PAUL GLOVER ESSAYS: community control of food, fuel, housing, health care, planning, education, finance.
Powerful Average People
by Paul Glover          December 1991

We and our children have good food, secure housing, proper medical care, education and clothing when we have enough money.  Sometimes, despite hard work, we don't have a fair chance to earn the dollars we need.  This happens when the people who control money move factories away, or refuse loans for house repairs and new busiensses, or pay low wages, or raise taxes and prices too fast.  When these things happen, average people can lose jobs, health, homes and hope.

In many American communities, however, average people are taking action to make sure they get creative jobs, healthy environments and enough money.  They do this by starting local lindustries, trhough community development corporations, to make jobs and necessary products.  They do this by spending their money with smaller locally-owned businesses, by keeping wealth local to enrich themselves, and by avoiding environmentally bad products.  They do this by banking their money in democratically-owned credit unions.  They do this by reducing waste of fuel.  And they do this by joining a barter list, and using local money.
Anybody who can wake up in the morning has something to offer others.  From artwork to yardwork, the growing list inside shows that if you have a little time you can earn spending power.  You could start a business on needs like those displayed inside.  This month's Barter List introduces 150 local people willing to swap for goods and services.  Together they provide over 500 job opportunities: they offer and request work that could become regular income for themselves or for you.

When the number of swappers reachs its first 1,000 we will be a notable part of the local economy.  Well have the capacity to combine talents, to start larger export enterprises.    That's what this paper is about: promoting a grassroots locally-controlled economy-- one that produces goods here, exports more and imports less.

Nobody who lives in the Ithaca area needs to wait for a beter job, or wait for any job.  Rather than hope that new factories open, rather than study the help-wanted ads, rather than expect that interst rates stay down, Ithacans can hire each other.

You're welcome to join the list, by mailing the form on page 7.  The special feature of our barter network is that we use Ithaca HOURS, the labor credit note shown below.  When you sign up to offer your goods or services in part or full payment with HOURS, you get paid four HOURS for doing so.  Look at the list to see how you can spend them.