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System of Local Exchange (SEL)

A System of Local Exchange (SEL in french) gathers people who exchange goods, services and knowledge without using a classical currency system (national money). SEL members first define together a unit of account for the exchanges, which is usually based on time. In that sense, SELs are different from barter. This unit of measure can be called “salt”, “flour”, or “rock”, etc. It is an exchange value and not an accumulation of capital and can’t be used for speculation, exactly as a complementary currency.
If these Systems of Local Exchange originate from a reflection on the fight against precariousness and the monetarisation of social relations, they also turn out to be a way to recreate a social community through the exchanges, and can be implemented in the context of alternative experiences, new forms of citizenship and learning of the democracy. Following the idea of an economy of solidarity, they can be conceived as tools for local development or fight against exclusion [1].


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