The statement that you get from the CTTE admin at the start of each month is like the statement you get from you regular bank each month: a record of your transactions in the past month and your current balance of account. It is not an invoice requesting payment (there is no such thing as ‘pay’ in the Talent Exchange!) or a statement of what you ‘owe’.
If your balance is in the negative this does not mean that you are in debt; it means that you have an obligation to the community to give something back in ‘payment’ for what you have received. You don’t owe anything to the provider of what you received (the seller); you owe it to the community.
At any point in time half the members have to be in debit (below zero) and half have to be in credit (above zero) because the sum of all sales and purchases equals zero. A negative balance in your statement means you have received more than you have given, and that you should provide (sell) something in order to bring your balance back as close to zero as possible.
A positive balance in your statement means you have given more than you have received, and so you have a claim on the community. You should also try to bring your balance back to zero by purchasing something. The positive number does not represent ‘wealth’; it represents a claim.
So the next time you receive your statement and see that you are ‘in the red’ (negative balance), don’t write to the administrator asking how to ‘pay’ your debt. Just make sure that you have a current offering and then sell something to negate your obligation. That’s how the Talent Exchange works. It is about giving and receiving (positive and negative) and trying to keep your mean balance as close to zero as possible over the long term. That means you are giving as much as you are receiving.
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