Time Banks - Does any currently participate?

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ChrisDudley's picture
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Joined: Sep 15 2008
Posts: 5
Time Banks - Does any currently participate?

A friend recently turned my on to this site. It seens like this is an interesting way to "barter" and build community at the same time.


What It Is

What is Time Banking All About?

its most basic level, Time banking is simply about spending an hour
doing something for somebody in your community. That hour goes into the
Time Bank as a Time Dollar. Then you have a Time dollar to spend on
having someone doing something for you. It's a simple idea, but it has
powerful ripple effects in building community connections.

Time Bank has a website where you list what you would like to do for
other members. You look up Time Bank services online or call a
community coordinator to do it for you. You earn Time Dollars after
each service you perform and then you get to spend it on whatever you
want from the listings.

With Time Banking, you will be
working with a small group of committed individuals who are joined
together for a common good. It connects you to the best in people
because it creates a system that connects unmet needs with untapped
resources. To see what happens each week when you are part of Time Bank
is deeply fulfilling, especially if you are helping to make it run.


Fivemileshigh's picture
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Joined: Dec 23 2008
Posts: 17
Re: Time Banks - Does any currently participate?

The first and only point I considered is this: the basic concept is that one does 1 hour of labour which one can "bank" as credit to be spent. Said credit would entitle me to request 1 hour of labour from someone else. There is one basic fallacy with this concept: It presupposes that all labour is equal. In other words, and I use an extreme example just to illustrate my point, I can call somebody to help me for 2 hours to paint a fence, and I can be called to somebody to work for 2 hours to do a repair on their car's engine. They are both 2 hours of labour, but require vastly different skill levels to perform and thus require someone to sacrifice something more valuable for something less valuable. It would not be a fair trade thus it will not self-sustain. The basic principle involved is altruism, and that is what is now bringing humanity to its knees.


BTW, the subject should read: "Time Banks - Do any currently participate?" or "Time Banks - Does anyone currently participate?"

Gadfly's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 6 2008
Posts: 127
Re: Time Banks - Does any currently participate?

I will only participate if the Federal Reserve can control the amount of "Time Dollars" that can be issued.

Zafra Davian's picture
Zafra Davian
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Joined: Dec 5 2008
Posts: 9
Re: Time Banks - Does any currently participate?

Haha! :-)

This looks really good. Yes, it is slightly 'socialistic' for lack of a better term right now, but where I live, we do this, anyway. I gladly help out my neighbors with computer work and in exchange they have watched my daughter. Typical babysitters make $8-10/hour, and we get $80 for our expertise. BUT - their help is *priceless* to me because of my ADD and related depression/anger issues. It's priceless to my daughter, too, although she's too young to really understand that. :-) (3 year old)

So I look at this knowing I would be giving away 'expensive' knowledge, perhaps at a lower cost - but if you take away the monetary value of getting a degree, then the decisions become much easier. If I love to work on computers, or TV's (or mow lawns, or paint, or do math) and HATE to do some other task - is it not worth an hour of my time doing something I love to have another person spend an hour doing something they love for me in return?!

I dunno. Maybe I'm just communal and sappy, but this sounds like a great thing. I already checked and Florida doesn't have any. Which doesn't surprise me, sadly. 

SagerXX's picture
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Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2236
Re: Time Banks - Does any currently participate?

I agree the concept is fraught w/potential imbalances, but I have in the past traded my services as Pilates instructor for such things as massage or acupuncture (mmmmm....acupunctureaghghghhh[drool]).  In the case of massage, I do a 1-for-1 trade.  Both teaching Pilates and doing massage are fairly high-concentration/high energy cost activities (if you think teaching Pilates [a form of superprecise physical fitness] doesn't take a lot of energy, you should try to Get Present And Stay 100% Present -- totally focused on your client's physique and their smallest moves and the hitches in their movements -- for 55 minutes at a stretch...then take 5 minutes off...and do it again w/the next client...for up to 8-9 hours a day).  

Since acupuncture -- while requiring a great deal of training -- generally involves the practictioner setting you up and getting the needles in, and then letting you be for 20 - 50 minutes (or more) while they do something else, I generally do a 2-acupuncture-to-1-Pilates hour trade.

So:  long story short (too late?), time banks can work as long as whoever partakes has agreed upon the way the hours interact.  Not so hard to do in small groups, much more difficult (I imagine) in larger groups.  (Just like so many other human endeavors...)

Viva! -- Sager 

ReginaF's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 16 2009
Posts: 93
Re: Time Banks - Does any currently participate?

Yes, I do - since 1995, when we founded with 2 collegues of mine our System in a little town (16.000) in the northern part of germany. For more informations please see: www.tauschring-glinde.de.

The System works well and there are  a lot more of it in Germany. The exchange is 1 hour work to 1 hour work + charges for the material you sometimes need. It's nice to do those things you are good at and like to do (in my example cooking & gardening) and get help in those things you can't (drive myself to the airport or carpentry) or you don't like (window-washing for example). And - its a good for building community. First time we established it especially for people, who are new in our town, for disabled or older persons and for single parents, who otherwise did'nt get the essential contact in the community. Now, there are a lot of people who enjoy to work and to know other interesting people nearby.

 Best greetings, Regina

Crash's picture
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Joined: Nov 26 2008
Posts: 171
Re: Time Banks - Does any currently participate?
Fivemileshigh wrote:

The basic principle involved is altruism, and that is what is now bringing humanity to its knees.




not sure I follow...



Crash's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 26 2008
Posts: 171
Re: Time Banks - Does any currently participate?

I am a member of a LETS which is a similiar to Time-Bank, but a little more sophisticated, because although there is a 'recommended' amount of units to be earned/charged per hour, there is more room for negotiation and variety.


In our LETS, the 'going' rate is 25 units/hour. in others it is often 5 units/hour, but these are normally guidlines for an average wage.


The best things about LETS:


 - member-owned currency: the members of the scheme own and run the scheme and own the currency. This is opposed to the mainstrream system where our currency is owned by banks.


- labour-linked money supply: Units are only ever tied to an equal worth in labour or goods, so there is never too great or too little a money supply, as in the current system where banks are constantly increasing the money supply with debt, until, at their whim credit is withdrawn again.


Interest-free money: Interest is neither gained on deposits nor charged on debits. This does away with the need for unsustainable growth that our current interst-bearing-debt money creates. People are not rewarded for hoarding money and are not penalised for borrowing. In fact the system relies on some people being in the negative whilst others are in the positive and all accounts always balance to zero. The aim of the game is remain fluctuating around the zero credits mark rather than rack up large deposits. Large deposits in a LETS means that someone, somewhere has large debits. The aim of the LETS is to marry these people up, encourage the Depositers to spend their credits with the debitors and balance the energy flow in the scheme. 


Builds community: LETS is based on building community, not dividing it. There is no competition for curreny in LETS as every member has ample access to currency, created on demand when they buy goods and services


check our website out here:


In the US, this is a good example:


UK national LETS body:






Fivemileshigh's picture
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Joined: Dec 23 2008
Posts: 17
Re: Time Banks - Does any currently participate?



Altruism is the principle that one should willingly sacrifice himself unto others. Sacrifice is the exchange of something of a certain value for something of a lesser value (net loss).  If this is a guiding principle to be followed, it should hold true at all levels, including at the ultimate level, that of sacrificing what you value most to a complete stranger. Your most precious posession is your life. By the principle of altruism, you should sacrifice your life at the earliest opportunity, i.e. go to the nearest hospital and donate your heart to the top patient on the waiting list regardless of who it is. Altruism is thus the morality of death. These are pretty big words, I know, but if you reason it to the most basic principle, it is true.

Being coerced to trade an hour of fence paiting for an hour of car fixing is thus altruism and it is wrong in principle. 

 BIG NOTE:  If the time bank is a way for people to freely, non-taxing and uncoercively trade labour hours in amounts they mutually agree to, (i.e. I will paint your fence if you drive me to the airport, such as in the example given by the gentleman from Germany), then it is a sound principle and I would encourage it. If it involves the forced equalization of labour in any way shape or form, no matter how slight, it is wrong.


hope this makes it clearer.

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