Stamp 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
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
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.