What we’re thinking
Service credits are simply value-less promises of future service.
They mediate temporal and magnitude differences in service exchange and lubricate transitive indirect exchange.service credits – promises of future service with no inherent value. Click To Tweet
They have no inherent value and can be implemented in various ways. from a mental note among friends to a formal contract, entries on a central or distributed register/ledger, to tokens/IOU notes you carry with you.
The formality of service credit implementation is likely to increase with the level of unfamiliarity or trust required between the parties involved. And any society may decide on a particular implementation, such as money or rocks.
The need for service credits
Simplistically, as we exchange service for service, it could be thought that each exchange happens directly between two parties at a point in time. However we observe that is rarely the case.
Let’s start with a simple two-party exchange. I agree to help you move house over a nice summer weekend in July. It is rare that in return I need you to help me move on exactly the same weekend. Instead, we probably agree that you’ll help me move at some, probably as yet not determined, point in time.
Or you offer me a meal or something, or maybe I seek nothing in return. But now we’re straying into a discussion on equitable service exchange. We’ll keep to exchanging help with house moves.
Once I’ve helped you move, you owe me help with a house move in the future. Now, between friends we probably keep that in our heads. But you could give me a note (physical or digital) saying you owe me one house move.
do service credits relate to price
What about supply & demand? It still works. Think of it this way: you want a service, so you’ll exchange service (direct or indirect). If the service you want is in short supply, you might be tempted to offer more, greater, better service than others. That is to say you are willing to put in more effort to get the exchange quicker/earlier than others. In an indirect exchange that means offering more service credits…