Scrip (by Irving Fisher, 1933)
II. STAMP SCRIP AND BARTER EXCHANGES
The general advantages of scrip are explained in the text. Here I consider
its advantages for achieving the proposed country-wide hook-up of barter
I. Getting Organized
Instead of the rather intricate job of organizing a complete set of
systems within the country-wide system, the Exchange's work will concentrate
on issuing Stamp Scrip,
and doing the necessary publicity work to get it accepted, which simply
means betting it started. Once started, it will keep going without much
further attention. Local and mutual exchanges will receive all literature
and material for a "campaign" and will act as sub-agents in grant loans
or making payments to its members in Stamp Scrip.
II. Getting Spread
Being redeemable in legal tender, the scrip will the more readily enlist
outsiders not specifically enrolled in the exchange. It automatically enforces
the steady and active cooperation of all, and particularly of the unemployed
who receive it as relief. They must circulate it, and in many cases will
do pioneer work to get it accepted. Thus, because the needs of the individuals
are so varied, the scrip will spread over a great area, and this will automatically
eliminate the necessity of setting up special rosters of trades and professions.
This self-perpetuating action of the dated type is quite different from that of ordinary scrip money which would tend to circulate only within smaller circles.
III. Getting Financed
Each store accepting and circulating Stamp Scrip would automatically
become a contributing member of the "exchange". It would help to circulate
the scrip and would contribute to the expense of the hook-up by affixing
stamps. Financing and operating new manufacturing units is also done more
quickly and more easily with Stamp Scrip, as its use provides for a market.
All stores and jobbers accepting scrip will purchase their goods from the
factories where they can use it for payments.
One of the main advantages is that the initial capital need, be only a very small sum and most of it does not even have to be paid out, but can remain in a bank on deposit against any premature redemption requests. And as payments for stamps come in, this initial capital might successively be paid back to the lenders who helped start the hook-up.
IV. Simpler Accounting
There will be no need for special accounting between "outsiders" and
"insiders" of the exchange. Whoever uses Stamp Scrip becomes thereby an
"insider." It also thus makes unnecessary the recording of member-needs
and member services available. The balance among these will be established
almost automatically, as in ordinary trade in normal times.
V. Middleman Not Restored
The benefits of using a "system within the system" in eliminating the
profit taker are not lost. (Fair wages, material and cults of distribution
will, of course, have to be paid for in any case.)
VI. More Like Modern Life
Barter is primitive. With scrip you feel less primitive, hence less
reactionary, hence less discouraged. And that counts.