ECOSIMIA (the Ecosistema es Responsabilidad Mia), previously known as SINTRAL, is a Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) and describes an alternative economic structure in Ecuador. Developed within the Fundacion Educativa Pestalozzi (an alternative school project in Tumbaco), the first SINTRAL-market took place 1992.
ECOSIMIA allows trading without using the official currency and is active at present in 13 provinces of Ecuador. The transactions within a group are provided with a numerical value, and noted on cheques. A copy of these cheques goes to the local bank, which forms the social memory for the group. The numerical value has purely statistic meaning: there are no debts and it is not possible to demand an equivalent to this number. Transactions on a regional level are agreed directly between the groups.
Beginning in 2000 the economic situation for most of the people in Ecuador became more drastic by the introduction of the US Dollar as national currency. During this crisis, Mauricio Wild (the co-founder of the Fundacion Educativa Pestalozzi) resolved to create a decentralized network of groups to trade all over the country. These groups spread particularly in the rural areas of Ecuador. Today there are already about 140 Ecosimia-groups in Ecuador.
ECOSIMIA is a system which is similar to the many LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) existing around the world: In this particular case a number of such groups from all over Ecuador have come together to form a country-wide trading network.
Many Ecosimia members however, have observed that a change in trading relationships as a result of using this currency represents only one side of their experience.
They have also discovered that a certain transformation, intimately linked with the use of such a currency, occurs, one which brings with it a new sense of responsibility: for ones own development, for family relationships, for childrens education and for questions of health.
Even cultural aspects between people can be fundamentally changed through the use of Ecosimia, including e.g. spontaneous co-operation between women and men.
Perhaps most profoundly, however, this sense of responsibility extends to all of nature, and how the material, vegetable, animal and human elements come together to make life possible on this planet.
As a consequence of this experience, at a SINTRAL meeting, held from 20 22 April 2006, the name SINTRAL was changed to ECOSIMIA, from the Spanish EL ECOSISTEMA ES RESPONSABILIDAD MIA, meaning The ecosystem is my own responsibility. In this context, the word ecosystem is taken as a complex concept, in which personal, social and all other living forms in the world are included.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ecosimia