To: Fourth World Review, 24 Abercorn Place, St. John's Wood, London NW8 9XP
From: Custom House, 7 High Street, Rye, Sussex TN31 7JE, England
Date: Guy Fawkes Day 1994
Attached please find a letter for publication in the letters section of Fourth World Review under the heading LETS Be Really Dangerous. The letter is the result of discussions during 1994 between Toni Pinschof and myself following your encouragement to Toni last Christmas to get in touch with me and return to the fray.
In my view the time is right for The Fourth World to claim credit for its early encouragement of Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS)...see for instance the reports by Tom Greco and myself from the 1986 Zurich Economic Forum (FWR Nr.19) and the important 1988 essay by Michael Linton and Tom Greco (FWR Nr.26). However, the continued success of LETS depends upon it being grounded in sound economic theory for the Fourth World must anticipate a series of well-funded attacks on both the LETS idea and on individual LETS operations over the next few years. These will almost certainly be accompanied by some particularly nasty dirty tricks, LETS being much more dangerous than Hazel Henderson.
Silvio Gesell, whose heart was with Proudhon and Kropotkin and whose criticism of conventional economics was directed against both the Capitalist and the Marxist economists, is particularly well-placed to provide the important theoretical links between Fourth World critiques of university economics, as in your essay Why The London School of Economics Should be Shut Down and the practical Fourth World activists muddling along in the real world with their LETS and SHARE systems.
In general I would hope to see the economic research group proposed by Toni Pinschof developing within an emergent framework of FW institutions...assemblies, commissions, action centres, research groups. But I also see a specific possibility for any emerging Association of Fourth World Nations to 'define itself into existence' by the simple expedient of putting its authority behind LETS money...not just yet, but, shall we say, on Guy Fawkes Day, 2000?
Peter W. Etherden
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