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In 1951  Eric Frank Russell created a novel ". . . And Then There Were None" which brilliantly described ideas of IOU economy. You can enjoy the original, we just cited some here



“Now,” explained Baines, “you’ve done something for me. That means you’ve planted an ob on me. I don’t thank you for what you’ve done. There’s no need to. All I have to do is get rid of the ob.”
“Obligation. Why use a long word when a short one is good enough? An obligation is an ob. I shift it this way: Seth Warburton, next door but one, has got half a dozen of my obs saddled on him. So I get rid of mine to you and relieve him of one of his to me by sending you around for a meal.” He scribbled briefly on a slip of paper. “Give him this.”
Harrison stared at it. In casual scrawl, it read, “Feed this bum. Jeff Baines.”



“Just my lousy luck,” he informed the gaping Harrison. “The sweetest call of the year. A big brewery. The sooner they get there the bigger the obs (IOUs) they’ll plant on it.” He licked his lips at the thought, sat on a coil of canvas hose. “Oh, well, maybe it’s all for the good of my health.”
“Tell me something,” Harrison insisted. “How do you get a living?”
“There’s a heck of a question. You can see for yourself. I’m on the fire squad.”
“I know. What I mean is, who pays you?”
“Pays me?”
“Gives you money for all this.”
“You talk kind of peculiar. What is money?”
Harrison rubbed his cranium to assist the circulation of blood through the brain. What is money? Yeouw. He tried another angle.
“Supposing your wife needs a new coat, how does she get it?”
“Goes to a store saddled with fire-obs, of course. She kills one or two for them.”
“But what if no clothing store has had a fire?”
“You’re pretty ignorant, brother. Where in this world do you come from?” His ear bells swung as he studied the other a moment, then went on, “Almost all stores have fire-obs. If they’ve any sense, they allocate so many per month by way of insurance. They look ahead, just in case, see? They plant obs on us, in a way, so that when we rush to the rescue we’ve got to kill off a dollop of theirs before we can plant any new ones of our own. That stops us overdoing it and making hogs of ourselves. Sort of cuts down the stores’ liabilities. It makes sense, doesn’t it?”



...You start a farm. A handful of local folks help you build a house. They dump heavy obs on you. The carpenter wants farm produce for his family for the next couple of years. You give it, thus killing that ob. You continue giving it for a couple of extra years, thus planting an ob on him. First time you want fences mending, or some other suitable task doing, along he comes to kill that ob. And so with all the rest, including the people who supply your raw materials, your seeds and machinery, or do your trucking for you.”
“They won’t all want milk and potatoes,” Gleed pointed out.
“Don’t know what you mean by potatoes. Never heard of them.”
“How can I square up with someone who may be getting all the farm produce he wants from elsewhere?”
“Easy,” said Seth. “A tinsmith supplies you with several churns. He doesn’t want food. He’s getting all he needs from another source. His wife and three daughters are overweight and dieting. The mere thought of a load from your farm gives them the horrors.”
“But this tinsmith’s tailor, or his cobbler, have got obs on him which he hasn’t had the chance to kill. So he transfers them to you. As soon as you’re able, you give the tailor or cobbler what they need to satisfy the obs, thus doing the tinsmith’s killing along with your own.” He gave his usual half-smile, added, “And everyone is happy.”

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