Through friends, Anna and Lluis – Textile and basket making in Christosende – we got an invitation to a group – Pantones – who have started to establish an alternative trading system.
The idea is to encourage local trading on base of interchange of goods and services (Intercambio). To facilitate this a virtual currency – Pantones – is used. This is nessesary to take the complexity out of multi-point trading. I may have something to trade which B desires but B has nothing that I desire at present although there is C who has just what I’m looking for. C needs something from D who has not a good but a service that B realy desperately needs. This is further complicated by the fact that obviously not all goods or services are of equal value. This is when the virtual currency kicks in.
Trades are completed between two parties and the values – in Pantones – are entered into their accounts. Ideally in the end all these transactions balance and the total, overall balance goes to zero.
This is obviously not achievable so that members remain with positive or negative balances trusting that the system in the future will allow to redeem or balance this by further trading.
So on Sunday the 1st of August, the normally peaceful stetting of the Cadeiras saw the invasion of – Pantones.
We sort of gate crashed as we had received an e-mail of the venue via friends and when we turned up introduced ourselves. The organisers welcomed us and explained how this is supposed to work.
Boy, what a lesson in rapid Spanish. But as it turned out we finally met Emmily who is from Germany and quite some others who helped to bridge the language gaps.
The sudden invasion of a local sightseeing group – organised by Alphonso – to check out three local “castros” and have lunch at the bar in Cadeiras livened up the venue significantly.
It showed that there are still some rough edges to the system, like handling trade of non members, etc. but there was a general consent that this is a great idea. Having organised venues in the past and established regular events that grew we do know what hard work this is. One never covers all the ends and it is a permanent uphill struggle to keep these initiatives going. I apologise as I don’t yet have all the names of the organisers and therfore do not mention them here but if you’re local and interested I’m happy to put you in contact.
In what I can only describe as a very Galician / Spanish tradition, everyone brought some sustenance, liquid and solid, and when the general alarm – COMER – sounded, we all congregated to the band stand and an impromptu feast took place.
It was great to meet so many very friendly people. The language switched between Spanish, Galician, English, German and some words of French and showed the international audience.
When we got home we where quite shattered but recuperated fast as we had invited our friends from Gundivos friends for an early dinner. They came and brought Claire from Canada along who is presently staying with them..
Our house guests, who showed up just in time, where simply invited as well.
When they started to talk in a slightly northern English accent, discussing the merits of Newcastle, I think it was football, not the town and Claire talked about the area she is from – near Toronto – I had the feeling of having done a world tour without actually moving far.
I keep saying that Mer is the center of the world.
Come on visit Galicia its an amazing place to be.