Time isn’t money. It’s much more important, more valuable. With time you can do anything. That’s why a bank for time seems much more valuable to me than the one which messed up our economic system.
There are banks out there which don’t trade money but skills – or better: time. The time-banking system makes it possible for you to exchange your time for somebody else’s. Let’s say you need somebody to help you wallpapering your new appartment. With all the semi-professional paper hangers out there, I’m pretty sure you’ll find somebody who’ll be happy to help out. He or she might some day need somebody else’s time for let’s say, planting a rose garden.
The idea of time bartering is that you don’t have to pay back the same person but offer your skills to whomever needs them. For every hour you offer to the community, you’ll get one hour of work back from somebody else. Just log on and find somebody who offers the skills you are looking for.
In the US, TimeBanks has become a fast growing movement. They believe that “we are all assets and we all have something to give”. Which is a refreshing alternative to the way the economy makes people feel. “The mission of TimeBanks is to nurture and expand a movement that promotes equality and builds caring community economies through inclusive exchange of time and talent.” TimeBanks helps the establishment of networks of timebankers all over the world.
65 hours and TimeBanking UK are established time banks and also a social networks which help you “paying for services with time rather than money”. Time banking also means volunteering but getting something back; and besides, it’s good for you: “Volunteering and increased social interaction are known preventions that mean better health”, this NY Times article on a Community Time banks knows.
Think about it. What skills could you offer the people around you? Maybe you could help them translating documents, using computer programs or mowing the lawn?! And now think what you could sometimes use a hand for? Maybe you have a machine which needs fixing or lot’s of fruit which need picking? If not now, you’ll need help someday. It’ll be good to have some time on the time bank then.
Today I’m off to Thailand for my next semester (I’m sure I’ll have some Bangkok posts for you very soon). When I’m back in The Netherlands, I’ll check out the e-flux time/bank store! The creators let us know: “All across Europe, we are suddenly being told that we are too poor to afford culture, but we are not poor. Many of us are artists, writers, curators, teachers, filmmakers, designers, and architects, and we have knowledge and skills. We can self-organize.”
A big thanks to fellow blogger Rob from Know Thank You for the idea.