It’s hard not to long for a simpler time when this whole “economy” thing wasn’t dragging everybody down. What if there was a system of formalized, locally based barter system where people could swap goods and services without ever having to produce cold, hard cash? That’s the premise behind the Asheville Local Exchange Trading System (LETS), and in this video Kila Donovan explains how it all works.
The Asheville Local Exchange Trading System is a great example of free market capitalism that serves a rational self-interest based on the trader principle where value is exchanged for value in a non-coercive economic environment. As opposed to the system we have now, which is government interventionism that interferes in the economy through regulation and demands service and sacrifice.
This is a group of Leftists who think that they are circumventing capitalism, when in fact they are practicing it.
**UPDATE** July 22, 2009
This is Scott, co-founder of AshevilleLETS and Firestorm Cafe & Books. Thanks for cross posting the LETS video that somehow ended up on MountainX.com!
I just wanted to be clear that many of us involved in LETS and Firestorm are not "leftists." As libertarians and anarchists, most of us happily diverge from the Left on critical social, economic and political points.
Speaking for myself, I would not hesitate to call LETS an exploration of free market principles on a community scale. Whether the overall tone of LETS is capitalistic or not, is however, open to further examination. Capitalism is not the only economic philosophy that embraces self-interest and free markets.
I look forward to productive future dialog around our philosophical commonalities and divergences.