Local Trade and Exchange/Employment Systems (LETS) in Future Eco-sustainable Societies

in Anthropology in Action
Author:
Richard Westra Nagoya University westrarj@aim.com

Search for other papers by Richard Westra in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

All communities of practice must face questions relating to the material economic foundations of future sustainable societies. David Graeber, Karl Polanyi and Karl Marx each have produced typologies of possible types of economy, synthesised as: (1) the principle of individual reciprocity, (2) the market principle of capitalism, and (3) the planning principle of the state. I apply this synthesis to recent proposals for community change advanced by Bill McKibben and David Korten concerning economic scale and the re-localising of production and consumption sundered by globalisation, focused on the local exchange and trading system (LETS). The operationalising of LETS draws upon Adam Smith’s view of markets as face-to-face exchanges of goods taking place in small morality-bound communities. Smith, McKibben and Korten conflate two different meanings of the term ‘exchange’. To understand the role LETS may play in future sustainable economies in communities of practice demands treatment of this problem.

Contributor Notes

Richard Westra received his PhD from Queen’s University, Canada in 2001. He has taught at universities around the world including Queen’s University and Royal Military College, Canada; International Study Center, East Sussex UK; College of The Bahamas, Nassau; and Pukyong National University, Pusan, South Korea. He has been a Visiting Research Fellow at Focus on the Global South/Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Currently he is Designated Professor, Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University, Japan. His work has been published in numerous international peer-reviewed academic journals. He is author or editor of fourteen books including Unleashing Usury: How Finance Opened the Door for Capitalism Then swallowed it Whole, Clarity, 2016; and Exit from Globalization, Rout-ledge, 2014. E-mail: westrarj@aim.com

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Anthropology in Action

Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice

  • Duplessis, R. S. (2004), Transitions to Capitalism in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

  • Graeber, D. (2012), Debt: The First 5,000 Years (New York: Melville House).

  • Greco, T. (2009), The End of Money and the Future of Civilization (White River Junction: Chelsea Green).

  • Heinberg, R. (2011), The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers).

  • Hill, C. (1969), Reformation to Industrial Revolution (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books).

  • Korten, D. C. (2009), Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler).

  • Marx, K. [1857] (2015), Grundrisse, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm (accessed January 5 2015).

  • Marx, K. [1859] (20145), A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/index.htm (accessed January 5 2015).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marx, K. [1867] (20145), Capital, Vol. 1, Afterword to the Second German Edition, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ (accessed January 5 2015).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McKibben, B. (2007), Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future (New York: Henry Holt and Company).

  • McKibben, B. (2011), Eaarth: Making Life on a Tough New Planet (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin).

  • Polanyi, K. (1957), The Great Transformation (Boston: Beacon Press).

  • Polanyi, K. (1977), The Livelihood of Man (London: Academic Press).

  • Rockström, J. Steffen, K. Noone, Å. Persson, F. S. Chapin, III, E. Lambin, T. M. Lenton, M. Scheffer, C. Folke, H. Schellnhuber, B. Nykvist, C. A. De Wit, T. Hughes, S. van der Leeuw, H. Rodhe, S. Sörlin, P. K. Snyder, R. Costanza, U. Svedin, M. Falkenmark, L. Karlberg, R. W. Corell, V. J. Fabry, J. Hansen, B. Walker, D. Liverman, K. Richardson, P. Crutzen, and J. Foley et al. (2009), ‘Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity’, Ecology and Society, 14, no. 2, http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art32 (accessed December 3 2014).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scott, J. C. (1998), Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, A. [1776] (2015), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN1.html #B.I,%20Ch.2 (accessed January 5 2015).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Speth, J. G. (2008), The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability (New Haven: Yale University Press).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Westra, R. (2011), ‘Renewing Socialist Development in the Third World’, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 41, no. 4: xx–xx 519-543.

  • Westra, R. (2012/13), ‘Capital as Dialectical Economic Theory’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, Special Issue on Capital against Capitalism: New Research in Marxist Political Economy, 70: xx–xx 233-250.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Westra, R. (2014), Exit from Globalization (London: Routledge).

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 473 364 13
Full Text Views 189 3 0
PDF Downloads 172 4 2