Time Banks

Time Banks



Barter Websites

One Step Between Capitalism and a Gift Economy

TIME BANKS: HourWorld and TimeBanksUSA

Time Banks are springing up all over the world. This is new way of doing business that combines your gifts, your talents, your career and your life purpose. Offer what you have. Request what you desire. It's that simple. A time bank will calculate the hours you give and the hours you receive.

Time Banks provide the opportunity to employ those who would not ordinarily have a place in today's marketplace. The unemployed, under employed, handicapped, and mentally disabled may have important services they can provide to the overwhelmed mother or the struggling business owner. In exchange, the business owner might help a disabled veteran put up a website that would give him the opportunity to make a living through an online business. Not a hand out, but definitely a service based on charity and love.

  • Get someone to help you make those business phone calls that would really help your business take off.
  • Get someone to come in and clean your home while you catch up on some much needed rest.
  • Offer someone a ride that lives on your way to the grocery store.
  • Offer someone help moving.
  • Cook a meal for someone who is sick.

A transition step between capitalism and a gift economy.

The gift economy promotes the idea of making sure every man woman and child has food shelter and clothing before expecting them to be a contributing member of society. Take care of the basic needs and each individual can soar to their highest potential without preoccupation with the acquisition of these basic human needs.

Bartering / Trade / Time Banking

Barter and trade is another step towards a gift economy, but it is still a system of exchange. It is based upon your ability to negotiate a deal. In many cases there is a winner and a loser. It is good, in that it is a creative way to meet your needs without capital.

Time banking is a trending new economy system that barters your time for points that can be spent within the system. I love the idea of time banking because it evens out the playing field, since we all have the exact same number of hours in a day. It implies that all people are created equal and their service time has equal value. The problem I saw in my own experience was encountering a professional who seemed to believe that her time was worth more than everyone elses. She charged 2 or 3 hours for 1 hour of her time. In so doing, she was recreating the same disparity that already exists in the present economy. So what did we gain? A new economy is hoping to solve the economic traps of perpetual poverty.

Other frailties I found was that these systems were unable to trade with each other. Their software was not designed to talk to each other. One might earn points in one system, but they could not be spent in the other system.
The final issue I found was the software focused on time-based services without the opportunity to trade for goods. It would be very simple to create a way to do both.

Hopefully someone is designing a software soon that can consolidate all the time banking systems of the world, make it possible to use points for goods as well as services, and train people in the morality issues of the equal value of human energy.

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