Garden of Exchange

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

What is "money"? What makes its value?

Money is a mean of exchange that uses pieces of metal (gold, silver, copper, bronze, nickel, etc.), paper notes (bills, checks...). Since money gets passed around quickly, it flows like a current. Thus, circulating money is called currency. Today, paper and silver currencies have almost become extinct since the majority of business transactions on the planet happen via computers.          

In fact, monies and currencies only represent the shadows of the wealth on our planet. They are simply based on a common agreement. Our trust in its value is what gives power to money. It is through using dollars, euros, and other currencies in exchange for products and services that I make them valuable.

The financial system manages our money because we allow it to do so. In order to take back our power over money, we must now learn to manage it ourselves. The Garden for All Manner of Exchange is the ideal tool to regain our sovereignty over our own wealth.

 

Why should I choose the G.A.M.E. rather than legal money or currency? FIAT money vs FAIR money.

The money we use on a daily basis, and which is officially recognized by the State, is in fact fiat money – legal tender based on a debt incurred by a government. The State borrows this money from banks that create it out of nothing. When I use this fiat money, I exchange products or services against thin air! However, these products and services represent work that involves time, materials, knowledge, and experience from a human being. When I use G.A.M.E. points, I offer products or services (work) against time. Later, this computed time will allow me to get products or services (work). When I use fiat money to buy a product or service, I commit a theft. It is a fraud!

FIAT MONEY = WORK vs THIN AIR = 0 EXCHANGE
FAIR MONEY = WORK vs WORK = EXCHANGE

Usury (interest on money) is the tool that allows the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. Using usury, political ploys (wars, pandemics, coup d’état, terrorism), and economic ups-and-downs (crises, inflation, devaluation), global bankers are able to create phenomenal national debts in each country. When the interests on these debts become too difficult to pay, bankers force politicians to give away their country’s natural resources and privatize their public systems. Total control by the rich can only happen through usury.

Despite their name, the central banks controlling each country’s official money system are extremely lucrative private corporations that belong to a few elite families. When I use fiat money (legal cash, credit and debit cards, stocks and shares, or just a bank account), I collaborate with these global bankers and I encourage world poverty. By cooperating with this usury system, I allow it to exist! In reality, it is possible to live without banks. One simply needs to organize and use another type of money without usury. Eventually, this usury-free money will replace fiat money.

 

Is it really possible to work with an exchange system only?

YES, it is! Some people around the world live exclusively on exchange systems, on a voluntary basis without sacrificing their quality of life. You can live very comfortably. Actually, by using a money or an exchange system that does not use usury (interest on money), you enrich your community and wealth for ALL becomes possible. All I need is to put my trust in exchange systems and don't use any legal money or currencies as much as possible. In the end, depending on the users motivation, the exchange system will naturally overtake the monetary system.

 

How do I start and make my first G.A.M.E. transaction?

It’s easy! First attend a meeting, then register with a group and start offering a product or service to a GAMEr. You’re in! You will start with a positive income and will immediately enrich the community. Contact us for the next G.A.M.E. meeting in your area. For more information on how to join the G.A.M.E. follow this link.

 

I don't know what to offer to other GAMErs? I have no special talent, how can I get started?

Everyone has something to offer to others, a hidden talent that you can do well for the community. For ideas, check the offers and requests of other GAMErs in your area and get to know them on a personal basis.  You might discover there's actually something that you can do.  Here is a list of ideas that can also help you explore new possibilities.

As mentioned before, make sure when you choose to provide a service or product, you do it with enthusiasm. Ask yourself the following questions before commiting to providing a service or a product. What would I enjoy doing so much that I would be willing to pay to do it (for the sake of the question only, not in reality)? What do I do in my free time? Knitting? Sewing? Gardening? Cooking? Photography? Handyman? You might find something that could help the community. It is time for you to share your hidden skills with others! Here are examples of offers and requests from three GAMErs.

 

#

 

NAME

 

OFFERS

 

REQUESTS

 

UPDATED

1

Helen

Maintenance, gardening, hairdressing, white roller blind, square shovel

Massage courses, ready-made meals, help with renovation, DVD player

 

Date

2

Sammy

Spanish courses, office help, 32” TV set, electrical repair, piano lessons

Tennis partner, hybrid bicycle, English courses, housecleaning

 

Date

3

Gertrude

Ext./int. painting, kayak, car sharing to Montreal, care for sick people

Medicinal plants, fire-wood, homemade beer or wine, detective novels

 

Date

 

What usually happens during a G.A.M.E. meeting?

The GAME meetings vary from one area to another but most of them consist of the following events:

  • A presentation of the G.A.M.E. for new GAMERs. You will be able to ask any questions you might have about mutual support and exchange in order to start on the right foot with your G.A.M.E. booklet.
  • All decisions regarding any agenda items are made by unanimous concensus by the members who are present that day at the meeting. If some cases require more attention, a committee will be formed and will suggest some recommendations to the group for the next meeting.
  • A meeting where each GAMEr  shares their current offers and requests.
  • A market where GAMErs would bring their products and goods. Everything can be exchanged, new or used: telephones, coats, skis, DVD’s, books, maple syrup, preserves, jewelry…  Products and goods change at each meeting.
  • A community meal (potluck) where you could try delicious dishes while sharing an interesting conversation with other GAMErs.
  • Community mutual support. A meeting can be preceded by or followed by some community works, picnics, dance,   poetry, theater or music  show. If there is an exchange, it is in G.A.M.E. points. No money, no currency.

 

If a G.A.M.E. point is worth a minute, does everybody then receive the same number of points for the same amount of time? Will both a plumber or a babysitter receive 60 points an hour?

Yes and no. Once the basic unit, the minute, is established, we can help each other the way we want. Since the G.A.M.E. is self-managed,  I can ask the number of points that I feel is fair. The other GAMEr can 1) Refuse, 2) Accept or 3) Offer something else. I can exchange for 100, 150 or 200 points per hour. Everything is possible, as long as the two GAMErs agree on the same number of points.

Most of the time, GAMErs ask 60 points for exchanges that require less expertise (weeding, painting, cleaning, gardening…). The amount increases when the service comes from a person with experience or that the knowledge or service requires an advance knowledge, skill or equipment: hairdresser, IT services, translation, massage, healing sessions, electricity, construction, graphic design, etc.

Some people find this way of helping unfair and would like everybody to receive the same reward/payment for the same time. However, exchange systems that require a single hour rate often have less participants and, most of all, services far less interesting and varied.  When people are free to agree between themselves, the number of GAMErs and the variety of services and products increase in quality and quantity.

 

How do I evaluate the number of points a product is worth when the unit is based on time?

It’s easy! Countries participating in the G.A.M.E. generally use a minimum wage of $10 per hour. An hour is worth 60 minutes, therefore 60 points. We can say then:

60 points = $10
6 points = $1

In this way, a 2 lb bag of organic carrots that would normally be sold at the market for $5.00 would be worth

6 points x $5 = 30 G.A.M.E. points.

Of course, the farmer can ask the number of points s/he wants for this exchange but the consumer will decide if s/he accepts it or not. Since we are still used to thinking in dollars rather than G.A.M.E. points, all we need to do is to multiply the dollars by 6 to get the equivalent in G.A.M.E. points.

 

Is there an inconvenience in having a negative balance in the booklet?

Yes and no. A big negative or a big positive balance automatically leads to questions during an exchange. If I accumulate a lot of negative points, it means that I don’t offer anything that encourages mutual support within the community. It is time that I re-evaluate my contribution to the G.A.M.E.. What can I offer for exchange? What product, knowledge or service can I offer that is not available in the G.A.M.E. of my area?

If I offer a product or service to someone with a large negative balance, I can decide to check his/her book. Did s/he exchange a lot or not? Does s/he alternate between positive and negative exchanges? If not is s/he always in the negative? This would mean that s/he demands a lot but doesn’t offer any mutual support services to the community. I can make exchange suggestions to the person or share my own needs so that s/he could fulfill it and accumulate positive points. I can also decide not to exchange with him/her by explaining my concern. The G.A.M.E. is a tool for community mutual support. Each of us can influence, in our own way, a positive, dynamic group.

On the other hand, if a person has a large positive balance, I can suggest to her/him, to take advantage of the others’ offers more often and remind her/him that the GAME is not a system of accumulation of wealth like money or currency but instead a system of exchange of wealth.   The more transactions there are,  the more the community grows richer.

 

My friend has a G.A.M.E. booklet filled with points and complains that she cannot use them because there is a lack of interesting products and services. What can she do?

This is a good opportunity for her to publicize the Garden for All Manners of Exchange in her community. The more GAMErs, the more products and services! Advise her to start telling every one around her about the G.A.M.E. and to offer popular products or services in G.A.M.E. points to non-GAMErs. She can also distribute fliers announcing the dates of monthly meetings and help in organizing events to promote the G.A.M.E. in her area. A large positive balance is a great booster for community action, when the GAMEr accepts to see it that way.

 

If the G.A.M.E. book is self-managed, it is easy for a GAMEr to cheat by writing down false transactions. Is this a common problem?

Do not forget that it is possible to cheat in all systems of exchange and all types of monies, whether they are based on barter, bank notes, checks, credit cards, or shells! Some people print counterfeit fiat money or false local money. Others write bad checks or steal someone else’s credit card. Some do not give back the money they borrowed from friends, family, or banking institutions. Yet others make illegal transfers from one bank account to another via the Internet.

        In the case of the Garden for All Manner of Exchange, if someone writes a false transaction in their G.A.M.E. book in order to create points out of thin air, the whole community suffers, but no one in particular. That is why it is important to remain cautious when making a transaction with a stranger. If the number of points exchanged is large, I can wait and make the transaction later. This gives me time to check their book’s balance by contacting a few people who made transactions in the past with this unknown GAMEr. A telephone number or an email address should be available in their book. Another solution would be to contact the G.A.M.E. facilitator in their area.

        If an active GAMEr decides to cheat, s/he will quickly be discovered and put on the black list in their area. Word of mouth allows information to travel extremely fast. The other local GAMErs will refuse to make transactions with the swindler. S/he will quickly discover that GAMErs in various regions do communicate this type of information very quickly from one area to the next.

 

What to do when I am not satisfied with an exchange?

The reputation of a person who offers a poor quality service, knowledge or product is quickly affected within any mutual support environment, no matter what tool is used (money, currency, exchange…). A hairdresser who doesn’t cut hair well is not going to have a lot of clients, whether we pay cash or thank her by offering her G.A.M.E. points. During the meetings, people talk. It’s word of mouth, about “good” exchanges as well as “bad” ones. Mutual support works through satisfaction.

On the other hand, if a hairdresser does a good job, s/he will have a loyal clientele because the GAMErs prefer to get products, knowledge and services based on mutual support of the Garden of Exchange over the equivalent payable with money. The G.A.M.E. group would end up having its hairdresser, translator, painter, poet, graphic designer, gardener, etc.

 

I am an active GAMEr in my area but I plan to move soon to an area where the GAME doesn’t exist. What should I do?

You have 2 options: 1) You can decide to create a new group in the area you are moving into. In this case, read the section How to start a group? and contact us for assistance.

2) Read the following section I want to leave the G.A.M.E., what should I do?

 

I want to leave the G.A.M.E, what should I do?

When we start to play the G.A.M.E. for the first time, our booklet’s balance starts at zero. On the back of the booklet, we can read the following:

If I decide to leave the G.A.M.E.,
I agree to bring my book's balance back to zero
out of respect for all other GAMErs.

It is important to bring the balance back to zero when we decide to leave the G.A.M.E. network.

If my balance is positive, I can give my points to someone else, exchange them with another type of money, or use them to acquire products and services. The idea is to use any remaining G.A.M.E. points.
If my balance is negative, I would have to offer products, knowledge or services in exchange in order to balance the mutual support and to accumulate the necessary points to put the balance back to zero. I can also exchange money for G.A.M.E. points to someone with a positive balance. As you can see, it is always easy to put the balance back to zero. All it needs is to choose to honor the agreement at the beginning and go into action.

 

With the G.A.M.E., am I really able to get all the products and services that I need in daily life?

The larger the number of GAMErs, the more chance I have of getting products and services that I want through the G.A.M.E. An Australian GAMEr has estimated that it would take about 200 GAMErs to fill all the basic needs of a community. In order to achieve this, competition needs to disappear and be replaced by a conscious move towards numerous products and services.

In order to achieve this, each individual needs to put all their energy into discovering their own hidden talents and finding out how these can help fill the unmet needs in their own environment. The G.A.M.E.’s purpose is to satisfy both the wellbeing of all GAMErs in an area and the individual fulfilment of each GAMEr. Any other type of exchange is doomed to failure.

 

What is the secret for a dynamic and long lasting G.A.M.E. group and network?

At the beginning, those who start using the G.A.M.E. are enthusiastic. The same goes with the person who introduces the G.A.M.E. in her/his community. With time, the enthusiasm wanes. Since any change brings about a resistance, it is difficult to change one’s way of thinking and habits. How can we let go of the present international banking system of exploitation to self-managed exchange? The key is consciousness.

When individuals become conscious of how the international monetary system really works (see fiat money), many are courageous enough to search for solutions. When they realize that, since their inception, bankers have always financed both sides of all wars and organized economic crises, some people are brave enough to close their bank accounts for good. In fact, what allows our legal monetary system to remain in place is that we still actively participate in them. When individuals learn that viable and functional alternatives to fiat money already exist, they decide to use them as their primary money.

The secret of long lasting dynamic groups comes from that their members are highly aware of the dead end that our old monetary system is, who are highly motivated to gain their individual sovereignty especially towards money, and who are commited to use the G.A.M.E. as their primary money of exchange as often as possible. More concretely, for a G.A.M.E. community to last and remain dynamic over time, each GAMEr decides to participate to meetings and make exchanges as often as possible. Their members are also very creative in the products and services that they offer. They tend to listen to the community's needs and try to fill up the gap as much as possible when a product or service is in demand. A group that meets regularly, offers a large array of quality and useful products and services, and whose members are very active in promoting the G.A.M.E to their community, is more likely to become successful for the long run...

 

I have few ideas to improve the G.A.M.E. Can I make some changes?

After 12 years, the conclusion is "do not change the rules of the G.A.M.E". They have stood the test of time and survived the rebelliousness of many people who constantly insisted on doing things their own way. In order for the G.A.M.E. to remain universal and compatible from one person to the next, anywhere on the planet, the fundamental unit and the basic rules must remain the same. However flexibility and creativity is encouraged regarding the organization of a group, the way of promoting the G.A.M.E., facilitating the exchanges and connecting with members.

 

Why can't I find more groups on the internet? I'd like my group to have a website and use social networking sites to promote the G.A.M.E. and connect members. Can I do that?

The reason why we cannot find more groups via the internet is because many groups and people prefer not having exposure. Each group decides through unanimous concensus between members to have an internet exposure or not. If you want to use the advantage of the internet, there is no problem as long as you respect other GAMErs' choice not to have their information shared through a website or social networking sites (facebook, twitter, etc). If you feel that developping networking this way is important, you can create your own group with people sharing the same vision. Remember that any information shared on the internet and through social networking sites becomes public information.

How do we connect with people from other groups?

Since many groups do not want internet exposure, members use the oldest fashion of connecting: word of mouth! Facilators are usually connected with one or several other group facilitators in their respective country and worldwide. Long-term members are also connected with people of other groups and many people keep in file the list and information of all the groups around the world. If you want to connect with groups in specific areas or countries, ask your facilator to put you in contact with the people s/he knows already or connect with groups that are listed in our resources section. The word spreads pretty fast and connections are made rapidly. If you create a group or know about a group, please send us an email with the contact information of the group facilitor. We try to keep this website updated in order to better assist G.A.M.E.Rs in connecting with each others.

Should I report my exchanges with the tax agencies?

If you want to be part of the G.A.M.E. for tax evasion, then it's definetly the wrong reason to join - it means that you missed the whole point about the G.A.M.E.'s purpose. To answer the question, depending on your country's regulations and your consciousness, you are free to do whatever you feel is right to do. But in general, the G.A.M.E. does not fall into tax regulations since it is a private exchange between individuals for non profit - unlike commercial transactions between legal/moral persons, corporations, etc which are aimed for business and profits. Indeed, the G.A.M.E is a 'money' of circulation (and not of accumulation as we tend to do with legal money) to support the well-being of our family and community. Exchanging is the most natural and spontaneous way of interaction used by people since the appearance of mankind on the planet. Without exchanges, social and family organizations would not function. We do exchanges every day with our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. The only difference is that we usually do not pay attention to them and we don't write them down on a piece of paper. Still they are exchanges. When my neighbor offers to help me weed my garden and I feel to thank her by giving her some vegetables that I grow, it's an exchange. When I help my old mother to clean her house and in exchange she cooks my favorite dish, it's also an exchange. Do I report these exchanges to the tax agencies. Of course not. The concept of the G.A.M.E is no different. It's particularity is that it offers more flexibility than bartering, and it creates fairer and more balanced exchanges between individuals.

 

 

Exchange ... Locally ...

and ... Internationally !