Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Time Banks

We recently featured this video on the Sustain Yourself page that was all about 'Time Banks" and we wanted to do a blog post about this new initiative.  Time banking is about spending an hour doing something for someone in your community and that hour goes into a Time Bank as a Time Dollar.  Then you have that Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you.  It is an awesome way to build community connections which is the core philosophy behind Time Banks.  A Time Bank begins with a core group of committed individuals who are joined together for the common good.  Time Banks create a system that connects unmet needs with untapped resources with a community. 

Time is something we seem to never have enough of because most of us are spending  all of our time trying to generate money.  These new Time Banks may be manifestation of the 'Time is Money" saying that we have all heard for years.  Where we live we have seen many alternative currency and barter systems try to launch and take hold in our community.  We believe they failed primarily because there was no strong organizing structure behind them.  That is what is very appealing about the Time Bank - the structure and organization of this new model is incredibly strong.  When you go to the website you will see that they have all of the resources you will need to learn about and begin your own Time Bank in your community.  The software platform is very impressive and allows for a uniform process to be implemented with enough customization to make your communities Time Bank unique.  Besides the strong organization and structure the philosophy behind these Time Banks has 5 core values which are the binding glue of Time Bank members:  
  • #1 - Assets - We are all assets and every human being has something to contribute.
  • #2 - Redefining Work - Some work is beyond price.  Work has to be redefined to value whatever it takes to raise healthy children, build strong families, revitalize neighborhoods, make democracy work, advance social justice, and make the planet sustainable. That kind of work needs to be honored, recorded, and rewarded.
  • #3 - Reciprocity - Helping works better as a two-way street.  The question "how can I help you? needs to change so we ask 'how can we help each other build the world we both will live in?
  • #4 - Social Networks - We need each other.  Networks are stronger than individuals.  People helping each other reweave communities of support, strength and trust.  Community is built upon sinking roots, building trust, and creating networks. Special relationships are built on commitment.
  • #5 - Respect - Every human being matters.  Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value.  Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy.  When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured.  We must respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.
With these 5 Core Values at the foundation of each Time Bank one could easily project a long term self sustaining Bank that won't have to ask for government bailouts or collapse under the current economic chaos. We are going to try to set one up in our community and we strongly encourage you to check it out for yours!