Timebanking, a values-based system of equal exchange of time, has taken root in 33 countries to date and has shown a resiliency not commonly seen in complementary currencies. Moreover, timebanking values core economic functions (caregiving, civic engagement, creativity) that tend to be un- or under-valued in the market economy, including in market-based complementary currencies. In addition, timebanking tends to be intuitively understood by the public at large and has been largely successful in including community members commonly excluded from market-based economies.
We propose that Timebanking can help stabilize communities, build social capital, and provide an experiential learning tool whereby community members can gain a better understanding of the whole picture of their local economy and then, if desired, use the local timebank as a tool for creating additional tools for economic health. Beginning with timebanking can enhance the ease and sustainability with which other complementary currencies, particularly price based mutual credit systems can take hold and allow local economies (with a healthy core) to bootstrap internal markets that need, value, and can utilize local labor sooner and more efficiently than more remote buyers might. Price-based mutual credit systems accomplish this within a local monetary system with moderate dependency on external sources of national currency, requiring enough currency to pay any local, regional, or national tax burdens associated with professional efforts and products purchased and sold with price-based mutual credit system credits.
Toward this end, we intend to conduct research and evaluation to qualify or substantiate the following theory of change.
Subjectively valuable cultural and economic transformation in alienated communities is catalyzed by formally embracing highly inclusive forms of individual and community reciprocity in combination with an ambitious (ie: unsustainable) production pulse.
- Establish understanding of the correlation between timebanking structure and universally held values
- Map broadly construed need-asset/opportunity-effort relationships among the largest and most complex addressable set of an alienated community’s individuals and organizations
- Establish (historically validated) successful model/pattern correlations to community reality. Invite extant resources within the community to align with model roles to co-create productive capital (new orgs, assets, flows) structured around a handful of the popular highest gain achievable value system-consistent unmet community needs.
- Utilize that productive capital to broaden opportunities to participate in market economies for individuals and orgs at sufficiency margins (neither top nor bottom, but at communities ‘employment’ or engagement loss-gain boundaries)
After research and evaluation point toward maximally effective methods and modes we propose to make a virtual kit, a set of services, tools, and approaches for disseminating these tools cheap enough, accessible enough, and replicable enough to scale. Included in this effort is the creation of a training and support infrastructure that can be decentralized, have the capacity to grow rapidly, and can be applied flexibly to accommodate local conditions. This requires that healthy communities can contribute enough back to support dissemination to support the costs of that effort; just as fair trade investments ultimately must be self sustaining, so must dissemination of timebanking. We expect that wealthy and large communities will carry a greater fraction of the financial and technical infrastructure burden, whereas smaller poorer communities will contribute a larger fraction of less globally fungible resources such as translation, localization of training material, and the case studies and utilization data used to optimize efforts.