We have written several times in the past about the T500 default debit limit that every new user of the Cape Town Talent Exchange starts with, but there still seems to be confusion about this.

There seem to be some CTTE members – whether they are new or old members we don’t know – who are spreading the idea that when you join the CTTE you ‘get’ a ‘free gift’ of T500 that you can spend without giving anything back.

As we are so used to thinking of money as ‘stuff’ that exists, new members tend to see Talents in the same way – as something that exists and so can be ‘given’ to new members.

Even if we do consider Talents this way, we would surely have to ask where those T500 come from. If the administrator can magically create them out of thin air, then the administrator is in effect giving away other members’ offerings for free (which amounts to theft!).

Keeping with the idea of Talents having existence like money, it is incorrect to see the T500 as a ‘gift’. More correctly the T500 should be seen as a loan. Loans have to be paid back, and so too does the T500.

The T500 debit limit is exactly what it says it is: a limit, not a ‘gift’. It is a point beyond which you should not go. In other words when your balance is -T500 you may receive no more. That does not mean that you can walk away and not ‘pay’ for what you have received. Every Talent’s worth of goods and services that you receive has to be ‘paid’ for by giving something back.

Talents do not exist like Rands; they are a unit of measure like litres and grams!

The Talent Exchange is about receiving and giving in equal measure. Talents do not exist like Rands; they are a unit of measure like litres and grams. Talents measure the value of what you have received and what you have given. The object is to keep your long-term balance as close to zero as possible. This is why Talents cannot be given away. If you receive T500 worth of goods and services and give nothing back, the Talents become a measure of your dishonesty and a black mark against your reputation!