Edgar Cahn Resources – online and in print

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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.


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2 thoughts on “Edgar Cahn Resources – online and in print

  1. I have some fundamental questions/observations about timebanking, two of which are:

    1) Are timebanks generally open or closed communities, ie., are many “gated” (or secret societies as someone put it?) Do many use their membership policies to target a particular demographic, like a private club? If so, what are the demographics, why and how?

    2) It appears that virtually all timebanks have paid employees or contractors working for them. They fund raise, become business entities, seek tax evasion, etc., in order to “push” timebanking. The “pushers’ don’t actually trade in time themselves (or only as a token gesture). Isn’t that seen as being hypocritical? Do any timebanks ever reach critical mass (the tipping point) and become self-sustaining? Or isn’t it just a way to attract funding and create jobs for a few, just another funding wave to ride?

    Are there any (anywhere in the world even) grass roots timebanks which are open to all and self-sustaining from the outset, where the administrators are not actually employed by a business/council/trust of some kind?

    Is there a two-layer strata thing going on? The people “pushing” timebanking (and usually funded to do so with some agenda), and the supposedly real altruistic community members who just want the opportunity to network and cooperate, escape a bit from the ratwheel?

    Would appreciate your thoughts and observations.

    • Looking back at your comment here from several years ago, Richard, has reminded me of our enjoyable Skype conversation in 2012, and your thought-provoking perspective. Thank you for raising such challenging questions!

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