LETS is short for Local Exchange Trading Systems. Coined by British Michael Linton when living in a remote area in Canada, it is now estimated that some 2500 groups exist world-wide.
Any search on LETS will result in a large number of hits.
John Turmel has accumulated links to over 7000 systems world-wide in 54 countries:
The biggest Local Currency Story is this one:
Local Currency issued on Smartcards by Japanese Town
City’s Project mixes LOVE and Money. This
headline was published by the world’s largest daily newspaper, the Yomiuri
Shimbun on Jan. 22nd 2002 in Tokyo.
The full text says: “The city of Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, will
start experimental use of a local electronic currency in February, using plastic
cards with integrated circuit (IC) chips. It
will be the first electronic local currency system in Japan.
According to city officials, the first batch of IC cards will be given to 73,000 residents who have volunteered to participate in the project. Beginning in April, all other residents who apply will be given cards.
will be issued with a value of 10,000 monetary units called LOVE that can be
used like discount coupons at local stores.
can increase their LOVE points through volunteer social welfare activities,
garage sales or collection of recycled items, the officials said.
will apply for volunteer activities posted on the city government’s Web site
and, after completing the work, insert their cards into readers connected to the
city government’s computer.
points equivalent to the assigned value of the work will be transferred from
volunteer organizations to the cards via the host computer, the officials said.
readers will be set up at 1,100 locations all over the city.
With LOVE points, cardholders can get discounts from local shops where
the card readers are located or can purchase second hand items posted on the
city government’s Web site.
experiment was arranged after Yamato applied to the Economy,
Trade and Industry Ministry, which had asked local governments to
submit ideas on how to use IC cards, according to the officials.
The city expects the project to encourage communications among residents, promote volunteer activities and stimulate the local economy, they added.
would like to expand this service to include home shopping,” Mayor Kimiyasu
the context of globalisation, Yamato
demonstrates that the chronic and systemic shortage of money can be compensated:
Forum for Stable Currencies has been a place for debating the problems
with interest-bearing debt currencies since 1998.
Solutions have been presented along the principles of LETS (Local
Exchange Trade System) and commercial Barter companies.
Furthermore, victims of institutionalised white collar crime have
had opportunities to voice their grievances.
It is hoped that future debates will result in progressive developments
along the lines indicated by a Japanese city.