Love letters are invitation letters from one person to another, in exchange of a service or good that is provided. Each love letter is an invitation to a product or service to be consumed and issued by its provider: the artist who has affection with what they do. They do so, deliberately or indeliberately, against the current state of economic affairs in the world, as a sort of manifestation that people in economically scarce situations can live with one another, cherish their health and benefits together, endorsing cooperation over competition; by issuing their own currencies in the form of invitation letters to each other.
Love letters are issued in tangible forms by its creator and meant to be utilised in local environments in which individuals pursue their actions and generate their art* with a sense of communal relation to one another. It is meant to be pursued as a model for facilitating such cultural and artistic activities like gatherings and festivals in which individuals temporarily live in such non-standard-monetary spectrum. Within these settings, they continuously produce and share value with one another, with a strictly subjective aspect of defining what they believe and manifest "value" is, and exchanging with it. Each love letter is a unique, tangible object produced with affection of its creator. There's nonetheless a very vital importance in how it is circulated in an economy:
- They can be an invitation to exchange or consume a product or service by the issuer of the product/service , representing the value of the product/service (like a written, signed physical invitation letter, self issued token/coupon of some sort)
- They can be the product or service itself (such as a cup of lentils, plant seeds, a jewellery item, a handmade ceramic cup, or an hour massage etc.)
Shortly, as a culture-hack method intended to gradually reach widespread range of people, this project tries to help people become aware that money as it's commonly known is an artificial concept in our lives which in fact does not hold any value in itself in nature, but does so only by the means of its spending for a benefit.
Love letters are issued, consumed and utilised in much more holistic dimensions than what we're used to in spending money usually. They are meant to help groups of people bring about what they can best embark their intrinsic artistic drives and motives as well as serve the ideals of a community they feel they belong to or critical about. They can write a love letter just as a critic of the society they are part of for it to be read; and let it be exchanged in the community for other such goods, services, art or craft.
Boiling down the idea and necessity of money into its fundamental aspect; it is somewhat a tangible object corresponding to the value of the other object it is exchanged for. The digital solutions that are widespread popular these days, particularly those based on blockchain database technologies, are extremely new and yet immature in the history of humanity. Also their widespread adoption is much slower than they are wished to be by their enthusiasts. This is true not only because technologies that enable their usage are in their infancy; but also anthropologically speaking, humans in their general evolutionary spectrum are not yet fully capable of conceiving the power of these technologically advanced systems provide. Being such social animals with a lot of intellect and affection, one can claim that most humans in the world are craving for exchange of stuff that are all tangible, healthy, edible, and beneficial and not just some transactions in some servers in the other side of the world. Besides, perhaps, digitalisation of money is just another, mere binarisation of our lives with digits: 1s and 0s that definitively conclude interactions and their repercussions; leaving much less room for what value is and how we live in a cosmos in which nothing is straight, nothing is strictly determinate or binary as such.
By saying so, this project does not in any way try to discredit or compete with different initiatives working on digitalisation of money or should in no way be regarded as against them. In contrast, it could be a groundwork for more intimate and robust digitalisation technologies, currency models that are invented or to be invented and become a complementary force to them serving the same purpose of "flourishing commons".
Another motivation with these activities to actually help test qualities and weaknesses of varying models of community currencies which do not necessarily require advanced digital infrastructures to pertain their usage. Currency designers could sponsor or hire a set of individuals working within this framework, to prototype the dynamics of their currencies in usage.
Initially, it is probably most appropriate to facilitate these activities with artists who already create value: craftspeople, artisans, musicians, painters, dancers, circus artists, culture makers, builders, chefs, (ecologic) farmers etc. Basically anyone who practice what they love and produce value in the way they wish are going to be welcome to participate to the activities, inspired by the values behind the Labor is Love organisation, the initiative behind this.
This is intended to be developed and maintained as a soft, open source model for human beings to freely try and transform in their communities, in any part of the world.
While the world is undergoing an epidemic, it is hard to make any kind of gathering. But in fact there are quite a few sites where people naturally do so anyways.
In the short term, small villages where artists and creatives already reside such as ecologic farms could be best places to pursue such things, since they already have such activities for which they require gatherings and already live in such proximity to each other that is required. This could for example be a place in the world that is least affected by Covid-19, like Sri Lanka, where the author of this document is already present.
In the mid/long-term, this could try to be the new "concept-model" for bottom-up, grassroots way of collectively organising artist markets in various parts of the world.
This project is to be pursued by an organisation called "Labor is Love", which researches, creates and promotes flexible systems for individuals to practice what they love doing as their mode of labor, with which they may gain their living. Labor is Love is grounded in Sweden. However its operations are international.
Where will the Funds go
The funds will be spent on facilitation of different programs to cover necessary costs for the incubation period of this culture-hack initiative, such as:
- Renting activity spaces and their maintenance,
- Supporting artists for the procurement of their artefacts,
- Attaining relevant resources like tools,
- Materials and machinery,
- Creating marketing material and services to communicate activities in relevant mediums.
- Potentially limited salaries/rewards for those who dedicate significant labor to designed action plans
Labor is Love: https://www.laborislove.se
Grassroots Economics: https://www.grassrootseconomics.org
Circles UBI: https://joincircles.net
And several conversations with @Julio and @WillRuddick
and talks by @matslats