The object of the Community Exchange System (CES) is to facilitate trade without using our conventional national
currencies, and build a sense of community at the same time.
By 'trade' we mean the normal economic activity of selling goods
and providing services by 'producers', 'sellers' or 'providers', and the purchase of these
by 'buyers', 'customers', 'clients', 'patients', 'consumers', etc.
The CES serves two basic functions:
- it is an online money and banking system
- it is a 'marketplace' where people sell goods and services
Although the CES is internet-based it also works
for those who do not have computers. Each user gets an account number
and this gives them access to their account on the CES web site. The site
works like a true
on-line banking service. Participants can view their current balances and
obtain statements of account. They can also keep track of the trading position
Goods and services are advertised on the web site through an 'Offerings
List'. Participants look through this list, or do a search, and if they find
anything they want they contact the seller who then provides the goods or
service. Payment is effected through a Trading Slip which serves both as
a means of payment and a receipt for the goods or service. The information
on the Trading Slip is entered by the seller into a transacation form on the
web site. This credits the account of the seller and debits that of the buyer.
Accounts record these debits and credits, giving a balance after each transaction.
Those without computers can interface with the system through 'branches' where everything is done manually and information is available on paper.
To ensure that unscrupulous buyers do not exploit the system,
details of each user's overall trading position are available to all.
General trading statistics are also available to show how much trading is
The web site also provides all the information needed to contact
other participants. There is also a 'Wants List' where participants can advertise
for goods and services they require.
Trading in this system
requires no supply of money, either by the community as a whole or by each
participant. Instead of using a 'hard' currency, which then has to be allocated
according to some formula, the currency of this system is the pure recording
of the values exchanged in trade. Money in this system is thus created at the trading
interface and is recorded as credits for sellers and debits for buyers.
There are CES exchanges in a number of countries around the world. Each exchange has its own currency but members of one exchange can trade with members of other exchanges, making CES currencies as versatile as our conventional currencies.
The local currencies are units of measure
rather than tradable commodities like conventional currencies. However, to make
these currencies meaningful to users, their value is based on the
national currencies. This is purely to give them reference. They are in no way tied to the national currencies
and will deviate from them over time.
There are no rules for pricing in the CES.
The 'law' of supply and demand prevails. However, within the context of the
that otherwise would not be highly valued, might increase in value because
of their relative shortage. Other services that outside the CES
might be cheaper in the CES because the provider wishes
to attract custom.