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LETSplay - Future Social Design - vol.02

The open money manifesto, first published in the previous edition of Kohkoku, declares that money problems can be easily fixed by using our own moneys. Any community, network, and association can have its own money simply by providing a set of accounts through which members can record their trades.

Eventually, almost all communities will use their own money. It's just a question of time and a matter of design.

A society that does this will eliminate the problems associated with lack of money. Imagine a world without poverty, homelessness, unemployment and exploitation - a world where there is always enough money to meet all our needs. Such a world is not only possible, but also probable.

In the last Kohkoku we wrote about memes, self-replicating elements of culture, passed on by imitation. Society will transform itself as the open money meme connects with open minds, who in turn propagate the idea throughout the culture. In this way, from one to some, from some to many, from many to millions, like the imaginal cells that turn caterpillar to butterfly, transformation will happen.

In this issue of the magazine we provide a simple game to explore these ideas and set the stage for further development.


You are invited to play the new money game and take the first steps toward understanding and action. LETSplay is a collaborative game without winners and losers.

The main thing the game is designed to do is just to show the difference between a limited supply money that flows through the community, and a money that stays and circulates in sufficient supply.

The primary advantage of playing the game is to acquire the tools to study the ideas and possibilities of community money systems.

You can learn the game in almost no time at all. All it takes is a few minutes a day for a week or so, playing in person or by email. You will learn all you need to know about the interplay of conventional money and community currencies (cc). You can consider this idea without risk and with plenty of time to think.

LETSplay is a game to help open the imagination. Play can be the beginning, middle and end of learning and understanding. It's easier to consider new ideas in a hypothetical context, a virtual reality where there's nothing to lose, rather than in the much more risky real world.

So - why play games? To have fun, to learn something, to explore options, to get outside the box of habitual thinking.

hat & bike graphic

Suppose you had never seen a bicycle - would you understand it from a description? Would an explanation of its engineering convince you it was safe? Would you believe that it balances? Who ever learned to ride a bike from a book?

Prior "understanding" would convince you that 2 wheels isn't enough. It would seem perfectly logical to first try to balance without moving. When that's mastered, then maybe try it in motion.

flat & round graphic

Christopher Columbus had trouble getting a crew for his adventures. Everyone knew sailing away over the horizon was clearly sailing right over the edge into hell, whether the earth was flat (as the old men insisted) or round, as new voices were saying. They knew from their lifelong experience with gravity that "what goes up must come down".

They, and many others thereafter, discovered that gravity is not up and down at all. All over the world, it's an "in" thing. Gravity sucks, and that's a good thing - it's what keeps us together - on the surface, at least.

seesaw graphic

When we explain that community money systems are a lot like being on a huge see-saw, with lots of others, and everyone is moving to and fro, and it all balances itself..... who is going to believe it?

And even if they believe, who wants to take a chance on a huge see-saw in motion with all those strangers on board.

It's a matter of where you are looking from, and how. LETSplay lets you see what a community money system actually is, and how it works, and where it's safe and secure, and where it's not.

The game also gives players a common language for discussion and understanding. To have a useful conversation about how open money works, we need to be looking at the same picture, and using the same words to mean the same things.

All players can learn something of the nature of an open money that circulates within a closed network, and apply what they learn to their use of community money - virtual money in the real world.

The LETSplay game simulates trading with both conventional money - the kind backed by governments and central banks - and community money - the kind we back ourselves. It reveals the key differences between these two types of money and shows how they work together.