Giving, not the Getting

Are you one of those who joined the Talent Exchange with enthusiasm, sold a lot initially then stopped selling because you had earned “too many Talents” and couldn’t spend them?

Or are you one of those who joined the Talent Exchange and never sold or bought anything because you looked around and couldn’t see anything you wanted? Maybe you even looked through the offerings list before deciding what to offer or whether to offer anything at all.

While it is true that most of us value Rands more than Talents because we know we can get a wider range of goods and services with Rands, this situation only exists because most of us come to the Talent Exchange with the “what can I get?”  or "what's in it for me?" mentality that we bring from the money-based, consumerist economy where we have lived and worked all our lives.

This ‘economy’ is presented to us as a great big ‘shopping mall’ full of the most amazing ‘stuff’ that is there for the taking, provided we have the money to pay for it. We are never encouraged to think where this glittering display comes from. It is just there and if we want to gorge ourselves on it, all we need to concentrate on is how to get the money to afford it. For most of us that means getting a job. A ‘job’ is never seen as our ‘offering’ or contribution to society; it is a place where we earn the tickets that grant us entrance to the shopping extravaganza.

We are incessantly bombarded with advertisements about the good life and all the wonderful products that we should have to make our lives better and happier. We are even encouraged to believe that it is our civic duty to be good consumers so that the factories are buzzing and the shops are selling and everyone has a good job.

All this leaves us with a serious ‘getting’ bias, to such a degree that many people find it difficult to think what they can offer when they join the Talent Exchange. They have never been faced with the idea that you ‘pay’ for what you receive by giving or doing something for someone else. Money conceals that relationship. When you pay for something with money you feel that the transaction is complete. Money is swapped or bartered for goods and that’s it!

When we join the Talent Exchange we expect it to be a similar thing: a ‘marketplace’ full of ‘free’ goodies up for grabs. We look around and are disappointed because there is not so much ‘stuff’ there. When we see nothing that we want we are discouraged from offering anything ourselves, for we think “what’s the point of earning Talents if there is nothing to spend them on?”

The Talent Exchange is not a ‘shopping mall’ but a tool designed to facilitate exchange without using money. Users of the exchange advertise their offerings to give them access to others’ offerings, not to earn Talents. Talents are not money so everything really is ‘free’ in the Talent Exchange. Talents are just a measure that keep track of the position of each of us in the cycle of giving and receiving. Positive Talents are a measure of your claim against the community - you have given more than you have received - while negative ones represent your obligation to the community - you have received more than you have given and now need to balance that out by giving something back.

So if you want to see an Offerings List full of useful offerings, concentrate on what you can give, what you can offer that will be useful to others. Be blind to what others are offering and do not worry about what you will get. Between us all there is a bounty of useful offerings.

Waiting to see what others are going to offer before you make yours will only encourage them to to do the same. If we all concentrate on the giving, the offerings list will soon be overflowing with useful goods and services and you will never again hear anyone complaining that they can’t spend their Talents. ‘Giving’ adds to the exchange; ‘getting’ subtracts from it.

The same can be said for offerings with Rands, which are in a way a bit like no offerings for they are a sign of a lack of faith in the exchange. Again, if we all concentrate on the giving there will be no need for the Rands and the exchange will be a place where you know you will be rewarded for whatever you have given.

6. NITE Exchange

A new exchange group dedicated to accommodation has recently been started on the global CES server. It is called the NITE Exchange, where CES users can trade nights for nights. This will hopefully develop into a global accommodation network for CES users, allowing them to travel the world and be accommodated without having to use national currencies.

The ‘currency’, or unit of value, is also called a Nite. One Nite is equivalent to one basic night’s accommodation. Basic accommodation is defined as a couch for the night with no extras, such as bedding or food. All you get is a couch and a roof over your head. You bring your own sleeping bag and food, but it is up to the providers to decide what else you get!

There are several other ‘hospitality exchange’ sites like this on the Internet, such as:

CouchSurfing -
BeWelcome -
The Hospitality Club -
Tripping -

...however, what is being created here is a ‘hospitality exchange’ for CES travellers worldwide. This is part of the global Community Exchange Network and is meant exclusively for registered CES users.

As it is part of the Community Exchange System, the NITE Exchange operates like any other CES exchange. You do not have to be an accommodation provider to benefit from the accommodation advertised on the exchange. So long as you have offerings and are a responsible trader, you can benefit from the accommodation provided by others.

There is no restriction on the type of accommodation offerings that users may advertise: from a basic couch to a five-star hotel! However, the NITE exchange is not just for formal accommodation providers. Users can offer their own back rooms and couches in order to gain Nite credits, which they can then ‘spend’ by staying in other advertised accommodation.

How to advertise accommodation offerings on the NITE Exchange

If you would like to offer your couch or other type of accommodation, you can either join the NITE Exchange and enter your accommodation offerings directly on the Offerings List of the exchange, or you can add it to the NITE Exchange as a remote offerings from the Talent Exchange.

To enter a remote offering log into your CTTE account and follow these steps:

  1. Click [Offerings] button
  2. Click [Add New] button
  3. From the Add to drop-down list select NITE Exchange under International
  4. Select South Africa from the Category drop-down list and then proceed to fill in the details of your accommodation offering
  5. In the Brief title field indicate the type of offering and the location, e.g.
    Couch: Pinelands, Cape Town
    B&B: Fish Hoek, Cape Town
  6. In the Details field describe the accommodation, indicating what you get for the price. Your description should be meaningful for foreigners as well as locals
  7. Ensure that Rates are in ‘Nites’, not Talents (see below)
  8. Try to avoid Rands, but if you must then the Rand component should not be larger than the Nite component
  9. Click [Add Offering] button

Pricing must be in Nite units, not in Talents, because members of other exchanges won’t understand Talents, in the same way as you won’t understand their ‘currencies’.

In order to make it easier to price your accommodation offering, take what you would normally charge for the accommodation in Talents and then convert it to Nites using the conversion calculator on the [Information] page. Thus one night of accommodation in full bed and breakfast style might be 2 or 3 Nites; five star accommodation might be 10 Nites or more!

Currently 1 Nite converts into 175 Talents, so if you are offering a bit more, such as a bed with sheets and then breakfast, you might charge 2 Nites.

After the visitor has left, you will debit the visitor in Nites if you are a member of the NITE Exchange, or in Talents at the equivalent rate of Nites that you advertised (e.g. if you advertised your offering at 2 Nites, you would debit the visitor T350).

How to see the advertised accommodation

You can view the NITE offerings by going to the Offerings page and selecting Country: International and Exchange: NITE Exchange. This lists all the countries where there are CES exchanges. In time, we are hoping, there will be accommodation in all countries.

The NITE Exchange has also been made one of the default exchanges to view in CTTE, which means that you will see all of the latest NITE accommodation offerings directly in the CTTE offerings lists.

Essential Reading and Viewing

  1. Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
  2. An interview with Charles Eisenstein: “Something in your heart knows that this is what life is supposed to be about
  3. Doing It Ourselves - to get through the economic, resources and environmental crises and build a better world
  4. The P2P Mode of Production - an Indiano Manifesto
  5. Reclaiming the Credit Commons - Towards a Butterfly Society. By Thomas H. Greco, Jr.
  6. Will we ever see a world without money? - By Thomas H. Greco, Jr.