Community Exchange System

The CES is an international trading network with exchanges in many countries. Credits earned in one exchange can be spent in another, or if you are visiting another area you can trade with local CES traders. New exchanges are starting in new areas all the time, and existing ones are growing steadily

The Community Exchange System (CES) "Community Exchange System" is a system of community-based exchange that provides the means for its users to exchange their goods and services, both locally and remotely. It could also be described as a global network of complementary trade exchange-running out of money.

Our social currency has no physical representation (notes or similar). The social currency exchanges are done through electronic procedures through a web interface where each user has a self social currency.

Thus what is at stake, given the existence of the SEL is concerning the legitimacy of the ways to produce, evaluate and redistribute the wealth of a society. In a context of social insecurity and attacks increasingly open to labor law (ie the security of people, because job loss is losing more than work)

The currency is electronic and the technology used to manage it is free software.

Community currencies are instrumental in:

  • Mobilizing the Real Wealth of a Community: The knowledge and skills of its people is the real wealth of a community. Conventional money drains away while a local currency keeps this wealth working in the community, generating employment and income for all involved. People who have accumulated a wide range of skills and abilities suddenly become once again highly valued members of the community.
  • Fostering Self-Reliance & Self Esteem: In our communities unemployment is growing and increasing numbers of people are unable to get their needs met. Single-parents may need respite care or other services for their children. Elderly pensioners also need a range of specialised services or may simply require company to combat loneliness. At present a person's ability to access these and other services is proportional to their purchasing power. The community currency system breaks this bottleneck, by making it more possible to match someone's need with another's available labour. People are no longer dependent upon welfare or charity, and everyone's self esteem benefits.
  • Increased Personal Savings & Disposable Income: Because members can get local goods and services through a community currency, they can substitute it for the national currency. Disposable income in conventional money, available after basic needs are met, actually increases. Those who regularly trade with community currencies will find they have more money left in their pockets at the end of each week. The rate of community savings, and therefore of community investment and capital generation, will improve. This will result in an improvement in the quality of life for everyone.
  • Creating Local Economic Control: Local currencies help to plug the leaky bucket of the local economy. By creating a local currency that cannot leave the community, uncontrolled and activity-limiting capital outflows are reduced. As a community currency only has value in the community in which it is generated, it continues circulating to create more wealth for everyone. They give community members a powerful new tool with which to "steer" the local economy in directions which benefit everyone.
  • Building Community Support Networks: Because community currency systems plug members into a local information network, they provide new or isolated residents with an instantaneous community support system. This avoids the embarrassment of introductions to strangers. Through a CES network, all members have a ready reason for calling for support or help. Elderly pensioners, unemployed youth, supporting parents, new arrivals, and single-income families with partners trapped in a dormitory suburb can all build firm friendships on relationships established through a functioning network.
  • Fostering Social Justice & Equality: Because the value attached to one's time and commitment is set individually by participants, a community currency equalises the wage differentials that exist in the conventional economy between the work of women and the work of men. This greater equality helps prevent the polarisation of the community "haves" and "have-nots". There is no point in accumulating community currencies as they do not earn interest. It is only by putting them to productive work that the individual or community benefits. Community currencies foster participation at all levels in the local community.
  • Building a Sense of Community: The increasingly transient, temporary and mobile lifestyle in the world today has seriously damaged our sense of belonging to a meaningful community. Because a community currency builds local relationships it is a powerful means of regenerating a sense of trust among members, a necessary component to the health of any community. As communities become more self-aware and self-reliant through the use of a community currency, isolation, fear and loneliness diminishes and everyone benefits.
  • Keeping Wealth Where it is Created: National currencies always leak away to the 'money centres' creating money deserts and a reduction of local economic activity. Complementary currencies, on the other hand, are community based and so keep wealth where it is created. Where previously economic activity was stagnant, the local currency stimulates trade and permits things to happen where formerly there was no economic activity. By circulating in a community the entire community becomes self-sufficient and does not have to rely on external businesses to provide what is required.
  • Bringing the 'Money Power' Back to the Commons: The money we use in our daily lives is provided by the corporate financial system as a profit-making enterprise, not by the government as a public service to the community. As such, the money we use does not belong to the commons and so we have little control over how it is spent and who it benefits. A community currency brings the 'money power' back to the people because its users can decide how that power is exerted.