Challenging ourselves to use an alternative economy
Learning Man is a week-long platform for a literal talent exchange, creating real abundance using the Community Exchange System (CES).
The CES has been running for over 10 years and works very well as a method of recording exchanges. This program, used by over 50 000 people in 820 communities in 75 countries around the world, was written and directed by South Africa’s very own Tim Jenkins.
Trading in Talents at the Festival is an opportunity to practice using an alternative economy, without the national money system. Read why this is important.
It will also help to stimulate the CES, giving it more value to people, as more people join and offer more goods and services.
How Trading Works on the CES
- Trading in Talents works via the CES website in an online system that keeps track of your account. All you do is sign up for a free account at www.ces.org.za and get a TE number.
- The seller enters the exchange and the website accounting system keeps a record of the value of the goods and services as a tally of credits (Talents). This represents your claim on the community which can be exchanged for any information, instruction, healing, accommodation, products and services that are offered by other CES members.
- An easy debit and credit system keeps track of the buyers’ and sellers’ accounts online and is completely transparent.
- Every time you provide goods or services to someone in the community, you credit your account with the value of what you have provided (measured in Talents, which are equivalent in value to Rands).
- This at the same time debits the buyer’s account, who must then, at some stage, provide like value with their own goods or services, back to the community.
- Your credits allow you to access what other members of the community provide. It is possible to buy before you have credit, provided you balance your account at some stage.
How Trading works at the Festival
- In order to trade at Learning Man, and participate in the exchange of talents, everyone will need to join the CES beforehand. (An easy, free, online signup).
- Members may spend Talents before they have earned them, as long as they undertake to earn them at some stage. So there is no limit to your supply of Talents, only your willingness to balance your account (i.e getting back to zero) with whatever it is you can offer.
- Just for a week we are asking everyone to make this is a no-Rands event, that is, to trade only in Talents. (or gifting or barter ) In this way we can learn how to trade off-grid, as well as to start relying on our community for our needs.
- Everyone will receive a talent sheet on arrival. When you want to reward someone for value you have received, you give your Talent Exchange number to them and the amount you are offering or the amount they ask for. The seller enters the transaction and debits your account.
- On your return home, you may have accumulated a number of Talents to spend on the growing number of goods and services available on the CES. If you are in debit, you simply offer your services to the greater community where you live to balance your account back to zero.
- There is also an easy mobile website if you want to update your account at the festival via your cell phone and your 3g connection. www.cell.ces.org.za
What You Can Do to Earn Talents at the Festival
- Share your talent/skill/passion (live music, theatre, dj-ing, poetry)
- Dance, mime, body art, yoga class, healing therapy etc, etc.)
- Sell food or drinks or clothing or crafts or other useful items if you are happy to receive Talents in exchange
- Teach self-sufficiency, life skills, or anything useful, how to build a…
- Share your research or expertise on any interesting or useful subject
- Hold a debate on a subject of interest
- Teach a musical instrument, a healing art, a craft
- Make something that people need
- Teens can offer to do some daily chores for people, mind kids while they attend a talk, wash dishes, offer a performance
The aim is to come to the Festival willing to present your offering for the benefit of the community, and to allow people to reward you for value received.
This will stimulate trade, create abundance in our community and be an injection of new blood into the Talent Exchange as a viable alternative economy.
- Anyone can request free stall space in the marketplace to be able to trade, share or display appropriate products and information.
- Traders are to provide all their own infrastructure (solar or biodiesel, lighting, shade, tables, chairs, signage, clipboard, etc. -think minimum wastage and renewable energy).
Performers and Presenters
- People such as speakers, performing artists and DJs who do not need a stall, can place their Talent Sheet where they perform/present, for people fill in.
- If you want to charge a particular fee, it makes sense to keep it low as there will be many things on offer.
Why Talents are better than money
Although it seems as if Talents are money, as they are pegged at the same value as Rands – they most definitely are not. Talents don’t exist – they simply measure.
The problem with money is that it exists, and so must have been created. Money therefore has a creator, and the creator, by changing interest rates, controls the supply and demand, and therefore the price of it. It is usurious at every level, especially knowing that we do not even need money to be able to trade.
As there is no quantity of Talents (in the same way that there is no quantity of kilograms) it cannot be said that any exist. There is therefore no creator, and as there is no creator, there cannot be anyone controlling their supply and making money from interest and speculation on comparative values.
Using Talents to measure our exchanges means that there is no basis for unhealthy relationships. No-one can rip us of by charging interest on a Talent, or depreciating it or even stealing it. No-one can steal your Talents from you if they do not exist in any quantity. They only exist virtually as a measure of what you owe or are owed by your community.
The Talent Exchange is a brilliant way of totally avoiding all the controls and costs to which money is subjected.