• Thursday, August 30th, 2012

time bankWhile the old adage, “Time is Money” may hold true in a World where money rules our lives, time is really the only commodity we truly own. Time is far more valuable than money.

When people run out of money, they resourcefully turn to their other assets of value, like time, and look to maximize its usefulness. That’s where the concept of time banks come in.

There are no active time banks in Montreal or Quebec, according to the Time Bank Community Directory, although the NDG Time Bank was started here in 2009.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Even though she’s one of millions of young, unemployed Spaniards, 22-year-old Silvia Martín takes comfort in knowing that her bank is still standing behind her. It’s not a lending institution, but rather a time bank whose nearly 400 members barter their services by the hour.

Ms. Martín, who doesn’t own a car and can’t afford taxis, has relied on other time-bank members to give her lifts around town for her odd jobs and errands, as well as to help with house repairs. In return, she has cared for members’ elderly relatives, organized children’s parties and even hauled boxes for a member moving to a new house.

The time bank not only saves her cash, she says, but also lifts her spirits by making her feel “part of a community that’s taking some positive action during hard times.”

As Europe’s leaders struggle with a five-year-old economic crunch that has saddled Spain with the industrialized world’s highest jobless rate, young Spaniards are increasingly embracing such bottom-up self-help initiatives to cope. The diverse measures—some commonly associated with rural or disaster-zone economies—supplement a public safety net that is fraying under government austerity programs.

Research Credit: Cryptogon

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One Response

  1. In ‘monetary’ insecurity & colonial tradition, NDG, Spanish & worldwide Time-bank organizers have unfortunately mis-interpreted key organization factors for the development of local economies.

    I’m involved for decades now locally around Montreal, in British Columbia, Quebec & internationally (EF Schumacher Society Local Currencies in the 21st Century), only to see organizers & funders continually repeating the error of trying to organize ‘trades’ without recognizing multi-stakeholder member ‘investment’ (time, money, resources, property, goods, services etc) & knowledge for decision-making empowerment in the development & operation of time-banks.

    Humanity’s universal worldwide ‘indigenous’ (Latin = ‘self-generating’) ancestors integrated ‘capital’ (L ‘cap’ = ‘head’ or ‘wisdom’), ‘currency’ (‘flow’), condolence (social-security), collegial-education (mentor-based apprenticeship), math-based communication & other community values seamlessly in one accounting cycle. There is so much ‘reaction’ or ‘protest’ to the present ‘economic’ (L ‘oikos’ = ‘home’) system without ‘pro-active’ ‘manifestation’ (becoming the change we want to see in the world) or understanding humanity’s long worldwide indigenous economic heritage.

    Indigenous people understand the first question of ‘community’ (L ‘com’ = ‘together’ + ‘munus’ = ‘gift or service’) economy as “Do we know who we are?”

    Humanity has the knowledge & resources needed to thrive but must move beyond insecurity-fear-weakness-based alienating-reaction to strength-based appreciative-creation.

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