Community Exchange News

Community Exchange News is the Newsletter of the Wellington Talent Exchange


  1. Welcome!!
  2. Where Do We Stand?
  3. REB working for dollars
  4. Add to REB and Multiply Our Reach
  5. The Dev-zone Event, and Opportunities to Build Our Exchange
  6. Reflection: The CES website not an easy portal for people to enter our exchange
  7. Our next Event
  8. Currencies for the 3rd Millennium - by Christoph Hench

    Repeated from the last newsletter:

  9. Any questions? Any doubts? Please contact me!
  10. The Dreaded Negative Balance!!

1. Welcome

Welcome to issue 3 of the Wellington Talent Exchange (WTE) newsletter. In this issue I again answer the question "Where do we stand?". Related to "Where do we stand?" is a piece about some change taking place in my circumstances, and how to make sure that we continue to grow the WTE. Again related, I have included part of a piece written by one of the key players in the whole Community Currency community (CC) in Aotearoa, Christoph Hensch, who is based in Christchurch. This is extracted from the newsletter of the wider CC community. (I have chosen not to send this on every month as I am concerned about overloading your inbox. If you would like to see it let me know and I will send it on.) Christoph's words are inspiring. I also reflect on the efficacy of the CES website as a channel through which people will want to join the exchange. I write briefly here too about our next event, and about the presentation I did for Dev-Zone. I repeat two pieces from last month's newsletter, one emphasizing again that I will always jump to your support if you have questions or queries about the exchange and how best to work with it, and the other, about getting started in the system.
Russell Bishop

2. Where Do We Stand?

The stats on the system show that trading to date has been T5 651. In August we traded to the value of T863. (In July it was T1 270 .) We now have 34 member accounts.

3. REB Working for Dollars

REB is me. (Excuse the acronym fanatic!) I have two involvements which are generating dollars for me. I have reluctantly sort dollar income. The margins are just too tight for Laura and myself and the children. There are, in fact, some necessities which are not being found. (I won't enter into discussion here about the definition of ' necessities'. This is an important question - just choosing not to tackle it now.) My dream was to growth the WTE fast enough so that I could start to buy in the system what I would normally buy for Dollars. This has happened a bit, but not enough. I still aim to see us reach the stage where all of us can buy for Talents a big chunk of what we would normally buy for Dollars.

I have a history of succeeding when resources are available and not so when they are not - no surprises there. I would though, like to have the capacity to push on when there is a shortage of money/resources. I find that my anxiety grows when there is a shortage, and I am not effective. I believe that with my family's basics covered (and maybe a nibble at some 'beyond basics') I will be more effective in taking us forward. So ... I am working with one of our members, for dollars, for now. The work is of the highest importance and I am very happy to play a role to grow such crucial activity. I am also working at Lollipop's Playland in Petone. This is drawing on my experience in working with children, and will challenge me to 'dig deep'. If I do it well I can make a real contribution to the fun and growth of a bunch of children.

4. Add to REB and Multiply Our Reach

Notwithstanding my confident "I will be more effective in taking us forward" above, I do want to invite you to consider stepping in beside me to accelerate our growth. We can reach out, initially to the 'low hanging fruit' (those who will naturally want to join us in constructing a system which runs, initially at least, in parallel with the wider system, and shows that people can have more control in their economic lives). We can 'multiply our reach' by talking to our natural allies, and then reach out to all who can benefit by participating with us. In the next item I talk about how quickly doors open to the WTE. Please consider stepping in to build on this. I hope the benefits for you and others will be great. As we grow the exchange will be able to pay for the work of development.

5. The Dev-zone Event, and Opportunities to Build Our Exchange

On the 24th September I addressed seven people at Dev-zone in Wellington (including one member of the exchange!). Three new members joined as a result of the event. My presentation was flawed. I spent too much time on the problems in the current money system and not enough on talking about the WTE. Despite this I left Dev-zone that day inspired and encouraged. People there were supportive and helpful, and also very in touch with the realities of the challenges we face in growing our exchange. Towards the end of the session people came forward with ideas for people we can talk to and bring into the exchange. Then, after the presentation, the top guy at Dev-zone, Terence Wood (I think they have a very 'flat' structure, there is nothing of the corporate CEO about Terence. Just very nice and very supportive and very committed) showed me around their website. I had looked at it before then but not realised how we could work with Dev-zone to tell people about what we are doing. Just through the contacts I made that day, and through the Dev-zone website, there are opportunities aplenty to act for the good of our exchange, and spread the impact of our efforts.

6. Reflection: The CES website not an easy portal for people to enter our exchange?

I am remembering today, that the 'lift off' of the Cape Town Talent Exchange took place when we gave ourselves a presence at a regular event which drew people naturally open to new ideas, and quite a number who had already heard of the concept of CC's. I am seeing now the significance of this: people joined up face-to-face, rather than on the site. I think that the site, welcoming as it is, and rich with valuable information as it is, is still proving to be a barrier for lots of people. I believe we need to find a way to connect in person with people who will want to join. If you have any thoughts about this I would be very pleased to hear from you about it all. (The 'CES' or the 'Community Exchange system' is the web-based system we operate on, created in 2003 in Cape Town and now in use in eight countries.)

7. Our Next Event

I am planning a combined Trading Event/Question and Answer Session/Social Event for the end of October. Unfortunately the venue of choice is not available, except on the Labour weekend. Laura and I may just still decide to just adapt our house for the event for the day. If you have any thoughts about venues please let me have those.

8. Currencies for the 3rd Millennium - by Christoph Hensch

Christoph is a key player, not only in the Community Currency (CC) community, but in the wider thrust to change how we run our economies. He is a board member of the organisation Living Economies. As such he is involved with the promotion of a range of ideas and activities designed to challenge the current economic orthodoxy. He is the key player in the CC group in Christchurch and The Plains. Another area of responsibility is running, with others, the overarching organisation for CC systems in Aotearoa, LETS Connect. Christoph has succeeded in creating a Life where he can spend most of his time on the issues he sees as most important. He has achieved what I have not been able to. (I should be talking with him about how best to make it happen for me some time in the future.) One of his functions is to publish a regular newsletter for the wider CC community. I have extracted the following from the July edition:

There have never been as many new local currency projects globally than during the last 10 years, they now number in the thousands. There is a worldwide trend and movement under way to reclaim the freedom to create financial tools for local economies and communities. What is needed in today's society? Recently released statistics show that New Zealand still sports a growing gap between the rich and the poor, and many other social indicators are worsening, too. Also we face never seen environmental challenges like climate change and peak oil. How do we expect to solve those problems with the same kind of economic tools (money system!) that was good for the industrial revolution, financing the world wars of the 20th century and the enslavement of the third world in a perpetual debt crisis?

Einstein said something to the effect that we can never solve problems with the same mindset that created them. The conventional interest charging debt money system has been instrumental in getting humanity where it is now - therefore a new paradigm of thinking is essential. P2P (peer to peer) applications and system's theory/thinking are new approaches becoming more and more popular recently. In both, interaction happens on a direct contact level between participants, without big institutions providing and controlling what is happening. The approach that LETS takes is 100% in keeping with those principles and it is an excellent model to provide local solutions to global problems. Yet, having a tool like CES (see comment from REB below) still allows us to undertake worldwide trading without being restricted to local exchange only.

REB comment: 'CES' or the 'Community Exchange system' is the web-based system we operate on, created in 2003 in Cape Town and now in use in eight countries.

Repeated from the last newsletter:

9. Any questions? Any doubts? Please contact me!

If you ever have any questions or doubts about any aspect of the WTE or the wider system, please do contact me and we can meet or chat on the phone or by email to find answers and deepen your understanding of the system and increase your confidence in using it.

10. The Dreaded Negative Balance!!

Here's an issue that troubles us because we are all committed to operating with real integrity. Nearly all new members in the CES believe that they should 'put something in' before they buy anything. When we started in Cape Town in 2003, we all had zero balances. Someone had to go into negative. I took this on and paid Tim to change the oil on my car. Since then I have been in and out of negative. Currently, I have a negative balance. I am fluctuating around a point. For now I am just happy to be active and stimulate the system. Those of us in negative balance are prompting our brothers and sisters in the system to spend. We too, up to a reasonable level, can continue to spend. The nature of 'a reasonable level' has been debated quite a bit. In Cape Town they are considering placing some limits on how far people can go into 'debt'. It's part of my job as administrator to just watch quietly to see if any person in our exchange is starting to go so far into negative that they may have trouble returning, at some stage, their balance to around zero. The whole approach here is that of a community of people who know each other, and will assist each other to the benefit of the whole community. The word 'empower' is now a bit overworked. It applies here though. We are empowering each other to serve the community.
All of this can obscure the most important point here: please do not hesitate to spend in the system, even if you have a negative or zero balance. Every time you spend, you stir energy into the system.

Wellington Talent Exchange Administration