Woo Hoo! Our abstract was accepted to present at the International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies in LYON
February 16, 2011 – February 17, 2011
Looks like we’ll have to actually write the paper (and raise enough money to go!)
Here’s our abstract:
Deploying Timebanking for Human-scaled Economic Development: Abstract
Stephanie Rearick, Preston Austin, Marc Brakken
Timebanking, a values-based system of equal exchange of time, has taken root in 34 countries to date and has demonstrated a resiliency and demographic inclusiveness not commonly seen in complementary currencies. Moreover, timebanking values as core economic functions many activities, such as caregiving, civic engagement and creativity, that are undervalued when commodified in the market economy, including in market-based complementary currencies. By providing an appropriately abundant and fungible means of exchanging these core economic functions, timebanking increases the economy’s ability to appropriately allocate resources. Economic tools that fail to value these functions, or treat them as market-based commodities, will frequently replicate many of the social problems our current monetary system generates.
However, appropriately scaled and locally contextualized approaches for publishing and distributing information, training and supporting organizers and participants, and methods of assessing and evaluating effectiveness have not yet been developed, causing timebanks to experiment somewhat blindly.
Time For The World (TFTW), a new international timebanking dissemination project, aims to remedy this problem through analysis of current and past timebank and LETS programs. With comparative studies and a focus on types and degrees of variation we intend to construct a general timebank implementation model that can be localized for novel efforts.
These models will be constructed for a non-expert audience to ensure their functionality in local communities and will be tested by willing existing and new timebanks. Additionally, we will develop a set of metrics, indicators and protocols for the adaptation of ongoing programs to assist with their responsiveness to shifting local and global circumstances. This includes the ability to reformat local operations in light of success to ensure their latent viability while preventing them from becoming structurally burdensome.
After research and evaluation point toward maximally effective methods and modes we propose to make a virtual kit — a set of services, tools, and approaches for disseminating these tools cheap enough, accessible enough, and replicable enough to scale. Included in this effort is the creation of a training and support infrastructure that is decentralized, designed to grow virally, and can be applied flexibly to accommodate local conditions. Additionally, this involves exchanges between communities in a manner similar to, though distinct from, local and person to person exchanges. It describes in effect a fractal structure.
It is our thesis that timebanking unlocks the primary production capacities of social communities and will enhance the sustainability and ease with which other complementary currencies, particularly price-based mutual credit systems, can take hold. This allows local economies with a timebank-supported core to bootstrap internal markets that need, value, and can utilize local labor. TFTW intends to test and analyze the technique of using timebanks as experiential learning tools and resource bases to design and build additional local economic tools such as market-oriented mutual credit systems.
Here’s an interesting comment we got back from the reviewers:
The author describes a new initiative to share best practice among time
banking initiatives, and enable new communities to start up easily using
ready-made tools and techniques. This is a valuable service to the
practitioners, but more importantly, it is an indication of movement
maturity, in terms of the development of standards and support
organisations. I would accept this paper, but suggest to the author that
they do not concentrate too much on their own project’s plans, but rather,
reflect on their role within the movement, and in particular, report on
their evaluation of existing initiatives and lessons learned – it is this
consolidation of learning, and drawing out lessons, that may be the most
important thing that they do. And this learning from past experiences is the
most relevant part of their work, for the conference.