Time as Currency

I just returned home from an enlightening Evolver Spore meeting at the funky, dog-friendly, ParkGrounds Coffee House in Atlanta.

To back track a bit, Evolver is a new social network for conscious collaboration. It provides a platform for individuals, communities, and organizations to discover and share the new tools, initiatives, and ideas that will improve our lives and change the world. In addition to being an on-line network, they also have monthly spore meetings on the third Wednesday of the month in various cities across the country, so that people can actually meet each other face to face.

The topic this month was “Beyond Money.” We looked a bit at the problems in our financial system and then explored some local grass-roots initiatives for complementary currencies. I have come across some other bartering systems recently, but it seemed confusing to assign values and points to various tasks, and the inherent issues with our current value structure still exist in these systems. So for example in our current system, if you look at the hourly pay scale, childcare and gardening are valued much less than legal expertise. It is a system based more on scarcity of talent than on what is necessary for our health and well-being.

This is why I love Time Banking! It takes away the professional echelon and values people and their time equally.  For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you. In addition to not having to spend money on these projects, you also get to know your neighbors and share your expertise.

Obviously this is not a new concept, people have been trading time and talents around the world for thousands of years. But in recent decades, as we pull our car into our garage, walk hurriedly into our air-conditioned home, and turn on the tv, we have become disconnected from our community. When we lose this sense of place, it becomes easy for us to also lose our sense of responsibility to the land and caring for the people around us.

It is time to step back out onto our porches and exchange the most valuable commodity of all – our time.

If you live in the Candler Park/Lake Claire area and want to be a part of Atlanta’s first time bank, please visit: https://www.atlantatimebank.org/

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