¨A wide range of estimates – from Gary Becker to Nancy Folbre – find that at least 40% of our country’s productive work goes on outside of the market economy,¨ says Edgar Cahn. Time Banking allows us to recognize and reward that work.

Time banking is a complementary currency. It is not designed to replace the monetary currency, but to account for the aspects of the economy that the monetary currency does not value. The monetary system only accounts for a segment of the economy; it is a mental construct based on the belief of worth given to human labor and endeavor. It is also based on the limitations of physical resources and the scarcity thereof. Therefore, the more rare something is, the more valuable it is in the monetary system.

However, the monetary does not account for what we have in abundance, in either the emotional or spiritual aspects of our economy. The monetary system regards these as worthless, where in actuality, they priceless, and as of yet, not fully recognized as such. Because of this near-sightedness in our understanding and accounting for true value in our world, we have found ourselves in outlandish amounts of debt and fearful of economic collapse. Time banking is a way to account for the services we bring to the world every day, but that the monetary system must ignore due to its proclivity toward scarcity.

So while the time bank does offer the opportunity for the realization of more abundance, it also still has to work within the constraints of a society that has habitually run on only financial steam to operate the economy. Until we reach the tipping point and enough people open up to the idea that the world is more plentiful and abundant than governments, banks, corporations, and religions would have us believe, and that by rising to our own highest capabilities we help our community rise to its highest good, there is still a use for money in dealing with the limited. However, it is treated largely as a finite resource and so, not the fuel for this new machine, but merely the ignition flame.


Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at The Unbroken Path and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.