Category Archives: Bartercard

Why I don’t love Bartercard any more

Isn’t it a pity when great ideas are implemented in ways that are not so great?

Well, Wayne Sharpe, the founder of Bartercard, told me clearly why he did it: he saw a commercial opportunity. That’s great, for Bartercard could be a social business in the way that Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof. Dr. Muhammad Yunus thinks the future of capitalism could be influenced by people like you and me – despite the “establishment of institutions and governments” that are notoriously slow and ineffective.

Now he writes: … in simple terms we have been unable to use the event really.. our attempts to try to gain press or credibility from this have not really been effectual, as frankly our demographic target market does not fit into the higher level agenda.

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Challenging the Recession: Programme

Challenging the Recession – Can we change the Economy? Yes, we can!

Thursday, April 23, 2009, 11am – House of Commons
Grand Committee Room

After 10 years of Forum meetings with topics ranging from what has been contributing to the CAUSES of monetary problems to the EFFECTS of these problems on financial levels in the regulatory environment, this one addresses current problems and suggested solutions, at whatever level of influence we may have. Our panel of speakers will be open for dialogue, so that constituents won’t feel isolated and powerless:

Lord Sudeley, co-founder of the Forum at the House of Lords in 1998: after his great-grandfather was made bankrupt by Lloyds Bank in 1893 and his grandmother’s will was executed to the detriment of the heirs, Lord Sudeley who will highlight how grouping complaints changed the law in the 15th century. His Wikipedia entry is on,_7th_Baron_Sudeley

Austin Mitchell MP for Grimsby, Chairman of the Forum since 2005, received the Attwood Award in 2008 for his constant commitment to monetary reform during his time as MP, not Old Labour but positive geriatric, as he writes on his blog on

Derek Wyatt MP for Sittingbourne & Sheppey, was a Labour councillor for Archway in North London before being elected in 1997. In 2004, Derek was voted one of the top 100 internet visionaries, and his website has won three international awards. He formed the All Party Internet Group in 1997, and merged three IT Groups into the All Party Communications Group.

Michael Grimsdale ACIB, Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, was in banking for 26 years with Lloyds and TSB, leaving as a manager in 1993. He now works freelance as a business advisor and consultant, visiting accountants, solicitors and banks on behalf of his clients. In this process, he has encountered so many wrong-doings that he wants to create the Foundation for Change to guarantee access to lawyers for people who are refused legal aid and have no funds left to fight their cases.

Abdallah Homouda is a political scientist who has been working in Britain and Egypt as a highly respected journalist and TV commentator. He has attended many Forum meetings and is particularly interested in attempts to introduce the merits of Islamic economics within the efforts to reform Western capitalism.

The meeting will be recorded on video, and participation will be on a first come, first serve basis. The meeting is sponsored by Bartercard and will be facilitated by the organiser Sabine K McNeill who was a software diagnostician at CERN where the web was born, before coming to London in 1981. As an experienced event organiser and passionate networker, she started the first LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) in London which taught her about the principles and governance of the issuing of currency. Since 1996 she developed innovative software methods and set up her company 3D Metrics.

Right after Budget Day, the audience will be composed from a number of contact lists, including the Singapore Business Group and the signatories of the Forum’s online petitions:

Stop the Cash Crumble to Equalize the Credit Crunch

and Financial Fairness for Voters and Taxpayers, please!

Please email if you want to attend.

With the Singapore Business Group

Last night I was given a great welcome at the meeting of the Singapore Business Group which was hosted by Stephenson Harwood, a law firm that has a number of offices in Asia.

While outlining the problems of the Global Financial Crisis, I presented Bartercard as the ‘private business solution’.

Here are the 13 slides.

One Italian business man who attended has already signed our online petition!

Why I Love Bartercard: because it provides ‘mutual credit’

Let me count the ways:

  1. As an enterprise, Bartercard started in Australia which to my German / Slavic mindset promises to come from a reasonably sound money culture. Having established bank accounts in five different countries in my life, I am aware of significant differences between emotional attitudes towards money.
  2. As a company, Bartercard has been around since 1991 and it has visibly improved substantially, since I last visited their offices some 5-6 years ago.
  3. “Trade pounds” is the right name for the right purpose as the UK  “barter currency”.
  4. Bartercard’s computer system is as comprehensive as possible and has clearly grown ‘from experience’.
  5. Bartercard’s ‘means of payment’ are excellent, too: a credit card, on-line facilities, vouchers and even transfers from mobile phone to mobile phone!
  6. Bartercard means usury-free banking, ethical accounting and has the potential of a social business in the definition of Nobel Peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus: non-loss, non-dividend (the franchise model is apparently under discussion) and for the benefit (rather than the exploitation) of its member clients.
  7. One of the Bartercard directors has had his own experience of being overcharged by Lloyds. So he knows how important it is to create ethical alternatives to what has been described as being ‘criminogenic’: a legal privilege ruled by self-regulation…

From our LETS experience, we could contribute the ‘passbook’ as an additional means of payment: the balance is open for every trader to see, and counter signatures demonstrate the ‘mutual credit’ principle, on which complementary currencies are based.

The passbook comes from the former DDR and is designed for individuals and senior citizens who grew up before Internet times or still like pen and paper!