Following the work already being done on Green Dollars in Canada, Michael Linton came up with the acronym LETS from Local Exchange Trading System in the early eighties and travelled worldwide spreading the concept. The basic idea was to give people the power, as there was a shortage of bank-created currency, to create their own. Based on Mutual Credit, it’s a step on from Barter, which is a one-to-one closed exchange, the idea being that a ring-fenced currency can be created by members of a group acknowledging goods and services by means of a pooled system of credits and debits.
Michael Linton saw LETS as a social enterprise, with a top-down approach, registered the name LETSystem in the UK, and the first groups were set up from 1985 onwards. Liz Shephard positioned it in the voluntary sector, in which organisations are governed by a constitution and member rules, founded LETSlink UK in 1991, which supported the development of hundreds of Local Exchange Trading Schemes throughout the nineties. The movement was slow to adopt online systems, and there was a loss of momentum, but there is a new resurgence of the project with appropriate tools based on custom software or open source platforms now available.
Following the retirement of Liz Shephard in the year 2000, LETSlink was relocated to London, where we are developing a London-wide scheme, as well as supporting groups all over the UK. We moderate the [LLUK] and [LLL] discussion lists which are kindly hosted by the LETSystems Trust, and engage enthusiastically with researchers and software developers. To help us respond to your enquiry, whether you want to join locally or are offering support for the project, please explore the weblinks and contact us from the most relevant location: www.letslinkuk.net • www.letslink.org • www.cxss.info • www.localexchange.org.uk • www.londonwide.letslink.org