Collaboration, Reciprocity and TimeBanks

A few days ago I was enjoying some holiday season conversation and cheer, with colleagues, at The Office Lounge in downtown Victoria. Among other things, we shared ideas around working together, partnering with others, on projects of mutual benefit.  Collaboration, working together, towards a shared goal, involves reciprocity.

Being reciprocal is about mutual dependence and action.  We each need each other to realize our goal.  Reciprocation reminds me of TimeBanks, a concept of sharing community resources based on an alternative currency; a time-based currency where the unit of exchange is the person-hour.



In the simplest form of TimeBank; each hour of service I provide (e.g., dispute resolution) to someone else in the community is credited to my TimeBank account.  I am entitled to use another’s hour of service offered in the community (e.g., plumbing), and which is debited from my TimeBank account.

From a perspective of community abundance, TimeBanks:

  • encourage the giving of gifts, we each have them; e.g., bookkeeper, gardener, care-giver, landscaper, physician
  • encourage us to associate and collaborate with others in our community, in order to effectively know and exchange those services
  • offer us a way to make everyone feel part of the community; no small consideration in tough economic times!

TimeBanks are a new type of social enterprise system; a player in the new world order of sharing and doing business together.  They can be flexibly implemented; e.g., one person’s time may be valuated higher than others.

TimeBanks are a new type of operating system; the specs of which require us to redefine our community assets, go beyond traditional market valuation, and what it means to work.

Edgar Cahn is a pioneer in TimeBanking, and founder of TimeBanks USA.  If the TimeBanking concept is new to you, this presentation of his, for Ashoka will lay the groundwork.  (Can’t see it? Click here)

Local TimeBanks

As far as I know, my closest TimeBank is in the Vancouver area; the Lower Mainland TimeBank.

I’m not aware of any TimeBanks in Victoria.  Do you know of any?

And no matter where you live, what would you like to share about your experience and/or understanding of TimeBanks?

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