Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Al-Jazeera Article on Time Banking

Some of the best bits:

"One critique of time banking is that it degrades acts of generosity to an IOU. But traditional charity, Blech points out, rarely leads to sustained relationships."
"Cahn believes that we can use time banking to improve civic engagement and decrease government spending: An elderly person who has someone to lend an arm on an icy walk or check the fine print on prescriptions is less likely to need hospital care. Cahn’s projects have received political support from both liberals seeking new tactics for providing social welfare and small-government conservatives (the IRS has ruled that time credits cannot be taxed)."
"According to Cahn, time banking allows for a more efficient use of our skills: Most people are paid for just one particular kind of labor, even if they’ve also spent decades practicing a hobby.""Most large time banks have at least one paid employee –— the VNSNY time bank has seven — but the cost of operating a time bank, Cahn says, can be as low as $1.50 for each hour of service provided. Critics have said that the necessity for paid staffers belies an obvious flaw in time banking — it requires money to sustain itself. But Cahn says his idea was never to create a wholly different economy, but to validate the kinds of people and labor that the monetary economy does not. They are, he says, a cost-efficient way of offering assistance to those who have lost unemployment benefits or have been pushed to the sidelines of the economy."
      Read the whole article. I am interested to see just how much potential these kind of schemes have. Taking the article at its word, it is an idea with a long history that computing has made much easier to administer, so that bodes well. Also, as my last post suggests, these types of schemes will probably benefit from the languishing monetary economy's slack capacity.

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