Timebanks on the Rise

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Timebanking, a sort of half-sister to the barter industry, has seen steady growth in recent times. From recent headlines…

…The Time Bank of Thrive Lake County has opened a “Social Capital Fund” which allows members to contribute their earned hours which are then used to help members of the community that may suffer from physical, financial or other challenges. Read more…

…The Time Bank of West Milford holds regular potluck dinners and meetings for members. Read more…

…West Seattle Timebank opened in 2013 and claims to be part of more than 300 other time banks. Read more…

…Louisville’s Time Bank exchanges over 500 hours per month. Read more…

…A new time bank, Oahu Timebank, is scheduled to open this month. Read more…

…Timebanks.org shows hundreds of operating time banks, some with hundreds of participating members, others with only one. Read more…

One of the common themes among time banks is a desire to help the local area and share at the community plate. Many time banks are operated by volunteers and charge no cash fees at all. They issue time credit lines much like a barter exchange issues a credit line to a business. It seems they all do community potlucks and believe in sharing the community plate. One hour of time spent baby sitting is good for one hour of time gardening or at the dentist. Unlike barter exchanges, time banks are at this point not required to issue 1099 statements as all exchanges are denominated only in statements of time. Time banks argue that you cannot arbitrarily associate an hour of time with a cash equivalent, and at this point, to our knowledge, the issue has not been pressed by the IRS.

Time banks are among the burgeoning group of alternative currencies that started gaining speed with the crash of 2007-2008. As local areas are affected, cash in circulation drops, and alternative currencies like time banks do a wonderful job of filling in some of the holes left in the wake of economic crashes due to faulty policy making on the part of our central bank.

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