What Does Local Currency Do?

Local currency enriches everyone within the network by connecting people to other people. It allows individuals to utilise talents which may be unrewarded by the cash economy. It builds community by putting a human face on our economic transactions. It is by its very nature local, and thus it promotes a sense of place and is responsive to the people and the needs of this unique corner of the globe.

Local currencies are based either on a unit of time, referred to as an 'hour' or on a unit of currency roughly equivalent to the national currency, named to reflect the locality. In Bath LETS we trade in olivers. When using a named currency, some groups set a standard rate per hour, others may recommend a standard rate for "when members want to trade on an equal basis" but otherwise leave it to members' preference.

It also needs to be recognized that overhead costs for some services can be substantial. Costs such as office rental, travel, research, support personnel, and insurance can make it necessary for someone to charge much higher than the standard rate. We encourage members to include overhead in the rates they charge, and to just try to be fair and reasonable in their analysis of those costs. Sometimes this may mean that a member will charge partly in local currency and partly in national currency (pounds) to cover overhead.

While Bath LETS is in the process of revival, this question has been left for for future debate, and an opportunity will be provided for members to make their views known as soon as possible. Meanwhile, it is a good idea to ask about someone's rates before making an exchange.

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