We began organizing Asheville LETS in August 2006 to empower local economic control & encourage local self sufficiency.
It was about a year after Hurricaine Katrina, when it became especially blatant that we couldn’t count on our government to bail us out in times of need.
Asheville LETS is a system to facilitate indirect trading of services, skills, & resources among members. Credits are issued by the community to benefit its members, not by a bank to make a profit.
This system is not for profit.
The point is to help us all save money for the things we can’t avoid spending cash on, to help our community connect , to share resources, to get to know each other & re-localize the economy, keeping more of our resources in the community where they can return to us.
By providing resources/svcs to another member, you earn credits in the system that can be spent with any other member. So I mow your lawn, you give me LETS credits & I spend some of them on another member’s old bicycle or getting my oil changed. I don’t have to need anything from you for us to make a trade. That’s where a lot of possibilities open up with this.
Money is just a means of exchange. Saying there is a shortage of money is like saying there’s a shortage of inches or feet. It’s just a measurement. Money is no longer backed by anything that exists.
Credits in the lets system also don’t equate to anything concrete & they’re not linked to the dollar so we’re not subject to the ups & downs of the dollar economy. LETS are backed by the diversity, integrity & skills of members…members of our Asheville community…money is backed by the integrity of our government…
Due to high costs of living & low wages many of us are now living in debt. We shouldn't have to depend on companies that profit from our debt. Again, this system is not for profit.
Asheville LETS allows us to provide for & receive from people we know & trust. We all benefit from our community being healthy, sheltered, fed, self sufficient. We’re not necessarily in competition for limited resources. & by keeping resources in the community, Asheville LETS reduces dependence on imports while boosting local quality of life.
The system also reduces waste by encouraging repair & recycling, rather than throwing stuff out; & builds trust between neighbors. Strengthened community provides true security: knowing we can obtain our basic necessities thru our own system even in times of economic stress & uncertainty.
Every account starts at 0. But you can start trading right away. There is no interest charged for having a negative account balance. It simply represents a commitment to provide to the community in the future.
We all have things we can offer each other – a ride to the airport, our child’s old toys, food from our garden, art we made, advice on buying a house, etc. Anything that you are good at or enjoy is a potential exchange. The only limitation is your ingenuity. LETS can help you earn credit for your under valued talents or explore a whole new field of work.
You can check the directory at www.ashevillelets.org to get a better idea of offers & wants as well as pricing as well as when the next orientation is which is how you can join.
Asheville LETS is open to anyone in the Asheville community who plans to hang out for a while. It’s member run by consensus & monthly organizing mtgs are open to all members input. This is a means of exchange you can have direct authority over…it’s been organized up til now completely by volunteers who have fronted the money for printing costs, voicemail, etc & ask members to contribute $10/yr to cover such costs.
Here’s a way we can enjoy more freedom and improve our quality of life.
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