Many join the Community Exchange System (CES) because they find it a cute idea: people exchanging things without using money. Often the CES is seen as a “barter system” because no money is involved in “getting stuff” and we “pay” for things by giving or doing something for someone else. In other words, it has limited utility and is just a little bit of fun on the banks of the mainstream.

It is the common belief that our current world is shaped by “capitalism”. Private ownership of the means of production results in the system of society that we experience today. Digging deeper, we discover that “capitalism” (the rule of “capital” or money) is shaped not so much by who owns the means of production but by who controls the means of exchange.

This is generally not seen because most believe that money is one of the constants of the universe, a baseline that can’t be changed and so can be safely ignored. The shape of our societies is said to be the product of other factors, such as ownership, politics, the relative strengths of different classes etc.

Exchange is a property of life and most of it takes place without the need for an exchange medium (like money). When an exchange medium is introduced (usually as a means to control exchange), exchanging for the medium takes precedence over exchanging for what the exchange medium can be exchanged for. This extra step introduces the notion that to live we need to devote our lives to obtaining the medium. Everyone chasing after money (the exchange system controlled by the few) is what shapes our societies.

CES is an attempt to introduce a mediumless exchange system, that is, one that has the same utility as money but without the need to chase after money. In other words, it is an exchange system controlled by its users and not by institutions that benefit off our natural need to exchange.