Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given. Certain words have been given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
We are told that economy is growing and that such growth benefits all of us. However, what you see is not what you always get. Most people are experiencing declining economic security in response to the problems of the global system, many communities have turned to Local Exchange Systems (LESs) to help regain some control over their economic situations.
Local exchange systems come in many forms. They often involve the creation of a local currency, or a system of bartering labour, or trading of agricultural products as a means of supporting the region in which they are traded. Such a system helps preserve the viability of local economies.
Local currencies allow communities to diversify their economies, reinvest resources back into their region and reduce dependence on the highly concentrated and unstable global economy. Each local currency system serves as an exchange bank for skills and resources that Individuals in the community are willing to trade. Whether in the form of paper money, service credits, or other units, a local currency facilitates the exchange of services and resources among the members of a community.
By providing incentives for local trade, communities help their small businesses and reduce underemployment by providing the jobs within the community. In addition, the local exchange of food and seeds promotes environmental conservation and community food security. Local food production reduces wasteful transportation and promotes self-reliance and genetic diversity. Each transaction within a local exchange system strengthens the community fabric as neighbours interact and meet one another.
There are over 1,000 local change programs worldwide more than 30 local paper currencies in North America and at least 800 Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) throughout Europe. New Zealand and Australia Local Exchange Systems vary and evolve in accordance with the needs and circumstances of the local area. This diversity is critical to the success of the local currencies. For instance, a bank in rural Massachusetts refused to lend a fanner the money needed to make it through the winter. In response, the farmer decided to print his own money Berkshire Farm Preserve Notes. In winter, customers buy the notes for $9 and they may redeem them in the summer for $10 worth of vegetables. The system enabled the community to help a farm family after being abandoned by the centralised monetary system. As small family farms continue to disappear at an alarming rate, local currencies provide tools for communities to bind together, support their local food growers and maintain their local food suppliers.
Local Exchange Systems are not limited to developed countries.Rural areas of Asia, Latin America and Africa have offered some of the most effective and important programs, by adopting agriculture-based systems of exchange rather than monetary ones. In order to preserve genetic diversity, economic security and avoid dependence on industrial seed and chemical companies, many villages have developed seed saving exchange banks. For example, the village women in Ladakh have begun to collect and exchange rare seeds selected for their ability to grow in a harsh mountain climate. This exchange system protects agriculture diversity while promoting self-reliance. There is no one blueprint for a local exchange system, which is exactly why they are successful vehicles for localisation and sustainability. They promote local economic diversity and regional self-reliance while responding to a region’s specific needs. Local exchange systems play a pivotal role in creating models for sustainable societies. They are an effective educational tool, raising awareness about the global financial system and local economic matters. Local exchange systems also demonstrate that tangible, creative solutions exist and that communities can empower themselves to address global problems.