Time for timebanks in the SSIR!

Holy cow, timebanks finally make it into the Stanford Social Innovation Review!

For anyone unfamiliar: you do an hour of service, your 1 hr of service generates a credit. You can use that credit to purchase an hour of service from someone else, etc.

For communities interested in it, it can bring people together (you get to know who’s up for doing whatever pretty quickly).

What readers might miss in the article without careful consideration about its implications:
It’s also a regenerative economic approach that breaks out of the negative feedback loops that austerity brings on (debt-oriented finance, i.e. slashing budgets to basic needs like education, veteran/elderly care, etc.) to still take care of basic necessities. In more mundane situations, it comes in handy for people low on cash but need a ride (carpooling someone, etc.) or can do basic services like baby sitting.

What else is exciting is that you (or at least, some economist/community organization/foundation) can *kind of* quantitatively gauge the vitality of a community. Of course, that’s assuming a community is actively using it. I’d still want things like education, records of domestic violence/crime, etc. to be considered.

And to get really far ahead, you can eventually use it as an indicator for more accurate monetary value–right now, US currency is valued by relatively arbitrary* interest rates set by the Federal Reserve. It doesn’t accurately account for things like health, community and environmental quality (ecosystem services etc.) which are necessary for reflecting the value of a society and its place.
If you want to get involved, Ann Arbor, Detroit, DC, and much of California seem to have active time banks. New York city seemed to have one too though I think it had trouble with integrating into the city’s department of elder care.


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