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posted by cmn32480 on Saturday June 27 2015, @12:34PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the immortality-here-i-come dept.

As part of their Get2Gether Challenge, the Center [for a New American Dream] put together this video on how to start a time bank. Essentially a neighborhood exchange program that allows people to connect and trade their skills, time banks work by providing a system through which neighbors perform tasks or services for each other—anything from DIY to accounting to gardening skills—and earn "hours" in the time bank (everyone's time is valued equally), which they can then trade with other neighbors for other skills.

Not only does it get neighbors talking and trading together, and therefore create tighter social bonds, but it also keeps people trading skills, goods and resources locally. Why pay for an organic tomato from California when you can have your neighbor teach you how to grow your own? The other plus side of time banks is that they can help low income people, or folks who may not be able to work full time, by providing a way to supplement their income and get out in society on their own terms, without the need for start-up capital or formal business knowhow.

Science Fiction writers often explore alternative economies. Kim Stanley Robinson did a lot in his Mars Trilogy. Would you participate in a Time Bank? The ability to tell people, "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" could make you the king of the neighborhood Time Bank.


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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Qzukk on Saturday June 27 2015, @01:37PM

    by Qzukk (1086) on Saturday June 27 2015, @01:37PM (#202061) Journal

    Not going to let anyone plant an ob on me [abelard.org].

    • (Score: 1) by gznork26 on Saturday June 27 2015, @04:46PM

      by gznork26 (1159) on Saturday June 27 2015, @04:46PM (#202118) Homepage Journal

      Thanks for that link to "And Then There Were None". More people should read it.

      Back in 2008, I used a series of short stories to explore the possibility of local government supporting this by paying people who do work for the city and the community in currency that can be exchanged for an hour of someone else's time. That extends the reach of the idea to people who want to participate but don't have a skill that's in need at the moment. Here's link to the part that introduces the new currency:

      http://klurgsheld.wordpress.com/2008/01/06/short-story-la-scrip/ [wordpress.com]

      Further on in the series, I explored a way to keep people from hoarding the scrip by printing it with inks that faded on a schedule.

      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday June 27 2015, @08:03PM

        by mhajicek (51) on Saturday June 27 2015, @08:03PM (#202200)

        How does it help someone who's skills aren't in need? If you're skills are in need, are you going to trade your skilled time one for one with that of a bonsai trimmer?

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 2) by linuxrocks123 on Sunday June 28 2015, @09:59AM

      by linuxrocks123 (2557) on Sunday June 28 2015, @09:59AM (#202384) Journal

      Anyone who might be tempted to read the link: it's a short story version of Atlas Shrugged without the Ubermensch parts. It's a good example how even the most ridiculous of ideas can seem superficially plausible in the context of a fictional story where the author controls the setting, the characters, and all events and action.

      If you're aware of Ayn Rand or the general theory of Libertarianism, you probably won't find anything new in the story. If you're not, you might be interested, though I encourage engaging in some serious critical thinking afterwards so that you don't allow yourself to be brainwashed.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by lentilla on Saturday June 27 2015, @02:15PM

    by lentilla (1770) on Saturday June 27 2015, @02:15PM (#202070)

    The time-honoured strategy for getting people to do work at your place, for free... is simply to be smoking hot. Or drop hints that your hot friend "might drop around" that afternoon. Works like a charm.

    Are there any blokes out there that haven't participated in this kind of exchange at least a couple of times?

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27 2015, @03:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27 2015, @03:17PM (#202081)

      I haven't done it with hot chicks but unattractive girls really get interested in you when you help them out. It's like nobody is ever nice to them.
      The success rate for hot girls is probably zero since they are used to guys falling over each other to get noticed.

    • (Score: 2) by jimshatt on Saturday June 27 2015, @06:06PM

      by jimshatt (978) on Saturday June 27 2015, @06:06PM (#202167) Journal
      I'd respond with: "I didn't know you were a prostitute. Nice. That's nice."
  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday June 27 2015, @04:48PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 27 2015, @04:48PM (#202119) Journal

    Really, its just people helping their friends. Maybe expecting reciprocation, maybe not.
    Its never going to extend to or include that asshole down the street.

    When you touch your neighbors stuff, even with the best of intentions, you somehow acquire all future blame. When your neighbors touch your stuff, they somehow acquire all your tools.

    In their twisted world view, it almost seems like a fair trade.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Marand on Saturday June 27 2015, @10:37PM

      by Marand (1081) on Saturday June 27 2015, @10:37PM (#202250) Journal

      When you touch your neighbors stuff, even with the best of intentions, you somehow acquire all future blame. When your neighbors touch your stuff, they somehow acquire all your tools.

      Not just that, you acquire blame for unrelated things with stuff you didn't even touch or go near. Happens with paying gigs, too, because it's just a "some people are assholes" thing. I've lost count of how many times I've gotten blamed for something breaking after helping a friend, relative, or someone I was working for -- weeks, months, or even years after. Usually, it's just assholes making an excuse to get more free work out of you.

      I've done minor work for someone, then gotten a call over a year later accusing me of breaking their machine and demanding I fix it. The problem? They fucked it up with a virus. Obviously related to me setting up a new modem or whatever the hell it was I did...

      I had one guy...I added some RAM to his system and helped him set up his email client (he'd changed hosting recently, supposedly), then a day later he called me and started accusing me of "hacking" him and ruining his business reputation. The reason? He'd been trying to send emails for over a year without a working smtp server, so when he finally got working settings, the client dutifully sent all those old emails out. Not only did he lie to me about how long he'd been without a host, he'd gone over a year without one because he wasn't paying for it, but was still trying to send mail from the unpaid host...

      Not surprisingly, that same guy decided paying me was also optional not long after that, so I quit doing work for him. Then six months later he contacted me, pissed that I hadn't continued maintaining all his shit despite six-month overdue bills and lack of communication on his part over said bills. Then demanded I teach him how to do the work himself -- for free of course -- so that he wouldn't have to deal with a "useless piece of shit" like myself any more. When I refused he even threatened legal action as an attempt to coerce me into doing more free work. (Never actually acted on the threats, though; he knew he owed me money and wouldn't get anywhere.)

      TL;DR: There's always going to be that guy and all you can do is learn who it is and avoid dealing with him or her in the future. Though it does seem to happen more often with computer stuff because people still seem to think of them as magic boxes.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by BK on Saturday June 27 2015, @04:48PM

    by BK (4868) on Saturday June 27 2015, @04:48PM (#202120)

    Barter system. Fine... so what happens if someone screws up. The local IT barterer and the local doctor agree to trade services... And the doctor makes an error that looks like the local definition of malpractice. I suppose that'd have to be settled with money, right? Or the IT contractor deletes the doctor's files... again, money? I wonder if either can barter coverage with the liability insurance guy so they can afford premiums...

    --
    ...but you HAVE heard of me.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by darkfeline on Saturday June 27 2015, @11:06PM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Saturday June 27 2015, @11:06PM (#202257) Homepage

      Part of the problem with our current society is our obsession with assigning blame and demanding compensation, as well as general mistrust.

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
  • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Saturday June 27 2015, @05:04PM

    by hemocyanin (186) on Saturday June 27 2015, @05:04PM (#202130) Journal

    I dream of a post-scarcity utopia but in the present day, I find it extremely hard to believe that a CPA is going to trade an hour of time for an hour of lawn mowing. I certainly wouldn't, and the fact is, it isn't fair to ask for an hour from an accountant in exchange for an hour of lawn mowing. It takes about 5 minutes to learn the basics of mowing, maybe an hour or two to become really good at it. A highly educated profession however, is going to involve years of study, massive student debt, and tremendous effort. In a world of scarcity, where the CPA suffered through all it takes to get where he or she is, it is terribly inequitable to value that time as equal to unskilled labor.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by terryk30 on Saturday June 27 2015, @09:44PM

      by terryk30 (1753) on Saturday June 27 2015, @09:44PM (#202232)

      ...and we all know what happens next: the CPA says to the person pushing the mower, "yeah, I'll do your taxes, but we'll register it at 4-to-1 hours" - and now you're back to money.

      I'm "all for" people wondering about alternatives of various kinds, but often when it comes to trying to get rid of money, you'd find it just gets reinvented at 9:05 the next morning.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by acp_sn on Saturday June 27 2015, @05:20PM

    by acp_sn (5254) on Saturday June 27 2015, @05:20PM (#202136)

    and really money seems like a more efficient way of handling things

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday June 28 2015, @10:15AM

      by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Sunday June 28 2015, @10:15AM (#202388) Homepage
      Yeah, but this system avoids taxes. Evades, even.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27 2015, @05:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27 2015, @05:21PM (#202137)

    We have a nice system that 'banks hours'. We call it money. I work for money. I use that money to buy goods. I am selling hours that are banked into cash. I can then use that cash to buy other work from other people. You dont think the dude at the local mcdonalds likes his job do you? He is there to earn money to buy goods and services from others.

    This is just a form of a precursor of money. The next leap of logic for them is to 'buy' goods with 'hours'.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27 2015, @05:49PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27 2015, @05:49PM (#202159)

    The guy I associate with this is Edgar S. Cahn [nader.org]
    A very accomplished dude. [wikipedia.org]

    I listened to Ralph Nader chatting with him in January. (The 1st part of the MP3.) [ralphnaderradiohour.com]

    Ralph notes that he is a guy you will never encounter via Lamestream Media--but should (#4). [nader.org]

    -- gewg_

  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Saturday June 27 2015, @07:16PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Saturday June 27 2015, @07:16PM (#202187)

    Why pay for an organic tomato from California when you can have your neighbor teach you how to grow your own?

    isn't it obvious? i hate california and my plan to expend all their water is finally about to succeed!

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27 2015, @09:22PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27 2015, @09:22PM (#202227)

      Brilliant!

      As an aside I am so sick of hearing about how important Californian agriculture is. If you dig into the numbers and specific definitions people are spewing out (like 99% of walnuts grown in California), you realize how bunk it is. Look around your own backyard and you will find just about everything California claims a monopoly over is grown just down the road from you. That produce is sold locally and thus is not counted nationally. California farmers are heavily subsidized so they dominate the export business on price, but that does not mean their produce cant grow anywhere else or isn't grown anywhere else. Now excuse me while I go enjoy the view of my fruit and nut trees keeping the scorching sun off of my veggies in a northern state.

      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Saturday June 27 2015, @10:58PM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Saturday June 27 2015, @10:58PM (#202255) Journal

        I have a walnut tree it my yard that drops more walnuts than I want to eat every year. I never water it. Pacific NW. They store well too so there is no issue with season.

  • (Score: 2) by wisnoskij on Saturday June 27 2015, @07:17PM

    by wisnoskij (5149) <reversethis-{moc ... ksonsiwnohtanoj}> on Saturday June 27 2015, @07:17PM (#202188)

    So it is like the system in place in "In Time (2011)" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1637688/ [imdb.com]

  • (Score: 2) by turgid on Saturday June 27 2015, @10:53PM

    by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 27 2015, @10:53PM (#202254) Journal

    The trouble I have with time micromanagement systems is very personal. My Brain does not produce at a consistently predictable linear rate. Therefore I only tend to succeed when I am not micromanaged and am free to use as much of my own time, at whatever time of day or day of the week, that my brain finds necessary to work. I can be very unproductive during the day but find odd hyper-productive bursts at strange times. And I am willing to do the work..
      It sucks majorly when your time is scrutinised. So for a person like me, this sort of system would not work (although I'd be willing to participate).

  • (Score: 1) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Sunday June 28 2015, @12:57AM

    by fido_dogstoyevsky (131) <{axehandle} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday June 28 2015, @12:57AM (#202275)

    Not wanting to rain on anybody's barbeque, but what happens if the government decides that bartering time is taxable [ato.gov.au]?

    --
    It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.