The New Liberty Merchant Handbook
Congratulations on your interest in becoming a Liberty Merchant and increasing your business and profits while serving your community, by accepting the new Community-Branded Liberty Dollars! Your decision will have far-reaching benefits not only for yourself, your business and your family, but for all of your community and its surrounding area. The Liberty Dollar, since it is not commonly accepted by banks and large corporate marketers, is a natural tool for building Local Commerce, and as a Liberty Merchant, you have taken a giant leap towards bringing value back to local shopping! As Liberty Dollars gains in recognition and grows in circulation, you’ll notice other positive effects, such as a return of the Community Spirit, a growing circle of customers who are also your friends, and an increased awareness that the local merchant is no longer just one of the businesses in town, but an indispensable part of the community, just as it was before the arrival of the big-box “Super Stores”.
In short, the honest-value Liberty Dollar, being based on real value instead of debt, brings its merchants and the customers they serve closer, by allowing them to share in the formation of real wealth within their local economy.
WHAT ARE LIBERTY DOLLARS
Liberty Dollars are Negotiable Silver Certificates that convey title to a specific quantity of .999 Fine Silver stored in a secure facility. Since they are redeemable by the Bearer on demand, they are considered legal negotiable instruments. Most Silver Certificates are used to secure credit, but they can lawfully be used as a medium of exchange, since the act of giving one to another person transfers ownership of the goods they represent to that person, who can then claim and take possession of them.
This makes them fully acceptable and legal as a form of money. However, the actual silver itself, regardless of size, shape or design, cannot legally be used in this way. This is because of Counterfeiting Laws that specify that only the government or its authorized representative can make and distribute money made of metal, and for anyone else to do so is a crime. The law specifically allows the use of Negotiable Silver Certificates, however, and this is the foundation of the new Liberty Dollars.
Acceptance of Liberty Dollars is entirely voluntary, and it is important to know that is not Legal Tender, and most banks will not accept them for deposit at all at this time. They cannot be used to pay any debt or taxes to the government. However, they are perfectly legal for use as a medium of exchange for any other lawful purpose, because they are lawful Negotiable Silver Certificates.
A Silver Certificate is a document of title which states that the Bearer (whoever has it in his or her possession) is entitled to receive the item stored in the warehouse, for which it was given, upon demand (just by asking for it and presenting the Silver Certificate). This means that anyone who holds Liberty Dollars owns the silver that backs it, and can take physical possession of that silver at any time.
This makes Liberty Dollars a viable medium of exchange, because there is genuine value that can be held in the hand of the Bearer upon demand. The exchange of one item of value for another is known as Barter, and it is the oldest form of commerce.
WHO ARE LIBERTY MERCHANTS?
Liberty Merchants are business people who have recognized the need for a way to return their communities to a form of value that is superior to low prices at the cost of quality products and services, and the all new Community Liberty Dollar makes this possible. By accepting payment in a form of currency that is
Backed by a historically-valuable commodity such as silver,
Unacceptable to banks and multi-nationals due to its non-acceptance by the Global Banking System,
Destined by its very nature to remain in local circulation, and
Available to the public at a discount that allows them to actually gain additional spending power each time they use it.
These courageous business people have given their communities a reason to come back to the genuine values that have been lacking for far too many years.
Liberty Merchants are the Mom and Pop stores, the local restaurants, the auto repair shops, the hardware stores, the tire stores… Liberty Merchants are the local folks who choose to run their own businesses and offer their experience and services to their own communities. Money spent with them stays in the local economy, increasing the amount of true wealth that can remain there. Doing business with them fosters the old community spirit that has been slowly fading since “big business” became the common place to buy goods and services.
Liberty Merchants are the pillars of their community, because they have placed the community above themselves. Their dedication to their community is evident in their willingness to endure the occasional wistful smile over their acceptance of Liberty Dollars, as they look forward to the many benefits of keeping money in local circulation.
WHY SHOULD I BECOME A LIBERTY MERCHANT?
The Liberty Dollar Network is working to establish Community Currency Offices (CCC) wherever Liberty Dollars are welcomed. Your CCC will promote Liberty Dollars to your community with you, and will offer the local folks the opportunity to buy Silver and receive Liberty Dollars at a ten percent discount.
If there is no CCC in your area, don’t worry. Our National HQ will work with you directly to make sure you can take advantage of all the benefits Liberty Dollars have to offer.
Liberty Dollars can be redeemed for the actual Silver they represent at any time, and your CCC will always be ready to help you do so. However, we also recognize that there may be times when the Liberty Merchant needs to quickly convert Liberty Dollars to Legal Tender, and that’s why we agree to buy back your silver when you need us to, for the same price we would sell it to you for. Liberty Merchants receive, as noted above, a fifteen percent discount, so we’ll pay you the same $21.25 for each full ounce of silver you want to sell back to us, and your CCC will help to make this happen almost instantly.
Of course, the first and foremost reason why most businesses will become Liberty Merchants is simply this: accepting Liberty Dollars will make you more money. Because “Local Money Stays Local,” those big-box Super Stores won’t accept them, so the customers will be seeking you out the way they used to. People who enjoy the genuine value of Liberty Dollars will be coming through your door every day.
In addition, as a Liberty Merchant, you can acquire Liberty Dollars at a 15% discount off the Base Value. Liberty Dollars are currently at a Base of Twenty-five dollars ($25) per ounce, so Liberty Dollars are issued in denominations of One, Five, Ten and Twenty-five Dollar values. Liberty Dollars that total up to Twenty-five are equal to one ounce of silver, so you can get $25 worth of spending power for only $21.25. By offering Liberty Dollars out to your customers as change, you gain an additional profit on every sale.
Let’s take a look at how your profits will increase with Liberty Dollars.
As described in the first paragraphs, small merchants endure terrible effects because of big, centralized companies that invade small town America and put local folks out of business. Unless the merchant can actually meet or undercut the low prices made possible by the million-item bulk purchases the big companies can make, he can look forward to, at best, a mediocre existence and a slowly impoverished local economy, as the giants take the hard-earned dollars of the local customer far away to some central bank, often in another country altogether.
In some communities, however, there is truly an alternative. Businesses that choose to accept Liberty Dollars do so voluntarily. They are aware that it is not Legal Tender and is not accepted by banks, but that only means they must return it to their customers in change, to be spent again at their establishment or that of one of their fellow Liberty Merchants. That way, the money keeps coming back, increasing their sales and their profits, and making the community richer as Liberty Merchants, in turn, spend the money with other Liberty Merchants in town.
The question of whether to become a Liberty Merchant may seem like an easy yes-or-no decision, but it does require some thought, and in many cases, a small amount of education about money, and about how it can best be used to benefit a community. The next section will address those issues, so that the reader can make a truly informed decision.
MONEY AND THE COMMUNITY
Money: the one concept that has captivated the interest of virtually every human being since Ogg the caveman first noticed the pretty colors inside a clam shell and swapped it to his cousin Ugg for that funny round thing that rolled on the ground…
The accumulation of money as wealth became a fad somewhere after that point, when it became obvious that simply bartering one’s own goods and services for those of another was time consuming and often difficult. Imagine transporting your wares every time you wanted to trade a stone block for a side of beef, or a load of roofing timbers for some foundation stone, and the concept of a medium of exchange becomes sensible. If you carry your load of timbers to the stone quarry and find that they don’t need any timbers, then you must find someone who has something the quarry-master needs, and who also needs timbers… or someone who needs timbers who has the thing that this third person needs… or on, and on, ad infinitum, until a simple swap has become a world shattering event!
However, if you can trade some of Ogg’s clam shells for the stone, and someone else will give you more of them for your timbers… Now, this is a lot simpler! By voluntarily accepting a common medium of exchange, all of the community has come to benefit, since each person can now trade without carrying large quantities of products around unsold, and without trying to find lots of other people to participate in the transaction until you get what you need.
But then, clam shells can be picked up off the beach by anyone industrious enough to go down there and spend a day looking around, making their value somewhat questionable. So a medium of exchange had to be found that a) everyone could agree on, b) was sufficiently uniform in the value its users perceived to make it stable as a means of conducting commerce, and c) was not so plentiful as to make its value decline from ease of acquisition. Certain metals, worked into shapes that were pleasing to both eye and hand, filled the bill nicely, and the most common of these was gold and silver. The beautiful colors of the metal objects that came to be known as “coins,” when stamped in specific sizes, became standard units of exchange, taking the place of the items that had previously been bartered directly. A transaction came to be the exchange of your goods or services for a certain amount of one of these metals, in various shapes and sizes to make up the total “value” you would accept in “payment.”
This new system worked because both Ogg and Ugg and everyone else in town would accept the coins from you, and from anyone else, in exchange for their own goods or services… and finance was born.
Today, money is most commonly thought of as the “bills” and “coins” issued by the government of whatever nation a person lives in, and while many people do trade in the money of other lands, most people are only familiar with the money they have always known. In the U.S., that would be the Federal Reserve Notes that we call “dollars.”
The money any government issues is known as “fiat” money, meaning that it is only worth anything because the government says it is. It is subject to inflation, can be completely devalued by its issuer, or by circumstance, at any time without warning, and is regarded as having value only so long as its issuer can be trusted to accept it back for some other form of value. If it is backed by nothing, however, then the only value it can be certain of in exchange is payment of debts to the issuer… and if the businesses who sell goods and services to the people ever find that it is no longer acceptable to pay any debt other than taxes, then it will be utterly worthless.
With a stable government, this is not a worry to most business people, and that is normal. However, no government which issues money without a value-backed reserve can ever be certain of its stability, since its power in the world is measured entirely by the strength of its money against the money of other nations. Therefore every dollar issued, every dollar we spend, is at risk of suddenly being absolutely worthless.
To mitigate this risk, many communities have created Local Currencies, a form of money that is accepted in a certain area only, and which is backed by something that they can reasonably expect to collect if they ever needed to. One of the most prominent of these is the Ithaca, NY, HOUR, based on human labor at a rate of $10 per hour. Many local Ithaca businesses accept them in payment for products and services, simply because they know that they can spend them with many other businesses! Many companies pay their employees partly in US Dollars, and partly in Ithaca Hours, because employees know they can use the Hours to buy groceries or gasoline, to pay rent, or just about anything else except pay taxes or fines, or make purchases from outside the area.
Local currencies have improved the economic stability of many areas of the nation, since the money naturally stays mostly within the region where it is acceptable as a medium of exchange. In addition, there are often ways of acquiring the local currencies at some discount, so the spending power of the consumer is increased, while the profits of the merchants are protected.
The Liberty Dollar Network was founded to offer one of the most stable and trustworthy forms of Local Currency in the world, since its Liberty Dollars are backed entirely by Silver Bullion! At any time, any person may redeem their Liberty Dollars for the actual Silver Bullion that backs them, in the form of beautiful silver Rounds from the legendary Sunshine Minting Company. These silver Rounds, however, are not lawful for use as money themselves, as we noted earlier.
Liberty Dollars are as stable as the silver they represent, and that stability is known to build customer loyalty as it combats inflation and its ravaging effects.
This is because money that can be spent only at local merchants inevitably will be spent there… just as a coupon that is only accepted at certain stores will bring customers to that store to get the savings it represents. In the same way, since Members of Liberty Dollar Network can acquire Liberty Dollars at a discount, those Members—your customers—will shop where they can be spent, in order to realize an increase in their spending power.
Local businesses who accept Liberty Dollars are assured of a customer base that is destined to grow as more and more Liberty Dollars become available in the local economy. The number of Liberty Dollars in circulation locally will grow in three ways:
Through the exchange of Liberty Dollars into circulation by Members,
Through merchants who purchase additional Liberty Dollars at discount to use in making change,
Through programs instituted by Members, CCCs and/or Liberty Merchants to use Liberty Dollars in promotions. In these ways, the amount of Liberty Dollars grows, and as it grows, so grow the sales and profits of those Merchants who accept them.
ACCEPTING LIBERTY DOLLARS
Now that you understand how money works in the community, you need to know how to use Liberty Dollars in your business. The following simple rules will work with any business at all and will, when properly employed in the sale of quality merchandise or services, ensure the growth of sales and profits discussed in the previous chapter.
Accept Liberty Dollars with a smile!
Each of your clerks must be aware that Liberty Dollars are now accepted at your establishment(s), and should be instructed to accept them with a smile. Make the customer aware that you are glad he is spending the new value-backed money, because it is good for your local economy, not just for your business!
Offer it in change!
Whenever a customer proffers a payment in greenback money, offer Liberty Dollars in change! Be sure your employees know, and tell the customers, that they are not accepted at banks or issued by the government: “Would you like some of the new Local Liberty Dollars in your change? (while holding one up for them to see) It’s not from the government and the banks won’t take it, but it’s really backed by an ounce of silver and you can always spend it here!” That simple phrase, memorized easily, explains the nature of the new money, and eliminates any thought that you might be foisting off something false or illegal on the customer.
Know who your fellow Liberty Merchants are!
Your Community Currency Office will keep you fully informed of who else accepts Liberty Dollars in your area! Along with the simple spiel above, tell your clerks to point to a list of Liberty Merchants that you keep prominently displayed, or you can buy lists from your CCC to hand out or make copies. By telling your customers where else they can spend the money they get in change from you, you are supporting your local community; and as other Liberty Merchants tell their customers about you, you will all gain new customers that have never traded with you before, and regain many you may not have seen for a while! This will result in a “circular promotion” that will help to keep a lot more money spent locally and help each of you to see significant increases in sales!
Don’t hesitate to take them back!
No matter how well your employees explain the new money, there will always be the occasional dissatisfied customer. Anytime one of your customers comes back and insists that you take back Liberty Dollars he got from you and swap them for greenbacks, do so with a smile! You’ll find that he will soon return and spend Liberty Dollars he got from someone else, as Liberty Dollars become more widely known in your community.
The issue here is to make sure that anyone who wants to get his greenbacks back can do so, because for every customer who is dissatisfied with or frightened by the “new money,” you’ll find that you’ll gain dozens of customers who will be pleased and excited by them! Happy customers will inevitably come from both sides, as long as you always exchange them back with a smile!
Make A Plan
Decide how you want to make money with Liberty Dollars.
There are three ways to make additional profits as a Liberty Merchant.
One is to merely accept them, while your CCC promotes them directly to the consumer, recruiting Members into the Network so they can get them at discount. This method works because Network Members share them with their friends and family, who will then spend them to get the extra spending power they gain at your stores! Think of it as a reusable community shopping coupon.
The second way is to get them from your CCC at an even better discount yourself, and give them out in change. When you give someone a $10 Liberty Dollar Silver Certificate in change, you’re giving out a ten dollar value that only cost you $8.50, and making an extra buck and a half on the current sale, just by making change for a $20 dollar bill! Imagine: “Making Money Making Change!” You even have opportunities to give out multiples when customers offer a fifty or one hundred dollar bill! Imagine making an extra $6, over your normal profit, when a ten dollar purchase is paid for with a $50 bill.
The third way is offer your goods and services through the Internet, using Electronic Liberty Dollars, or eLD. Your Membership in the Network automatically provided you with an eLD account, just as it does for every Member. You can add an eLD shopping cart or payment button to your website, and offer your work or products for sale through the LD Marketplace and Classifieds.
All of these ways will see an increase in your profits, and getting them at the Liberty Merchant Discount will make you more money, but there is a fourth way!
The fourth way is to recruit new Members to the Network yourself, which means they’ll be coming to you to get their Liberty Dollars, and they'll be coming back to you to spend them. It also means that you’ll earn a small reward of $5 in Liberty Dollars for every new Member you bring to the Network.
A RETURN TO COMMUNITY VALUES
There you have it, everything there is to know about being a Liberty Merchant! However, there is one added bonus to establishing Liberty Merchants in any community that is often overlooked, and we’ll close with that in mind.
Liberty Merchants return value to their community, by re-introducing real value into local commerce, but they also return another kind of values: Community Values. The morality and honesty that so many of us fondly recall from our childhood and youth was founded on the fact that the people in the community knew each other, that the customer who came into the store to buy his groceries, or stopped to fill his gas tank, or shopped for clothes or shoes or toys were not just dollar signs in the accounting ledger of some big company, they were the shopkeeper’s friends and family, they were their church-fellows, neighbors and schoolmates.
With the entrance of the big super stores, however, that friendliness was lost, and replaced by “store greeters” and “smiling cashiers” who don’t really know who the customers are, and are dependent on the customer’s money for their own employment, and so see them as merely the means of continuing their jobs.
Communities that try to bring back those traditional values are finding it difficult to do, as long as the big corporate stores continue to draw the customers, and the dollars, away from the local merchant.
This is the final bonus of being a Liberty Merchant. By encouraging your community to shop locally, by giving them a way to do so and still save money with Liberty Dollars, the Liberty Merchants make it possible for much of that old community spirit to grow once again, and for the people to once again be more than just numbers in a bank account in some far-off land.
They’re your customers. They’re your friends. And in the final analysis, they’re the real reason why you might choose to become a Liberty Merchant.