HumBucks Community Exchange System (CES) is a community-based exchange system that provides the means for its users to exchange goods and services, both locally and remotely. It could also be described as a global trading network that operates without money as it is commonly understood.
Unlike the conventional money-based exchange system, HumBucks has no physical currency. The idea that such a currency is required before trading can take place is increasingly irrelevant in this day and age of computers and the Internet. Information can replace currencies and at the same time eliminate most of the problems associated with regular money.Apart from using information instead of currencies to affect exchange, HumBucks is community-focused in order to build community and keep wealth where it is created. HumBucks takes this a step further by providing the means for inter-community trading, right up to the global level.“Currency” in HumBucks is Information. It does not have to be ‘created’ like conventional money so there is no need for an issuing authority or for a supply of it, and none is required to start trading. ‘Money’ is a retrospective ‘information-recording’ of who provided what for whom. There can never be a shortage of information as there can be of money. Information does not have to be created and limited by a third party (banks or governments) to give it value. For this reason the concepts of borrowing, lending and interest are meaningless in the HumBucks CES. Complementary exchange systems foster the real wealth of communities and rebuild a sense of worth and self-esteem among their users. Around the world communities using a CES report an increased sense of vitality in all sectors of the community.HumBucks CES provides infinite opportunities for exchanging one’s narrow specializations for goods and services offered by others. In this way HumBucks acts like a supplementary currency, creating an additional stream of value in a community. By supplementing our conventional cash flow with HumBucks our community can provide an additional source of essential goods and services that can and do become scarce in economic downturns and protect our community members from changes and fluctuations in the national money supply.
HumBucks is about relationships I help you, and you help another—and someone else helps me. The recipients of help become, in turn, the providers of help. What goes around comes around. By helping others you become eligible to receive goods, services or help from someone else. When you receive something, someone else is then eligible to claim goods, services or help from the community.
How Does HumBucks work?
HumBucks CES compiles and distributes a directory of goods and services offered by the users registered with them, as well as a list of their ‘wants’ or requirements. When a community member requires something posted in the directory the community member offering those goods, services or help is contacted and the trade takes place. The procurer ‘pays’ the provider by signing a trading sheet or by handing over a check-like trading slip that records how much the procurer is agreeing to be debited by the provider for the goods/service delivered. The slip is either handed by the provider to a Local Group Administrator who will enter the exchange into the computerized system (for our community members without easy access to computers), or the information is entered directly by the provider. “Provisions” are recorded as credits for providers and as debits for procurers. The central book-keeping system records the relative trading positions of the traders. Those in credit can claim from community goods and services to the value of their credit (and into a debit limit of 500 HumBucks) and those in debit owe the community goods and services to the value of their debit. Traders receive a regular statement of account that lists their trades and gives their balance at the end of the period. Information about the trading position of others prevents unscrupulous buyers from exploiting the system. Newsletters and periodic community meetings of system users will assist in building links and enhancing our sense of community.
How do I begin?
Humboldt Village has established a local account with Community Exchange Systems, a global network of similar community exchange systems. Create an individual exchange account for yourself. Your account can be debited up to 500 HumBucks at any time, and you can start using the system within 24 hours ofestablishing your account.
Go to the Community Exchange System’s home page (http://www.community-exchange.org/)
Look in the upper right corner for the box that says enter an existing exchange.
Click countries, then chose United States from the drop down menu
Then use the drop down menu showing the existing exchanges in the U.S. and choose Humboldt Village
Enter your personal information and your offerings.
You must enter three offerings to begin using the system, becoming a “provider”. Normally within 24 hours you will receive a welcome letter with your account number and password.
What if I don’t have a computer?
As the system grows, individuals and groups are being recruited to be Local Area Coordinators. They can help you to establish an account and to make exchanges by entering information for you and by helping you to find the goods and services you need. This aspect of the system will begin spring 2012.