A new financial institution called TimeBank has created a social-business model in which hours are exchanged for hours instead of financial compensation exchanged for a product or service. For example, an hour of cooking is worth an hour of carpentry is worth an hour of tutoring. A physical therapist works for an hour on an auto mechanic, who then does an hour of work for a farmer, who then does an hour of work for a lawyer, who then does an hour of work for the physical therapist. You earn hours and spend hours.
As a catalyst for social change – people truly being free to do what they want to do, and to live decently – it’s an intriguing notion.
How can this concept become a way for poets, artists, novelists to be ‘successful’ (as long as their success is defined as being able to pursue their passion and live healthy, happy, socially conscientious lives)? Any ideas? For instance, if someone spent an hour cleaning my house, could I pay them with a copy of my novel? And is a novel really only worth its cover price – given the years that went into its creation?
Fun Writing Practice
Write a short story that is set in a TimeBanks world. Choose your service or product and explore the relationships between professions. For example, I knew someone several years ago who wanted to barter a massage for one lawyer consultation, but the lawyer insisted on being given several massages in return for her single consultation. The lawyer was hung up on the idea of the ‘value’ of her service versus the ‘value’ of a massage instead of the value of the time involved. Try to imagine that all our skills are equally valuable – but different. A plumber is as important as a lawyer or an artist. How can you put a price on each person’s contribution to society? Imagine a cook being paid with a poem!
I’d love to read your stories – let me know if you post or publish. Or let’s send them to TimeBanks and see if the folks there come up with ideas on how to interweave creative endeavors into their business model.
- Dreaming about someone who has died
- The tingly thrill when you see the car of someone you really like parked where you’re going.
- The noon prayer
- Being alone in an empty house
- Turning over a mossy rock and seeing lots of bugs and ants and insects
- Walking through the rain at dusk