As I mentioned on the About page, in theory anyone can print a note promising an hour of their time to the bearer. This scrip would only have value if others accepted it.
This “hours model” proposes a loose network of issuers who recognise and accept eachothers scrip, subject to a set of guidelines. These guidelines would ensure the system was sustainable.
I believe a set of guidelines in this system would need to cover:
1. The number of hours an participant may issue.
The value of the scrip lies in the fact that it is redeemable and accepted. To ensure that it is redeemable, participants would need to limit themselves to only issuing the scrip they can reasonably redeem.
2. Commitment to accept other participants scrip
The next element is acceptance. Any person joining this network would need to be prepared to accept the scrip of other participants. If I have a garage sale and accept payment in hours, it shouldn’t matter if those hours were issued by Ali, Sue or Bob.
3. Reporting requirements for issuers.
A large part of any LETS like system is trust. To build trust there would have to be clear, accurate and public records. Each participant would need to keep track of what scrip they issue, it’s value, when (if) it expires, and when it has been redeemed. People holding scrip would need to be able to access these records.
4. Nature of the promise.
People holding vouchers need to know what they are good for. The guidelines should include a general outline of what the participants agree is “reasonable” to do for someone who seeks to redeem a voucher.
I have noted on the front page that the vouchers I have issued are for my labour power, and do not cover the costs of deploying my labour or any tools or consumables I might need whilst doing things for you.
It should also be noted that on the vouchers are time limited. I think this is crucial to making the system work. I hope that by having an expiry date, people will be encouraged to use rather than hoard vouchers. It will also free participants up from ongoing obligation, especially on vouchers that will never be redeemed for whatever reason.
5. Decision making and dispute resolution.
The decision making process should involve the whole network, prefferably on a concensus basis. There would also need to be a process to cease honouring and withdraw from circulation the scrip of anyone who has ceased honouring their promises for whatever reason.
This entire setup should be as absolutely simple and as bare bones as possible! If it becomes overly controlled, it will lose the key advantage I reckon it might have over a traditional LETS approach.