Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Beyond Money: Time Banks

Time Banks have been creeping into my awareness over the years.  Maybe Ithaca, New York is the first project I recall hearing about.  PBS did a documentary "Fixing the Future" which included a segment about time banks. 

Published on Monday, February 10, 2014 by Common Dreams

In Cracks of Capitalism, Time Banks on the Rise

'If there was ever a time that this makes sense, it would be now'

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer
Photo via Flickr / Julian Stallabrass/ Creative Commons LicenseFollowing the 2008 economic crash, the need for innovative approaches to the economy has only grown larger. One such answer to that problem has been a strong resurgence in the use of "time banks," a service for service exchange that skips the middle man of financial currency while building community in the process, according to a special report published by Al Jazeera America Sunday.
Time banks are organizations where individuals come together to offer services, traditionally within their immediate community. In return for providing a service, individuals earn "time credits" based on hours donated, which can be redeemed from any other service provider in the system. The exchange of money is avoided all together and each service is treated equally.
Since the crash, over 300 time banks have popped up around the United States alone, "located everywhere from Appalachia to Oakland and run by institutions ranging from art galleries to retirement centers to hospitals," Al Jazeera reports.
“There’s a lot of unemployed folks and a lot of need, and if there was ever a time that this makes sense, it would be now,” Edgar Cahn, a 78-year-old former staffer in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and the founder of time banking, told Al Jazeera.
And in the digital age, time banking has been simplified and streamlined, enabling the idea and its implementation to be spread more easily around the world.
One such successful web-based time bank is the over 10,000-member Time Republik started by friends from Lugano, Switzerland. "One can look for someone to give oboe lessons over Skype or a neighbor to offer a ride to the airport," Al Jazeera reports.
Read the rest of the Al Jazeera report here.

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