KZN Learning Clan

The Talent Exchange

Trading without money – The cool thing about using the Talent Exchange is learning that the exchange of goods and services does not have to involve money or banks!

Unlike the money system, the goal is not to accumulate wealth but keep your balance at zero – indicating you are giving and receiving in equal proportion. This is what makes for a healthy community exchange system.
All it requires is a little effort, a lot of honesty, and the willingness to offer as well as receive goods or services, not for money but simply for a measure of that willingness, which we call Talents.

So if you bought things last year for Talents at either Learning Clan in the Cape, or our Kzn Learning Clan gathering, but haven’t found a way to earn Talents to balance your account yet, now is your opportunity to get organised so you can make more than you spend and get back to Zero or above. Check the below on the workings.

There have been many lessons learned from this experiment over the last four years (see below) – so please take the time to read through this page so you can be a part of co-creating a successful moneyless community economy (essentially our version of an inflation resistant micro economy).

If you are new to the Talent Exchange...

The Community Exchange System (CES), also called the Talent Exchange (TE) has been running for over 12 years and is simply a method of recording exchanges via an online account, facilitating the flow of peer-to-peer, money-free trading. Join the Talent Exchange here:

It allows anyone to offer their goods, skills or services directly to the community, and get paid in Talents, which you can then use to acquire other skills, goods or services on the Exchange. No banks required.

It was developed by South African, Tim Jenkin and is now used in over 750 communities in 75 countries around the world so you can trade across exchanges not just the one where you live.

You will be asked to enter an offering when you join. Your offering on the exchange is not necessarily the one you offer at the festival, but it must be a valid way for you to earn Talents outside the festival. It can be something you can do or something you can sell.

3 Quick and Easy steps to how the Talent Exchange works

Trading in Talents works via the CES website – an easy online system that simply keeps track of your Talent account. Sign up for a free account, and join a Talent Exchange closest to where you live.

  1. Click Durban Talent Exchange (DTTE) to go straight to our local Talent Exchange which is growing quickly.
  2. You simply add a Service, Skill, or Item to sell, as a way of contributing and earning Talents.
  3. When you buy something, you give the seller your Talent Exchange number and the seller enters the transaction online, Your account is debited and theirs is credited. No bank and no money required.
The units of exchange, called Talents, are pegged at the local currency, so we all have the same frame of reference for value.

When people buy your offering, you debit their account and credit your own. This credit can be exchanged for anything offered by any other Community Exchange members anywhere in the world.

The system is completely transparent. You (and everyone else) can see if someone is abusing the system when only buying and not offering anything back to the community.

How trading works at Learning Clan

For the gathering we are asking everyone to follow The Talent Exchange trading principle of trading in Rands and Talents. In this way we practice and learn how to trade off-the-money-grid, and we learn about relying on our community for our needs. Since we won’t be online all the time, in order to trade and record sales, Talent Trading Sheets will be available at the info desk.

When you want to pay for something someone is offering, write your name and Talent Exchange number and amount on their Talent Sales Sheet.

The seller enters the transactions into the Exchange, either immediately via their mobile phone, or even when they get home later. This debits the buyers account and credits theirs, the buyer is notified, and has the option to object to the trade if it was incorrectly made. If you have accumulated a number of Talents – you can then spend them on the growing number of goods and services available on the Community Exchange System (CES).
You can spend up to T500, on the understanding that you will pay your debt back to your community. If you are in debit, you must offer your skills, services or goods to balance your account back to zero.

There is also an easy mobile website if you want to enter transactions via your cell phone and your Tablet at

Lessons Learned

So, it does take a bit more effort to use the Talent Exchange and it is not as convenient as money (yet). But once you get the hang of it, and the inputs and outputs start flowing, we can easily correct all these problems, and the rewards are great if we get it right.

What we need to do to make it work for all

So your offering at the festival is not necessarily the one you must have on your account on the Talent Exchange, but you do need to have a valid up-to-date offering on your profile on the Exchange, so check that first. If you are new, you will be asked when you join the Exchange to add something you can have on offer throughout the year to earn Talents. It can be something you can do or something you can sell.

If you buy things for Talents, either on the Exchange or at the Festival, you must also earn Talents, otherwise you are only taking from the community and not giving. ​

Everyone should bring something to sell at Kzn LC. This can be goods or services or a skill, or food – make a little, spend a little, and everything flows.

You can opt not to buy anything, but then what will you learn about living and contributing in community?
To avoid wrong numbers being given at the Festival, everyone will have a Trading Card with their Name and TE number, to assure the seller there is no error, as it’s easy to forget. br>
If it’s your first time – please do sign up well beforehand on the Exchange. There will be assistance and advice when signing up at the Festival too. You should have at least familiarised yourself with the Exchange before arriving.

Anyone currently in the red should attempt to balance their account before arriving at Kzn LC. You can do this either by: -entering something to sell, or a service, or skill on the Exchange, -if you’re in the Cape Town area, attend the monthly Talent Market in Claremont and selling something, -finding someone who may be interested in selling some of their excess Talents for cash, -requesting to settle your account in cash. br>
All accounts are transparent, so it’s easy to see who is abusing the system – so lets get creative and rise to the challenge of eliminating the deficit and amplifying this useful community trading tool, before we have to start naming and shaming ..

Why Talents are a good alternative to money and crypto-currencies

Although it seems as if Talents are money, as they are pegged at the same value as Rands: they most definitely are not. Talents don’t exist, they simply measure.

The problem with money is that it exists, and so was created. Banks create and controls the supply and demand by changing interest rates, and, therefore, the price of it. This is usurious at every level, knowing that banks lend money they do not even have; money which did not even exist before it was lended, especially knowing that we do not really need money to be able to trade with each other.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are an alternative form of money and are indeed a fantastic way to decentralise our means of exchange and have peer-to-peer transactions. But their value fluctuation is still out of our control and you need money to acquire them. They are still a thing that can be speculated upon, lost, or even stolen.

As there is no quantity of Talents (in the same way as there is no quantity of kilograms), they were not created, so therefore no one can control supply and demand and make money on interest and speculation.

Using Talents to measure our exchanges means that there is no basis for unhealthy relationships. No one can rip us off by charging interest on a Talent, or depreciating it or even stealing it. Talents only exist virtually as a measure of what you owe or are owed by your community.

The talent Exchange is a brilliant way of totally avoiding all the controls and costs to which money is subjected.

Why use an alternative economy?

Why invent a new money when our official monies seem to do the job?

Because our conventional money system is at the root of most of the misery, suffering and problems faced by humanity. It is also the prime factor behind the environmental crises we face.

The money systems we use are not neutral, non-partisan, services provided by our governments. They are a service provided by private financial institutions (banks) specifically for their own benefit rather than those who use them.

Our conventional money systems only work for those who already have money, and they marginalise the rest.
Money is the fuel that powers the growth imperative of our economies, forcing us all to compete against each other for the interest (that wasn’t created when the loan amount was created). This pressure has had disastrous consequences for our environment and the health of our planet.

Money comes into existence when commercial banks grant loans, every unit in existence is based on a unit of debt. Money is debt, and the interest portion was never created, so that has to come from someone else who loses his money.

Despite its modern electronic trappings, our conventional money systems are a relic of history. They are the latter-day equivalent of cattle or gold, except that money itself is not worth anything, and the value that we have agreed upon is subject to fluctuations in sentiment, and therefore subject to speculation and insider profiteering.

The debt-based money system was developed for the industrial revolution to provide a rapidly expanding money supply that could not be provided by a money system based on the quantity of precious metals. This introduced intangible money that did not exist in the same way as earlier ‘hard’ monies, but people continued treating it as a tradable commodity.

Money that ‘exists’ can thus be accumulated like any other commodity. It can also be stolen, traded, collected, destroyed and lost. Its distribution is not based on the delivery of value to others but on the ability of people to ‘make money’. Conventional money has no restraints and always flows away from where it is created and needed, towards the ‘money centers’.
The CES breaks out of this paradigm by recognising that the electronics revolution has eliminated the need for an exchange medium.

Never before in the history of humankind has it been possible to record accurately who delivers value to whom. Now that this is possible there is no longer a need for an ‘existential’ money; money that can at last truly measure the delivery of value and be based on nothing other than the expenditure of effort by people for others.

Currency as information – a unit of measure – not a thing

If money does not need to exist as a thing, it does not have to be created and controlled. We are told we need money, it is convenient, and we want the stuff money buys us. But if our community can supply everything we need, then all we require from a currency, is a method of keeping note of who supplied what to whom.

A currency that does not exist can never be in short supply.

A Talent is a measure, like a kilogram, not a thing you can own. It is the measure of the amount that you have taken from, or given to, your community. The value is arbitrary, as long as everyone knows what one Talent is worth, and in the case of the CES, the value of the Talent has been pegged at one Rand. (This of course is terribly unfair when it comes to exchanging Talents between countries. This clearly highlights why money is usurious and why we need an alternative.)

An exchange of Talents means that wealth remains where it is created and needed, and it does not leak away to usurious ‘money lenders’.)

So… add this powerful means of exchange to your portfolio, and get a little closer to freedom from the money system! Sign up with the link below. And if you are already a member, check your balance.
Speak to us if you are in debit and have no way of getting your account back to zero.

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