Projects in Agriculture and Compensation Strategies
Andrius’ note hits on several points worth considering in the arena of adding value through worthy work and receiving fair compensation. The result of our work is experienced in three arenas:
1) general / theoretical on a global scale
2) planning / coordination to convert the broad-based theory into a project that is actionable, supportable, and capable of successful completion at the grassroots
3) commitment / action to do the necessary steps for the project to work out using pathways of feedback and response
Most of us have the potential to add value in all three and frequently do. Unfortunately, the value-add is too often only compensated for most of the third and part of the second, but rarely the first. This is especially the case when a federally-back currency is the medium of exchange. Those paying the tab want to see tangible evidence of a return on their investment.
One of the benefits of complementary currencies is to make available an alternative medium of exchange that can be used to compensate the value-add for the first and some of the second. This is not about investment in the traditional sense where money put in is supposed to make more money. Instead, the challenge is to acknowledge those who have contributed by awarding them a measure of compensation that equals the value of the work they did. For a complementary currency to do this, it must hold value in the following exchange circumstances:
1) can be exchanged for work of similar value within a community
2) can be exchanged for work of similar value in another community
3) can be exchanged for federally-backed currency at a reasonable conversion rate
In thinking about a project in local-based agriculture, there are numerous opportunities for both federally-backed and complementary currency systems to be used in articulating the theoretical underpinnings followed by developing the plans and putting them into play. Jeff and others have several key concepts about creating a sustainable and ecologically sound locally-based agricultural business “system” that considers the production agriculture (food, feed, fuel, and fiber) value chain in its entirety (agricultural practices, post-harvest processing and packaging, logistics and inventory, and retailing—including novel ways in which the customer experiences the value chain) from non-mainstream perspectives. Any project will be a “mix and match” of these different aspects. What is critical, though, is getting three threads woven together into a powerful story that attracts and holds the creative talents needed to pull it off. These are as follows:
1) Those who can envision possibilities and use language in ways that paint compelling pictures about future opportunities and attracts others who want to make them happen
2) Those who can see how to translate a general and generic vision into locally applicable endeavors / plans with viability on the ground, so to speak
3) Those who have the capabilities to carryout the steps necessary at the grassroots level to make the projects truly successful
Any project, whether based in Canada centered by someone like Benoit or in Kenya with someone like Samwel, or in the U.S. with someone like Jeff, or wherever, is going to take a combination of us or people like us to conceive of it, plan it, and do it. That means we will have to be able to fairly compensate one another through a combination of federally-backed and complementary currencies for the work that we do in weaving the threads together. How do those like Benoit, who are so articulate in the mystical world get fairly compensated for their remarkable contributions when their value-add is not easily measured by traditional economic standards? Or how does Samwel receive compensation in a form that can be easily exchanged for sorely needed computer equipment? Given our current personal and professional circumstances, each of us has a particular mix of these elements that is essential for us to fully contribute, feel fairly compensated, and engage with others in accomplishing subsequent steps. How do we talk about what we each need in order to participate? That is at the framework for ensuing fairness. So, it is about projects worth doing and doing projects in ways that contributors are compensated fairly for doing worthy work well. Looking forward to seeing what emerges!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Andrius Kulikauskas
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 6:29 PM
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: [cyfranogi] Tools for Community Currency?
I'm glad to see all the activity at Cyfranogi!
John Rogers and his colleagues at the Wales Institute for Community
Currencies have opened up a whole new world to us of community
currencies. I and our lab are very fortunate that we were able to work
for them on important projects.
In 2004, we created a Community Currency Design Tool that makes
available the WICC team's advice regarding design features.
I need to try it out on our lab's currencies. Some aspects of our
system (like How You Spend) don't quite fit into the available answers.
In 2005, we created a Timebank Monitoring System for work lead by Becky
Booth of WICC:
This is a system by which local timebanks share information with a
central issuer, who in this case sponsors community events where time
credits are redeemed. Each local timebank has a leader who keeps a
tally of how many credits they receive and issue. They or a central
record keeper write that in a spreadsheet for that group, which they
upload and thereby refresh an online database and an associated wiki
(we're using transLucid).
What might we do further? Let's think! I spoke with John. I'm very
interested to work more for WICC, and also to look for more funders and
clients. So I will be sharing my thoughts and I appreciate ours.
It would be good to round out both of the projects we've done so far.
The Design Tool:
- lets one save a copy of the results (but it should be made explicit
how to do that)
- does not let one archive the results (this would be important if they
were part of a database on community currency)
- isn't integrated with Stephen DeMeulenaere's community currency
database http://www.appropriate-economics.org (I think that would be
good for both projects)
- the links to the "design features" are outdated, they should point to
relevant pages at the Cyfranogi subwiki at Global Villages
The Monitoring System:
- will possibly need some minor adaptations based on feedback from Becky
- would possibly be better served if the wiki we used was PmWiki instead
of transLucid; but actually the wiki isn't relevant to the system at
I'm thinking that it might be best, and much more exciting, to merge the
two projects into a broader vision which we might flesh out together.
Here are some ideas:
- focus on fostering community-to-community connections by way of
- working with Stephen, we would collect information on communities that
have community currencies or are interested in them - these communities
would be "data points" for our sustainable pattern language (perhaps at
www.globalvillages.info with windows elsewhere as well for viewing the
data, for example, appropriate-economics.org or onevillage.biz)
- we would set up an online social networking system and sign up
especially leaders from various communities - this could be at
openleader.net - and I'd set up a stripped-down CivicSpace well
integrated with our other technologies
- we would focus on the community currency communities in our search for
"global villages", but this would be just a first step in collecting
more information about their "global village" practices, and those of
- the global village practices would be the basis for encouraging
community-to-community relationships - the basic idea is that the
communities with community currencies are well positioned to invest in
each other, and have tools (like the currencies) and other assets to
facilitate that (I Think Is The Most Important Point Here! and relates
to Steve Bosserman's interests) the exchange of business and social
opportunities, as in Just Change India.
- the Open Leader network with our focus on the Public Domain would
provide a context for focusing on people who are "giving"
- the online community currencies which we have been developing
(investment awards, time awards) would be naturally available
- so would metrics (such as the number of letters or posts that we write
in the Public Domain) which helps us focus our Open Leader leadership
development (organizing working groups around active people).
- the social networking system would also facilitate person-to-person
exchanges, especially through our online community currencies, or allow
a community to hire a person for a project, etc.
- the community-to-community connections would also be natural for Franz
Nahrada's interest in telecooperation technologies
- as well as linking "learning circles"
- the "learning communities" have expressed interest in a mentorship
- it would be possible to set up tutoring channels (by chat, skype,
radio, etc.) for help in various kinds of subjects (like technology,
- the community network would be natural for traveling self-learners and
would facilitate our meeting up (John has mentioned the European Social
Forum in Athens (I imagine great for social and business
opportunities!), Giovanni Abrami is organizing a global villages
gathering this summer in Croatia, and Paolo Pumilia has invited us to
help with one day of a Open Culture conference this summer
- the Monitoring System would be included as a way for communities to
make transparent their community currency so that they might understand
each other, the nature and scale of their operations
All these thoughts suggest that, just as the Public Domain helps us
understand which people to focus on as Open Leaders, it may very well be
that community currency helps us understand which communities to focus
on as Global Villages. In either case, they help us know "the capacity
for giving". If a community isn't able to organize a community
currency, then how can we invest in them? So a primary function of
community currency might simply be as an integrity check, a way to know
that a community is for real, and how it works.
In terms of pursuing this, the focus would be on building on Stephen's
work to get more information about the communities that are issuing
community currency, and to set up those aspects that would encourage
community-to-community exchange of social opportunities and business
I can make a list of functionalities, what order to build them in, how
much they would cost, how much they relate to community currency, and
where we might look for funding. I think that we could do all of the
above by the end of the year, and large parts sooner.
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