Goods exchange, swap and alternative money communities I.


The coming topic is one that makes me enthusiastic. I’ve got the impression that Suska (pron. Shooshka) and all the similar movements have a very important key role in the process of transforming our society to a much more humane form. So I felt that this article cannot remain left out of my website either. Read it with love and an open heart!

 
Originally published (in Hungarian language) in the (III. /2013-05) issue of Napi Elemozsia Magazin on page 50.

An article plus an interview with EzVanZsac, owner of publisher EzVan Kiado and founder of Suska community.

Suska (1)Amazing innovative, constructive and straightforward initiatives are born nowadays. With this new beginning, a new era and new energies it comes naturally together that we look upon our everyday lives from a different, new perspective, “with a new eye”. Our approach of things changes. Newer and newer great solutions are found to make others’ lives easier just as our own. These innovations are here to let us put down unnecessary burdens which we have carried for long line of generations due to much brainwash, and that we could admit it is possible in a different way.

It can be easier. Life can be easy and more or less without problems. It is possible that we pay attention on each other and that we support one another and ourselves with love. It is possible that we cooperate in a new, creative way. With this, we start laying down a new track of a road towards the coming of a more humane, more placid, more responsible and more efficiűent world. When we adopt these things and put them into practice, we find that these are not even new. What’s new is that this is happening on a much larger scale than ever before in written history. (Although if we view history as well in a new way, we might realise that we were lied to and our history is even longer and more eventful than how we were taught – and we might accept that probably our history consists of long-long cycles which periodically reoccur. If it is so, then we might conclude that there must have been a time when people treated each other like this, their outlook on life was similar and they lived this way.) The way between efficiency, productivity and the human race stands – it seems – a proven device of ours.

I’m talking about money.
Although probably the problem is not money itself. More and more courses, academies, and many excellent experts we have at hand so that we could learn how to use money and even make miracles with it.
It’s good.

Then what’s wrong?

If money rules our life and we cannot break up with it if and when that’s timely and necessary, that is a problem. The system that operates and circulates money is based on corrupt and faulty values. This monetary system assumes that value is money – and not the human being. This translates into the extremes as “if you haven’t got money, let you be homeless and die of starvation”. Nevertheless every human being, who has been born to this globe has equal right to live here just as any other living beings. This system takes away this right and claims that you can only live and eat if you possess this device. This is the great fault of this system. In global levels we can say – hopefully for not too long – that this rules life on the Earth.
I think it is good to learn how to handle money, but we mustn’t let it rule our lives. We had let it do it, because it was we who made it possible for this system to evolve into its todays shape. We the people had yielded to it and let this monetary system and its upside down values to become determinant.

What can we do then?

Here’s an awesome example which I’m showing you here below. In small steps we can avoid and do without money. In many situations there is no need for intermediate devices to get the end product we need. Of course no initiatives are perfect in their first shapes in which they appear, so there must be ways to improve it and make it even better, but their basic features including opennes, humane-ness, friendly and benevolent motives and the desire for change and making everything more humane make it possible and guarantee continuous change and improvements. Every initiative is just one small step on the way towards creating a better world, but these small steps add up to a giant leap and let’s not forget that the longests of journeys begin with and continue with a series of small steps until we reach our destination. Not to mention that sometimes the journey itself bears higher importance than the goal or destination itself.

Let’s see how it looks in practice.

A man who is not a revolutionist, but tends to come up with a series     Zsac

of revolutionary things. A man, who does not want to change the world, however, with everything he does adds a great deal to the changing of the world into a very good direction. Does not want to impress people, however does it to a great many. A youngster and a man of the world, but an elderly wise hermit speaks out of him every time he opens his mouth.
He does a hell lot of things, but from this great many there is one which took hold of my interest and I find it exceedingly exciting. Zsac was happy to answer my questions when I approached him. Though he is always exceptionally busy, but we managed to take some time for this interview. I enjoyed the conversation pretty much, not only because of the exciting topic, but also because although it is a serious topic, due to his unique style every conversation with him is full of fun and laughter.

And this is not about a single human, but a team which is a good example of joyful and effective cooperation. A team, where its members can count on each other and trust each other. A team which demonstrates high standards in work ethics, reliability, and is full of benevolence and clear motives. EzVanZsac, who shares ownership of EzVan Kiadó Publishers with his mother, is founder of Suska community as well. Moreover, Zsac is a communications expert, teaches communication on seminars and courses.

The Suska Community – or how they call themselves: the Suska circle – is a swap community where the members swap goods and services with each other, without the involvement of official money. The foundation of the workings of the community is – how surprising – TRUST. They have an internal currency called Suska, which stimulates creativity and the unfolding of human values. How can it be capable of all these? This system accepts the value-creating capacities of both the individual and the community, stimulates the activities which add to human satisfaction and happiness, which help create abundance, while it also urges making personal contacts. While doing all these, it supports local production, but also gives way to swaps with other communities. Flexible, humane, joyful.

For all these things it inspirits me and I had the impression that Suska and all the similar initiatives and movements have and will have a key role in the process of reconstructing todays society into a more humane shape. Therefore I felt that we cannot afford leaving them out of this magazine. So please read on open hearted. 🙂

 

– How did all this begin and what made you to start this alternative currency?

– Ghislaine Lanctot, whose well known book’s Hungarian edition (The Medical Mafia) was published by us, lectured us in 2004. She spoke about alternative money and its importance, so that we be open to use it, because it is a fantastic opportunity to unfold human creativity and teamwork and community cooperation. We can this way create new, gigantic opportunities for people. Some 2-3 years have passed, and then we started to deal with it in practice. In November 2008 we had the first Suska market. We started with the 6 co-founders and some other people. It’s a meeting or rather “party” where people go to meet each other and talk to each other. And by the way incidentally take something with them to swap for something else.

– Did it cost you much effort and time to build it up?

– Yes. We had to put in a huge deal of effort to have it working. Indeed there was a time when we were only engaged in this and slowly we could get more people involved. This way slowly we got the work shared and less tasks were there to be done by one person. We have reached a point after four and a half years where it is sustainable. Moreover, if the six founders were to leave, it would go on without them. It’s not me assigning the work to anyone, but everyone sees that it has to be done, because we have understood, that we only have got what we had crated. In the sense of a community and cooperation, you don’t have to be expert in everything, but you can get what you need. Suska is about supporting each other, that we help each other and take as much weight off each other’s shoulders as possible. You give what you have, what you are expert in and you get what you need.

(As he started to tell this, another story came to my mind, that I have heard a few years ago from his dad, EzVanKarcsi, who in the middle of one of his lectures started to give an account about the birth of the publisher company. They actually wanted to publish one of their books and had approached many publishers, but were turned down by all, saying their book does not fit into any of their profiles. So what they did was they founded their own publishing group saying let it be a life-buoy not for only themselves but also for all the valuable but unpublished or unpublishable books. It resulted in our getting and having loads of information in the format of books that we otherwise wouldn’t have any access to.)

I recommend everyone to read our Suska book (not yet translated to English), because I cannot extract it any shorter. If we could do that, we wouldn’t have written that book, or perhaps we would have written a shorter booklet instead. We have experienced that people tend not to read the book, but then I found out that it has to be communicated much clearer, we must emphasise the fact so that everyone understands that the reason we have published this book is that we cannot summarize its contents any shorter.

As it is usual in any communities, there is always a great deal of dropouts. 20 to 30 people are “the core”, they are there on almost every occasion and are pro-active. Above them a few hundred people come at least once every month.

– Why this much ease-off and what can repel some people?

– The root to this is that we are living in a consumers’ society where the basic slogan is “much and quickly!” We made it as slow, hard and expensive as it was possible. It’s a sort of warranty that the core is a real core, that is it consists of such people who are ready to make the necessary sacrifice and make the effort and put in the work that it needs and that these are the people who are already on the level of awareness that it is possible to cooperate with them in a community like this and they will attract likes to build up this community. The essence of the meetings is to enjoy ourselves. We come together and talk a good deal, exchange our views. They are in a restaurant by the way, you can drink some tea, juice or beer, according to each of our religion, views or phylosophy. (I choose the third one by the way :-)) And yes, I like talking to people, make new friends, I like to see how we can learn a lot from one another, and in the meantime we do these swap deals. If you enjoy it, are having a good time and are liked, then you do it. This is how we human beings work. Feelings can determine everything.

 

Read the second part of the interview : click here

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