Here in the Bay Area many creative, self employed people are suffering at the hands of the shitty economy. We are broke, we can’t pay the rent, and we certainly can’t afford ‘luxuries’ like bodywork, custom outfits, and parties. We look around at our amazing, creative friends and see that we are all in the same situation. Fashion designers, performers, artists, event producers, and healers- all these talented people sitting around with no work coming in and no money to spend. It seems like all we can do is be patient and wait for the economy to recover.
What if there was another answer?
What if we could take the bull by the horns and kick start our own local economy?
We are all familiar with the idea of trade. It’s a common thing in creative communities. Well- imagine if we put all our resources into a pool and get what we need out of it? No need for direct trade with an individual- putting everything in a community pool means that there is a huge variety of goods and services and you can get all kinds of needs met!
-You’re a theater company and you’re looking for someone to paint a backdrop for you.
-You find an artist in the pool and pay them with credits instead of dollars.
-The artist could spend the credits on yoga classes, a custom pair of boots and going to a party.
-You could then repay the pool by accepting credits to see your next production.
It’s a simple and elegant system which has been operating in across the world since the great depression. Devised in Switzerland in the 1930s, the idea of a Local Exchange Trading System is nothing new, but what is interesting is that now we have the technology to make it easy to do. Imagine a website that looks like a cross between Craiglist and Paypal. In the first section there are listings of goods and services people are offering, and in the second section there is the ability to exchange currency- but it’s not dollars! Take that system and fill it with all the creative people you know, and all of a sudden you’ve got a vibrant mini-economy representing the most talented people in the Bay Area! No more thrifty penny pinching- you can spend your credits on things you could never normally afford! Once the network is thriving, it can even pay out small business loans (in credits, not dollars) to kick start projects, and make cool shit happen.
We are hyper-networked community leaders with a tendril dipping into every creative nano-community and sub-scene in the Bay Area. As a team we have been producing events and bringing people together for nearly 10 years, and have used our community as a petri dish for our social experiments. We have put our flag in the ground as champions of CREATOR CULTURE, and spend all our time thinking about ways to midwife this new social model into being. We are also economics nerds and understand how this shit works, and we are charismatic leaders capable of the kind of rallying and rabble rousing needed to make this happen.