I often find myself talking to people about where to find good resources to inform the development of new TimeBanks, and in some cases I print, photocopy and hand out any resources that I think are particularly useful. In New Zealand we are currently seeing an explosion of new interest in Time Banking, with many new groups forming who are keen to set up TimeBanks in their area. The TBANZ site currently has the most up to date list of TimeBanks in New Zealand (20 at last count!). So the aim of this post is to compile and summarise the available resources created by Edgar Cahn, whose writing is the best place to start for people looking to find inspiration and guidance in setting up a TimeBank.
Cahn’s must-read book is No More Throw-Away People, the Co-Production Imperative, it is known as the “Time Banking Bible” here in New Zealand. It is definitely worth purchasing at least one copy to share amongst members of a group establishing a TimeBank. In Lyttelton, members of the TimeBank earned Time Credits for reading No More Throw Away People. They earned further credits for participating in discussion sessions where they shared what they had enjoyed and been inspired by in the book, and their ideas for how to apply Cahn’s theories and advice to their local TimeBank. I hear that these sessions were very successful. Juliet Adams, a member of the Lyttelton Timebank, has also earned Time Credits for writing a summary of No More Throw-Away People.
In 2001, three years before No More Throw Away People was published, Cahn wrote a clear explanation of the similarities and differences between LETS Systems and TimeBanks, and the desire in both to create more inclusive forms of community. This short and useful article (that I also referred to in an earlier post) was published in the International Journal of Community Currency Research.
In 2010 Edgar Cahn and Chris Gray, CEO of TimeBanks USA, were interviewed by Mark Herpel for Community Currency (CC) magazine. The theme of this issue of the magazine is ‘Time’, and the magazine as a whole is well worth a read, and free to download (see page 20 for the interview). This interview is a great follow-up to No More Throw Away People, and Mark Herpel has also published the text of the interview here. I printed and handed out copies of this interview at the Time Banking Hui in Lyttelton last year.
If you search through YouTube, you will find a wide range of interviews and presentations delivered by Edgar Cahn, but here are two of my favourites: Cahn speaking at a TEDx event, and at Occupy Wall St.
On the literature side of things, I’ve finished a review of around 70 articles and book chapters on Time Banking, LETS (Local Exchange and Trading Systems), and other Community Currencies such as Ithaca HOURS. Most of these are international studies, and there have also been some studies done in New Zealand including Lucie Ozanne’s research with the Lyttelton Timebank which I think you are all familiar with, Lisa Geary’s report for the University of Canterbury (contains a great FAQ for start-up TimeBanks, with answers written by Julie Lee, from page 18 onwards), and Peter North’s work on Green Dollars.
Here are a few brief highlights from my literature search:
– There was a comprehensive review, Community Currency Research: An analysis of the literature published this year in the IJCCR (International Journal of Community Currency Research). The authors of this review have also made an extensive online database available. Click on ‘databank’ to search the literature that they have compiled.
– I found a few good overviews of the similarities and differences between Time Banking and LETS, and although it is an older article (2001) I really enjoyed this short piece On LETS and Time Dollars by Edgar Cahn.
– A fascinating book that I came across in February this year was Clue to the Economic Labyrinth, written by Michael Flurscheim, discussing many of the same issues that we are concerned with now – and published in 1902! A long text but well worth the effort. I still haven’t finished reading it but I intend to, and would be very excited to have somebody to talk to about this book. Why not make a large cup of tea or coffee and download the pdf 🙂
– Another interesting piece of writing is Elizabeth Miller’s PhD thesis Both Borrowers and Lenders: Time Banks and the Aged in Japan. Go straight to chapter four to read about the life of Teruko Mizushima, who created Time Banking in Japan decades before Edgar Cahn independently designed the same system in the United States.
– In his chapter The Longevity of Alternative Economic Practices: Lessons from Alternative Currency Networks Peter North lists the following key factors that he has observed amongst long-lasting alternative currency networks: The existence of at least one key and committed activist; strong management systems – including the delegation of tasks to a team, and the utilisation of the collective resources of this team (time, money, bicycle-power, creativity, personal computers and printers etc.); a supportive local state or voluntary body providing funding, worker time, or in kind support on a long-term basis; commitment building mechanisms – e.g. buddy or mentor systems for new members, regular pot luck dinners, newsletters, clothes and goods ‘freecycle’ parties, members feeling part of a community of like-minded people, and/or part of a wider political project; finally, a large and dense enough network of like-minded people getting what they need and with skills to share (North, 2010:38-42).
Let me know if there’s anything else in particular that you’d like to know from the literature and I can add further links and comments. I looked at studies of Timebanks in New Zealand, USA, Japan, Taiwan, the UK (Wales, Scotland and England), and Sweden.