Archives for the month of: November, 2012

At this point in time, time-banking is a viable alternative to the cash economy, but that does not mean that it is currently able to be a replacement. It opens up the doors for us to realize that there are other ways of developing economic value outside of the monetary system. The monetary system still serves a purpose, but as we realize its limitations in providing us with what we really want and need, we must direct our energies toward currencies that will. I think that the time bank is but an introduction to other currencies that we will develop as we seek ways to meet our needs, and the needs of the world, in more just, efficient, and sustainable ways.

 

Time dollars,¨ says Edgar Cahn, ¨tap the side of human nature that barely exists in economic thinking-the side that wants to help and be useful and simply feel good. In mobilizing this important resource, money is not very good.”

 

Money is good at accounting for limited resources, and used wisely and judiciously, it can really thrive at measuring scarcity. However, to measure the value that we can receive from our community when we invest our time, care, talents, and skills into the people around us, money is completely ill-equipped to measure that kind of abundance. What we need to realize is that money is not the entirety of our economy. Time banking helps us find value in the Core Economy that really makes life vibrant.

 

If you want to free yourself from some of the stress caused by financial woes, something that´s coming down hard on everybody, you want to find ways to not only alleviate that stress, but make your life even better. Time-banking allows you to do what you enjoy and connects you with people that want to make sure you´re taken care of. At a time like this, with so much changing in the world around us, community is the greatest investment you can make.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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Historically, human civilization has always contained some strain of inequality as people have manipulated dominance over others. As we have worked toward a greater sense of equality in both gender and race since the Sixties, these days we are also realizing a great disparity between rich and poor. Time-banking allows for the cultivation of a currency outside of the influence of the paradigm which makes that type of inequality possible. In a time bank, every single member has 24 hours in each day, and no single member´s time is any more or less valuable than anyone else´s. We are all equal.

Presently, not all of us get to completely choose how we spend our 24 hours. Many of us have to sell quite a few of our hours in order to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. But there are many others that are recognizing the importance of their time, and have the ability to be more selective in how it is spent. The more we can use this technology to teach people how to recognize greater abundance than merely the representation of it, the more people will more time in their hands to do with what they wish. And from what I´ve experienced in witnessing people participate in a life that appreciates them, I really believe that the majority of us really do enjoy putting our hands to good work.

America´s great declaration has always been about independence. It has been about celebrating the individual´s ability to make a life for himself. As a virtue, It has helped create a plethora of free thinkers that have gone way outside the box to develop incredible technologies and human rights movements that continue to aid in humanity´s evolution. As a curse, it has also planted seeds of pride, greed, isolation, addiction, violence, and selfishness. Unfortunately, those seeds have developed rather deep roots.

Because those seeds also serve as the foundation for much of our financial abundance, cultivating a culture of consumerism, our standard operating procedure often precludes Americans from the practices of community development and understanding economics outside of ¨what´s in it for me?¨ The good news is that not all Americans are content with the status quo and the celebration of independence alone. In America, although perhaps a bit more slow-going than in other parts of the world, people are realizing that the the next great revolution is one of interdependence.

 

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.

 

One of the concerns I have heard about time banking is that it will detract from the pure benevolence of volunteering. Indeed, there is much value in simply participating in life and serving one´s community without seeking anything in return. However, in our dichotomous economic system, participating in life is usually seen as either something you profit from, like a paid job, or something you give yourself to, like a charity. But as Edgar Cahn points out, “Charity is wonderful, but most people don’t want it. Many people won’t accept help if it is welfare.” Time banking allows people to participate in the life of their community in the space between profiteering and volunteering, a model which is much more in sync with the natural rhythm of life.

Is it really so unthinkable to design a helping program that functions like a community, rather than like charity?¨ Cahn continues. ¨Time Dollars may appear to compromise the spirit of volunteerism, but that is mainly because we have drifted so far from a sense of real community. In practice, Time Dollars strengthen the volunteer spirit by providing a context of reciprocity that turns service into a real force, rather than just a political bromide to avoid facing social needs.”

While government assistance programs have seen many more participants over the last few years as people have been forced to rely on unemployment and food stamps in order to survive in the wake of the economic crises which have befallen us, many are too proud to take advantage of such things. And those that are reliant on such programs do, on some level, suffer the anguish of a lowered self esteem based upon their inability to operate in the world without such assistance. Many conventional volunteer programs that serve the needs of those citizens that are unable to compete for survival in the Darwinian construct of capitalism are also left wanting because of the lack of reciprocity in their activities.

Such programs,¨ Cahn points out, ¨are built on a status ladder: paid professional staff at the top, volunteers in the middle, and needy recipients at the bottom. This divides the world into the able and disabled, givers and takers, haves and have-nots. The model is charity, rather than community. And the volunteer becomes second-class and dispensable.”

Time-banking helps institute programs that allow citizens to be the able-bodied participants in their community that they are fully capable of being, without relegating them to the role of ¨societal sponge¨ that seems to serve as the scourge of our system. It allows people to both give and receive, opening them up to a truer realization of abundance and a greater sense of self esteem.

Certainly, people will never stop volunteering. We have an intrinsic need to serve the world benevolently, and those who have tasted the joy of giving without the need to get back will continue to cultivate that joy through their very being. However, for those who have been cast by the wayside in this economic climate of ¨looking out for number one,¨ time-banking offers the opportunity for them to realize that we are all One.

 

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.

With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, mankind forever changed its operating procedures. Especially in Western Civilization, with this new trend of economic development, the work that people did to participate in their communities, largely through cottage industries where families would work together to develop their livelihood, was changed to meet the needs of the supposed ¨greater good¨ of industrial growth.

In the nineteenth century,¨ according to Edgar Cahn, ¨people were wrenched out of traditional social roles to become employees in mass production. After World War II, their role was increasingly to consume the things produced, and consumption became a substitute for the many social ties that remained.”

Before we relegated ourselves to the demands of industry, humans operated largely out of their homes, developing stronger familial ties, and a greater sense of community through collaborative cooperation. As corporate industries formulated ways to produce goods faster, and seemingly more inexpensively, cottage industries were unable to compete and were forced to take jobs in factories in order to meet the growing needs of an economy that moved further away from the household and into the realm of hierarchical economic growth.

Because this revolution of industry was based on the use of machinery, it became quickly reliant on a steady source of fuel to run the machines. The more the machines ran, the greater the need for fuel. Unfortunately, this fuel was comprised of our time and energy, slowly turning mankind from citizens to consumers.

Fortunately, now that we have gone through the Information Revolution, we are given the ability to move beyond our roles as simply consumers that feed the machine, and return to our proper roles as citizens. Instead of simply creating industry for industry´s sake, we can now choose to once again create community and cultivate lifestyles that provide true wealth for all instead of simply material wealth for some.

As Laurence G. Boldt states in Zen and the Art of Making a Living, ¨Today we stand at a crossroads in human history. We have the opportunity to create a new image of ourselves at work, one which will surely trigger a revolution as profound, as shocking, as transforming as the Industrial Revolution. Even as the Industrial Revolution could not occur until there was a massive shift in society´s view of work and wealth, so must an equally profound change in thinking regarding work and wealth occur before the next quantum leap in man´s social evolution can flourish. We can no more conceptualize the impact of such a change than a pre-industrial miller in the hills of England or New Hampshire could have conceptualized the impact of the Industrial Revolution he was helping to foster. We are charting new ground. We must.¨

Time-banking is a pivotal tool for helping us turn the tide to become more than fuel for an antiquated economic system, but participants in a new, collaborative way of creating the world in which we can all live abundantly.

 

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.