Time Banking Literature – a few interesting bits and pieces

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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.

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5 thoughts on “Time Banking Literature – a few interesting bits and pieces

  1. Thank you so much for creating this site! I volunteered for two weeks in Lyttelton in Feb/March with Jules Lee, and saw how effective the time bank was to quickly bring needed resources to bear for the community to pull together after the quake. Now I am in the US, sharing the delights of Time Banking with various towns and cities here which don’t yet have a time bank. I am giving an introduction on Tuesday this week at a public meeting here in Duluth, Minnesota and I hope there will be enough folks keen on the idea to keep it going after I leave next week. We will see. It is of great value to me to have your research to turn to as I work to interest people in the concept. Thank you so much. Diane

    • Hello Diane,
      Thank-you for your lovely comment! I really appreciated hearing from you. Unfortunately I set this blog up in a burst of enthusiasm when I was busy with quite a few other projects and I haven’t given it the regular attention that it deserves. I’m sorry that I missed replying to you at the time that you wrote to me. How did your presentation go in Duluth? I hope that things are moving in the direction that you wanted them to. Here in Dunedin we have found it slow going setting up a Timebank of our own, but we have learnt so much along the way and I am happy and impressed to see things progressing slowly in their own time, in a steady manner that feels manageable over the long term – considering that we are all unpaid volunteers. I wish you the very best in your work to promote Time Banking, may the inspiration you felt after visiting Jules and the Lyttelton Timebank stay fresh in your mind and heart. I’ve been to Lyttelton twice since the earthquakes, it’s a wonderful place and community to visit I agree. Have you seen the recent video about Lyttelton that is featured on the TimeBanks USA website? It’s called ‘Love in a Little Town’.

  2. I am glad to read that the “database” has been useful for you. If you have specific questions about literature in this field, please get in touch. Good luck for your project.

    • Hello Herr Schröder,
      Thank-you so much for your comment here on my blog. I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to reply! I fear that I have greatly neglected this blog over the past couple of months. I must update it again. The bibliography that you have compiled is a wonderful resource for researchers in this area, and I continue to refer to it.

      I’ve just completed a quick search for “zealand” in your databank and listed below are a few extra references that I wasn’t able to find, you might like to add them to your bibliography if you have the chance:
      Geary, Lisa (2010) ‘Investigating the Feasibility of a University of Canterbury Time Bank’
      Ozanne, Lucie and Julie Ozanne (2009) Relational Exchange Within a Timebank (ANZMAC, Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy, Conference Proceedings 2009)
      Jackson, Mark (1993) ‘Helping ourselves: New Zealand’s Green Dollar Exchanges

      Thank-you for your kind good wishes,
      Warm regards and good luck for your projects also,
      Vielen dank,
      Emma McGuirk

      • Danke Emma McGuirk,
        I inserted this.
        Herzliche Grüße from the other side of our planet.
        Rolf Schröder

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