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design for the real world
We begin, necessarily, with self interest, because, in the economy, altruism has limits. People can't be expected to be "good" to each other for very long if it's any strain, or effort or cost to themselves or their family, their business. So arrangements that depend on altruism are undependable.
In contrast, the sustainability of any community money system comes entirely from the participants earning and spending the cc in their own best interests. It's not a moral issue, nobody has to try to be good, or do good. It's just a practical matter - everyone just has to make sure they are doing well.
Of course, in "normal" money use, this doesn't apply - your gain will often be another's loss. "Hey, it's competition, look out for yourself, dog eat dog ...." With a cc it's different. You can only earn or spend community money in collaboration, never in coercion. And that's not a rule or agreement, it's a basic fact of life in community.
It's not a "group" decision either - no committees are required. It's just personal - use community money, mind your own business and it will work out for others.
Trading in cc is essentially collaborative because nobody needs the money. You can't pressure anyone to do something if they don't want to. It makes sense to use a money that reflects and respects that reality.
And it makes the community economy a whole lot simpler and effective What goes around comes around. As the community benefits from the circulation of cc, so do we. We reap what we sow. Imagine what we can do together, in collaboration, for the common good.
cw - community way
community way is really a starter motor, a self-financing program that introduces all sectors of the economy - people, business, community groups (and even governments) to the simplicities of community currencies. It's a cc systems start-up process designed specifically to raise money for non-profits and projects in the community.
Change with who? With anyone who wants to help the organization by exchanging normal $ for cw$ which they can then spend at participating businesses.
As businesses earn cw$, usually on a portion of a sale - 10-50%-100% - they spend them with each other, pay staff bonuses and incentives, hire local contractors, and give again to their favourite charities. They get a tax break on the donations and the money comes back to them, often with a new, soon to be loyal, customer.
It works because everyone wins - there are no losers. Business does well by doing good. Community organizations have more money to do the work that needs doing. People like getting twice the value for their dollar - they can both put a $ into their community and have a cw$ to shop locally. As most everybody says, it's a good thing.
The community way program also raises the revenues to meet its own costs. It can be started with very little funds as a micro-enterprise for 3 or 4 people, as a way to make a living.
In the first phase, 40 businesses have donated cw$60,000 to 25 community organizations. Some use the cw$ in direct purchasing with participating businesses. The Child Development Centre buys groceries from Leung's and board members use cw$ for meetings at the Union Street Grill. The Youth Music Centre spend cw$ to pay 75% of the accomodation for their summer school faculty at the Arbutus hotel and 50% of their meals in the restaurant.
Some organizations have paid cw$ staff bonuses and one, the Adult Learning Centre paid their manager for previously unpaid overtime, and she spent her new money buying organic produce from Elemental Organics and getting haircuts from Doreen.
The Union Street Grill paid Oliver Clarke to paint their building. Chris from the Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture Centre bought a year's pass at the Comox Recreation squash courts. It's just what happens as the money moves around.
et - ethical travel / local change
The ethical travel program is community way applied in the tourism sector. Whenever we travel, we should try to contribute something to the communities we visit, rather than just come to look, add load to the environment, and leave.
Travellers to communities where there are community way programs can buy local cw$ to spend while they are there. It's much the same as getting chips to use in the casino, or Disney dollars at Disneyland, or Francs in France - except that when the "ethical travellers" buy their cw$, their money goes directly to community non profit organizations.
This is good for the community and also for the visitors, who are now more appreciated in the community because they are seen to be helping.
Soon, "et" will be able to buy cw$ for any part of the world, probably directly from global non-profit organizations who will have cw$ donated by businesses in communities all over the world. Then, whether they visit the community, or stay home and buy from there, perhaps on line, the spending contributes where it's needed. Ethical travellers do real good.
Let's see how fast this meme moves.
The Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is the site of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve project. It's a magnificently beautiful place of forests and water, a paradise for hiking, boating, and whale-watching.
The 2,000 permanent residents are host to about 200,000 tourists every year, and they need help to balance the benefits of tourism with the strain on the local environment and community.
Now, anyone coming to visit the westcoast of Vancouver Island can help out by buying some coast dollars from the local community, maybe from the Friends of Clayoquot Sound. The Friends need money to keep the Clayoquot ancient rainforests intact. Pay with your charge card, online, and c$ are credited to a community money account in your name ready for your visit. When you get to the coast, go to the Friends office in Tofino or one of the other exchange agents, and get a smart card loaded with c$ from your account, and spend them while you are there. Before you leave, you can cash in any left over c$ or deposit them back in your account for future visits.
The short-term goal of Clayoquot Sound communities is for one traveller in a hundred to buy c$200 - that's $1/2 million for the environment, summer housing, music and theatre programs. They have started a design process for that long-awaited community center.
real food network
This is a design that could generally apply to almost any producer-consumer network. However, it is likely to be first used for an organic food delivery network, as the growth of this market sector is presently very strong, and the industry is looking for effective ways to reorganise to meet the demand.
Working with local organizations, a major organic food distributor will contribute cc$ - perhaps as much as cc$100,000 in the first phase alone - to help create a local "real food" facility, a multi-functional community centre for distribution of food and other earth-friendly goods, services, and information.
People can buy the cc$ from the centre, and the cash they provide becomes investment in the community. The distributor accepts payment in cc$ for supplying the centre and in sales to other local retailers, so the money is progressively more generally accepted.
This design is the basic community way concept modified to make it more suitable for capital processes, with a longer time scale.
It may be Shibuya, Tokyo, or somewhere else in Japan or it may be Seattle, USA. It can be any place really, with a population of 500,000 to 5 million people or so and a government getting serious about community money systems.
The key factor is that local and/or regional governments support the network of cc service providers and projects, as an economic development program to generate small business and employment in the information sector.
To do this, all they need do is allocate funds to assure $ / cc$ exchange with cc project installations. This assures that cc service providers and associated community information agencies can be self-supporting from the outset, which in turn makes the core cc development projects financially sustainable.
For government, this is a very low cost initiative, perhaps no cost at all, since they can spend the cc$ locally in their normal purchasing processes. Government should expect over time to become a big changer, effectively getting two bites for each tax dollar that goes through the exchange.