Community Exchange

Koro Island has its own community exchange of goods and services, and its own currency (est. 2013). Participation is entirely optional.If you want to, you can now manage your own account, add your own offerings and wants and perform a whole range of actions related to your account. Read the instructions with patience and care so we can all benefit from the platform.  – set up your account by looking for “Fiji” and “Koro Island community. You will be approved by the administrator. The currency of exchange is the V$ – the Viti. 1 Viti equals 1 F$ for the sake of a baseline and conversion.

When sales take place buyers neither give their sellers anything nor are they obligated to them in any way. In other words the buyer does not ‘pay’ or owe the seller anything in the conventional sense; ‘payment’ is made by the buyer delivering something to someone else in the community at a later time.

Buying sets up an obligation and it is this that binds users together. A buyer with a positive credit balance indicates that the buyer has already ‘paid’ for the purchase by delivering something to someone else at an earlier time. The seller entering the transaction is also an acknowledgement that the Koro Exchange is not a bartering system where the trading relationship is directly between buyers and sellers. All transactions are indirect in that we ‘pay’ for what we receive by doing or giving something to someone else.

Debits are not a ‘promise to pay’ as in the conventional money system, but a ‘promise to sell’.  Trading through the KE is similar to trading with a credit or debit card in the conventional economy. When you present your groceries at the checkout of a supermarket, it is the supermarket (the sales assistant) that enters the transaction. Your credit or debit card is not money; it is just an ID. Swiping your card debits your account and credits the account of the supermarket.

Imagine if it was the other way around: you (as the buyer) took your groceries home and the supermarket had to wait for you to enter the transaction through your internet banking account. That would never work and the supermarket would have to employ an army of debt collectors chasing customers to enter their transactions!

When you deposit a regular check at the bank, you are doing so as the seller. The bank teller enters the amount into the computer, which credits your account and debits the buyer’s. The cheque is not money, it is just an order to the bank authorizing the debiting of the buyer’s account and the crediting of yours. CES trading slips perform the same function when they are handed by the seller to the administrator or a coordinator, who enters the information into the computer on your behalf.

As there is no exchange medium in the KE, all that needs to happen after a sale has taken place is that a record has to be made of it. There are three parties who could enter the details: the buyer, the seller or a third party such as the administrator.

If the buyer were to do it the details would likely never get entered as it is not in the interest of buyers to debit their own accounts. Sellers would have to remind their buyers to enter the transactions and after a time they might even forget, resulting in what amounts to theft on the part of the buyer. Tardy transaction entering on the part of buyers would result in a lot of frustration for sellers.<br /> If buyers entered transactions sellers would also have to send invoices to their buyers, creating an extra step that is not really necessary. If the seller does it then it is in the interest of the seller to enter the transaction as quickly as possible, as it credits his or her account. If the seller never does it then it is only the seller who is to blame. Even if the buyer benefits by not having his or her account debited, the buyer can never be accused of theft.

When the seller enters transactions there is no need to send an invoice to the buyer, unless a firm price could not be given before the delivery of the goods or service. When the buyer approves or ‘signs off’ delivery, the seller can enter the transaction and there is no need for any further correspondence. An enormous amount of time and effort is eliminated by not having to issue invoices. This speeds up the settling of accounts, eliminates frustration and the need to chase debtors, and cuts out standing in bank queues.

In the conventional economy banks would never allow sellers to credit themselves, as the conventional banking system is so open to dishonesty, fraud and corruption. In the KE, on the other hand, dishonesty is much more difficult so it is possible for sellers to directly credit their accounts. It is also a testimony of the trust inherent in KE trading.

Another reason why it is important that sellers enter the information is to create or preserve the sense of belonging, obligation and community. When a buyer ‘gives’ money to a seller, there is a feeling of completion after the goods or service has been delivered. The buyer has ‘paid’ the seller and no longer has to think about it. This is why people living in well-off areas do not know their neighbors:  they don’t need them. Everything can be bought from anonymous suppliers outside the community. When sellers enter the transaction information buyers are left feeling obligated to the community by the knowledge that they have to ‘pay’ for what was received by selling something themselves. It is this feeling of obligation on the part of buyers and the knowledge by all that they need each other that creates community. Conventional money destroys it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s