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The Lewes Pound

On 18 Jul 2008 at 2:54pm not from around here wrote:
Did anybody read about Transition Town Lewes plan to lauch a 'Lewes Pound' to run alongisde the real stuff. Sounds pointless to me - anybody got an opinion on this?
On 18 Jul 2008 at 3:08pm Goozee wrote:
Bit of fun I say, another quirky thing that makes Lewes cool
On 18 Jul 2008 at 4:15pm X wrote:
What a waste of time and paper. What the hell is the point of this nonsense. Obviously come from the same kind of fool who shops at Wickle
On 18 Jul 2008 at 7:43pm SHS wrote:
The Lewes Pound is a bold attempt by common people to take matters into their own hands instead of watching our freedoms and livelihoods slowly get taken over by government bureaucrats. The idea is, you can only use the Lewes pound in Lewes - if you spend it here, it stays here. It encourages businesses to employ local people and people to use local businesses instead of Brighton, London or Chinese businesses for example. In theory the long-term result will be many more successful businesses in Lewes and many more Lewes residents working in Lewes instead of commuting to London or John O-Groats.
On 18 Jul 2008 at 7:45pm SHS wrote:
It's called localisation. Next - rebellion?
On 18 Jul 2008 at 9:04pm c0uncil bod wrote:
what rubbish
On 18 Jul 2008 at 9:44pm An Economist wrote:
Blinkin' flip. SHS, are you suggesting Lewes effectively becomes an economic island? We basically cease trading with anyone outside of Lewes? Have you thought for more than five seconds what the consequences might be?
What are we going to eat for example? A Chinese is out of the the question, obviously. But so is fish and chips. Rice, pasta? Do you know anyone who grows / produces these things in Lewes? Electricity? Gas? Water?
On 19 Jul 2008 at 12:27am ExiledfromLewes wrote:
What protection do they have against counterfeints?
On 19 Jul 2008 at 3:30pm not from around here wrote:
I agree with Economist - what a waste of time! It does not make Lewes 'cool' at all - in fact it's the sort of thing that gives Lewes a bad name and make people laugh at the place. How on earth can it possibly improve the local economy?? It's 'value' is presumably going to tied to the real pound. They state that the Lewes Pound can be exchanged for stirling at any time - which of course you would have to do to buy anything useful or to shop outside of Lewes or at any Lewes trader not accepting the lewes pound - so what's the point?
It does not make any really material difference to anything it just makes a few smug Lewesians feel even better about themselves.
What a pity that this eccentric minority in Lewes are ALWAYS the most vociferous - it makes everybody from outside Lewes think that ALL Lewesians are eccentric, arty-farty environmental crackpots. The truth is that many of the people I know in Lewes are fairly ordinary it's just unfortunate that there is a higher than average concetration of what could be knidly described as eccentrics in the town. Okay, phew - end of rant - I feel better now!
On 19 Jul 2008 at 6:01pm Ben wrote:
The principle is laudable, but I can't see it actually working. You'd double your accountant's fees straight away. When the idea was first mooted a year or so, there was the suggestion that there could be a standard discount if you paid in Lewes Pounds. Now that might help it take off.
On 20 Jul 2008 at 12:37am BONYAK wrote:
If you want funny money go down the fairground or the Gallops
On 20 Jul 2008 at 2:14pm not from around here wrote:
Despite my rant I agree that the intention is laudable - just not practical. One of the first things we thought about (we trade in Lewes) is how this would work in terms of our accounts. What incentive is there for traders to give a discount? How do the traders gain by accepting a second local currencly and all the admin that entails?
We will not be participating - as you might have guessed!
On 20 Jul 2008 at 3:39pm Ben wrote:
I suppose that with the Lewes pounds that people give you, you could buy other goods yourself at a discount. The incentive carries on down the line; a Lewes pound is always worth slightly more than Sterling when buying goods. I'm no economist and have no idea what the long-term implications of this might be.
On 20 Jul 2008 at 10:40pm SHS wrote:
Economic Island. If it brings down prices, gives people more free time, less stress and more employment, why not? Ok, the chances of this actually happening seem pretty remote right now but if does not cost us anything, why not try it? Personally I'm sick of being told that gas, electricity and water bills are going to go through the roof, that food prices are rising but we shouldn't shop at Tesco, that we shouldn't use cars but can't work or buy much locally. Why not generate local heat and power from the warm tidal waters of the Ouse? Why not grow more of our own food? Why turn over all the industrial sites to flats? The Lewes Pound isn't a multi-billion pound govt waste like the Hunting Bill or ID Cards, it's a small-scale minimal-cost attempt to start some changes for the better for those in Lewes.
On 21 Jul 2008 at 1:35pm X wrote:
not from around here - I can't see anything laudable in trying to cut ourselves off from the world. We don't have to have all these "commerical" goods that those behind this idea object to - if people didn't want them and only purchased local stuff then that's all that would be on offer. Thankfully the vast majority don't want that and so that's why we don't have that.
On 22 Jul 2008 at 8:14am not from around here wrote:
Hi X, you miss-understand me - I was being charitable by giving the benefit-of-the-doubt that the idea behind the Lewes pound was positive - it certainly is not malicious, just badly thought through, or not thought through at all. I agree with you, there is nothing good about cutting Lewes off from the rest of the world. The Lewes pound is, as I've said, merely symbolic in my view and will make no practical difference to trade or day-to-day life of most people. Is it a complete waste of time? Yes, I think so - in fact I think it's a terrible idea.
There have been schemes similar to this running for years in other parts of the country. One I can think of is L.E.T.S or Local Exchange and Trading System which an ex of mine was involved with in Ealing well over ten years ago.
If these schemes worked then people would use them instead of stirling and if people only wanted locally produced goods then there would be no market for goods produced elsewhere. But as we know people DO want to trade with the rest of the world and we all benefit from this trading of goods and services.
SHS said that it "If it brings down prices, gives people more free time, less stress and more employment, why not?"
Can SHS explain exactly HOW it would bring down prices? More free time AND more employment - where is this utopia? If it means local traders having to give a discount to encourage people to use the new currency then it's the traders who would be worse off? And who is going to compensate them?
On 22 Jul 2008 at 10:40am Ben wrote:
They have run similar, and apparently successful, schemes in Totnes amongst other places, which you can google. Open minds required from everyone on this, I would have thought. The thing to remember is that money is just bits of paper that everyone has agreed are valuable.
On 23 Jul 2008 at 1:09pm not from around here wrote:
Yes I'm sure all those schemes will say they are 'successful' but successful at what exactly. Money only has the value we assign to it - correct. But the 'value' of the new currency is greatly diminished precisely because it is a local currency only. This is just a game - it is not a serious currency. The bits of paper do not have significant value unless you can take them and spend them in Brighton for example.
If the other schemes were truly successful then we would all be buying our goods and services with the Totness pound and there would be no need to invent the Lewes pound.
The Lewes pound already exists - it's called stirling.
On 23 Jul 2008 at 1:48pm Ben wrote:
Er... you've lost me. The whole point of local currencies is that they ARE LOCAL. So if we were all using the Totnes pound it would have been an utter failure. And a Lewes pound will be worthless in Brighton - they won't accept it there.
The whole point is to have a geographically limited bit of paper that you exchange for goods in you local area, thereby locking the "wealth" into the local economy. I still have doubts about its practical viability, but it seems to me that the principles are sound enough.
On 23 Jul 2008 at 2:51pm X wrote:
The idea that a Lewes Pound would lock in wealth is nonsense.
People will still be paid in pounds - after all we have a minimum wage and this toy town currency won't be legally recognised so employers who try to pay people with this are likely to break the law and lose staff.
Given that people will be paid in pounds it means anyone wanting to have Lewes Pounds will need to convert their real money into this Monopoly cash. But they could just as easily buy only local goods from local shops.
In addition what are shops going to do with this money they still must declare earnings to the taxman in pounds so will need to convert it back to pounds anyway and can't do anything to stop the money/wealth being taken by Inland Revenue.
Truth is this is a silly idea dreamt up by well meaning but rather stupid people that if it achieves anything will cause loads of paperwork and result in the people who get involved losing real money since the currency has no legal or financial value and will be prone to hyperinflation.
On 23 Jul 2008 at 4:43pm not from around here wrote:
Agree with you entirely 'X'.
Ben, keeping things local at all costs will not create wealth for anybody in any way, shape of form. You cannot 'lock' money into a local economy - the only thing you can do is restrict the local economy which is what a local-only currency does.
Much better if the economy as whole (across the country) grows and thrives using stirling then there is a direct and indirect knock-on benefit to ALL local economies.
I'm afraid the Lewes pound idea is just symptomatic of the (thankfully minority) mentality in Lewes which says that all things from outside are automatically bad - including non-lewes money.
On 23 Jul 2008 at 5:05pm Ben wrote:
As I understand it, you can convert one Lewes pound back to one pound sterling at any time, so hyperinflation is impossible. It is also, as I understand, perfectly legal and therefore there is no reason why people couldn't be paid in Lewes pounds if they so agreed. I'm prepared to be open-minded about it, despite my doubts, and see how it works as an experiment. Why don't you others get in touch with transition town and quiz them on how it works instead of just slagging it off?
On 23 Jul 2008 at 5:14pm X wrote:
It's not illegal for the Lewes Pound to exist but that doesn't mean it is legally recognised as money.
So if employers must pay people a minimum amount of real money it's probably illegal to pay in Lewes Pounds just like it would be illegal to pay someone with lucheon vouchers - after all people work to have money they can spend as they see fit not to have their boss decide what and where they can spend their wages
On 23 Jul 2008 at 5:18pm Ben wrote:
Like I said above - "if they so agreed".
On 23 Jul 2008 at 7:31pm not from around here wrote:
It's not a question of employees agreeing. Minimum wage has to be paid in Pounds stirling. So even if an employee 'agreed' the employer would still be breaking the law by not paying the minimum in stirling. As the value of the Lewes pound is linked to the real pound then inflation in the real economy will also affect the value of any currency linked to it such as th Lewes pound.
On 23 Jul 2008 at 8:32pm Ben wrote:
*sigh* Whatever. Why don't you go and talk to the people who set the whole thing up and give them your thoughts, instead of ranting at me?
On 23 Jul 2008 at 9:01pm SHS wrote:
Anything that does not involve the costs of a long haulage (by road, rail, ship or air) should stand a good chance of being cheaper. Local heat & power would take us out of the grip of the Russian gas taps and the international oil industry.
However, who's done any calculations? To me, it's worth a try and I'd rather see my money supporting local business and infrastructure rather than paying for ID cards, road pricing and layers and layers of wasteful govt bureaucracy. Clearly many on this forum do not agree. All too often high-profile minority groups get consulted and listened to, but the silent Lewes majority gets ignored (planning consultations come to mind). As Ben said, email or telephone the folks at Transition Town Lewes, or write to the Sussex Express.
On 24 Jul 2008 at 10:18am INRS wrote:
Just one thing - where would the local heat and power come from ? - There has been enough fuss made about one wind turbine at Glyndebourne. Where in Lewes, and how, would this power be produced ?
On 24 Jul 2008 at 2:53pm eccentric environmental crackpot wrote:
Not from aroundhere. I'm one of the people planning the Lewes Pound. It sounds like you've done some thinking about the local economy. I agree with some of your points actually, inlcuding your last one, though I'm not that happy with your projections on 'people like me'. If you agree with the idea behind the LP but think it's ill-conceived why not help us get it right?
On 24 Jul 2008 at 9:14pm SHS wrote:
The warm fast-flowing tidal waters of the Ouse.
On 30 Jul 2008 at 8:09pm not from around here wrote:
Ben, I started this thread to ask what people thought of the idea - I already knew what I thought but wanted to know what others thought and more importantly WHY they thought it. I'm absolutely not ranting at you by the way - I just don't agree with you.
Contact transition town lewes? Well I have had a look at their website and cannot find the info I'm looking for as to how a local currency improves things so I'm guessing they don't know either. It's no good having wishy-washy ideas that things 'will be improved' without any basis in economic reality or any reality at all.
SHS, the silent majority? The silent majority are all the 'normal' folk and not the arty-farties or the tree-huggers. It's the other way around to the way you put it - the silent majority of conventional people are shouted down all the time by a VERY vocal minority in Lewes who think all the rest are like them. Admittedly the Arties and the eco's are a much bigger group in Lewes than in some other places but they are still in the minority - in my opinion of course.
On 1 Aug 2008 at 11:05am Dirk Campbell wrote:
The launch of the Lewes Pound is at Market Lane Garage, North street on Tuesday September 9th, 7.30pm. Speakers will be Rob Hopkins of Transition Town Totnes, Stewart Wallis of the New Economics Foundation and Polly Toynbee of the Guardian. The speakers will explain how local currencies increase economic resilience in local communities. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions.
To address some of your points: the initiatives being started by Transition Town groups all over the world are not in any way cultural, they are a pragmatic response to global resource depletion including oil and food. The initiatives are being started now, so as to be up and running when resource depletion really starts to bite over the next few years.
Many people may feel that these these initiatives are unnecessary, but it is worth pointing out that key thinkers in economics around the world are advocating them. The basis of it all is mathematical: you cannot have infinite growth within a closed system. Economic growth depends on increased production, and as we have now reached the peak of possible growth in all areas, we have to reduce our demands on natural support systems in order not to crash. Localisation is the main solution to this problem, and that is why everything in the Transition Town model is about localisation.
On 20 Nov 2008 at 8:23pm Marcus Gruber wrote:
Learn about Woergl in Austria, and the WIR in Switzerland, the Chiemgauer, Berliner and Rheingold in Germany on wikipedia!
Most of you seem to underestimate the power of this tool!
Although WIR started with only 16 members, today it has grown to include 62,000 - among whom is traded approximately CHF 1.65 billion annually (as of 2004). The available Money supply was 839 million equivalent Swiss Francs (as of 2005).
The WIR bank is a not for profit bank. It serves the interest of the clients, not the bank itself. It is a very stable system, not prone to failure as the current banking system is. It remains fully operational even in times of general economic crisis SUCH AS NOW.

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