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The Ecumenics Party

"biblical solutions to social problems"

The Clothing Exchange

Exchanges are as varied as conventional businesses are in fact more so as Exchanges can be contrived to provide social goods as well as more conventional forms of goods and services. There are several things Exchanges have in common, they all create economic development and they all eliminate debt and poverty. 

It is difficult to understand how Exchanges eliminate debt without understanding how they operate in the context of an economy. To hlep you understand how Exchanges operate these scenarios have been developed. This present scenario is am Exchange created to sell and exchange lightly used clothing.

So, we initially assume a group of persons have come together with the intention to to provide an outlet for used clothings. The group formalizes itself as an Exchange (The Clothes Exchange). Its mission is to reduce costs of clothing for members. The Exchange is registered as a not for profit charitable institution with a mission to buy and sell member's clothes at reasonable cost. All profits go towards the charitable purpose of the organization. A more general purpose would be to reduce costs or to eliminate member debt.

The Clothes Exchange (CE) is a charitable institution owned by members. Each member is given one Common Share. This is an ownership share and entitles each member to vote at board meetings and to an equal share of profits. Each member votes as to the disbursements of any earnings made.

The not for profit Exchange issues charitable receipts for donations received. Jill provides 10 dresses with a value of $500.00. Jill is given a charitable receipt for $500.00. This charitable receipt can be used to lower the tax liabilities of Jill or to purchase Preferred Shares. Preferred Shares are claims on the equity of the CE. Jill provided 10 dresses. These become assets of the CE. The dresses have a value of $500.00 so the CE has acquired $500.00 worth of equity. This equity allows The Clothes Exchange (CE) to issue a charitable receipt equal to the value of the donation received. The charitable receipt represents the equity acquired. The charitable receipt may be exchanged for 500 preferred shares, each preferred share being valued at $1.00. Preferred Shares represent the equity of the Exchange not taken as a tax rebate.

Preferred Shares are issued in multiples of each other the same way conventional currency is. Preferred Shares are fully backed by the equity of the organization. 

Capitalizing a CE may be done through the sale of bonds and through the accumulation of goods and services in exchange for Preferred Shares and charitable receipts.

We shall for the purposes of this illustration assume a Clothes Exchange has been made fully operational, meaning;

  • A place has been found and financed. 
  • The business has been organized and registered. 
  • Preferred Shares have been printed and issued.
  • A Board of Directors has been voted in.
  • A Chair has been appointed.
  • A CEO has been appointed and he or she has appointed or hired staff.
  • Stock has been acquired, displayed and priced.

All members have donated goods, helped set up the business, provided capital goods and equipment or done some work of some kind and so all members have acquired a number of preferred shares equal to the amount of value they provided for the organization. These preferred shares are issued as a local currency called ecus (E). Ecus are dollars without debt. Members may also purchase bonds and/or preferred shares. Preferred shares are referred to as ecus when used as a currency. Jill with E500.00 can purchase E500.00 worth of clothes or bonds or some combination of both. 

Members who are employed by the organization are paid a living wage. This could be set at E15.00 - E18.00 or whatever the organization thinks reflects a fair wage. 

Members are hired to fill spots and paid using preferred shares. As much as possible all expenses are paid for in ecus.  When bonds are sold and when profits made the money goes into a trust account. The profits from sales are used to expand the business. Trust account money is used to pay down member debt. The equity of the debt becomes an asset of the Exchange. The member has her debit account increased by the amount of the debt. This is paid off as the member creates credits.

As members join, and assets increase they can be used to set up additional Exchanges of different types. The intent of the mission is always to transfer power back to the lowest possible level that is create responsible government. As power is transferred to the base citizens acquire control over their political jurisdictions.