Dear Professor Wolff, I have been trying to submit a repeatedly revised letter about the time-as-currency movement to the New York Times Op-Ed section for consideration for publication for months. I need support getting them to consider it. Most people don't know a thing about Time-Banks, Time-Exchanges, Time-Networks, etc., even though they exist across the United States and elsewhere. I wanted to ask if you had heard about the movement when I heard your great presentation in Los Angeles a couple of years ago, but my question was the only one of its kind from the audience, and only the questions that were in the majority were considered. (I spoke about it afterward with Alan Minski.) At the very least, I hope you will please consider Dr. Edgar S. Cahn's contributions on the subject to learn more, or advocate to have him as a guest speaker on yours or a related radio show. We all need to know about this viable, economic, grassroots alternative. As I have suffered with a disability that has resulted in chronic homelessness, the local Time-Bank came through as a support system many times, while social services did not. I have my own personal experience to offer on the subject too. Yours in service, Alicia Sterling Beach
The way I get into the subject of time-based currencies (or exchange systems) is to see them as interesting attempts to move away from the capitalist system and the currency arrangements it has favored. In capitalism, money involves two basic sorts of transactions. The first is simple exchange where a certain value of one commodity is exchanged for an equivalent value of another commodity. The second is a very different sort of exchange, one in which a certain value is extended by person A to person B who then responds by extending to person A more value than person B received from A. By such an exchange A appropriates a surplus value. The profit drive in capitalism is this second sort of exchange that involves inequalities. Critics of capitalism, of its profit drive, and of their social effects have always sought some way to negate the second sort of exchange.....and time-based currencies have been one result of that search. What we can say is that a time-based exchange of equivalents - as the rule governing such an exchange system - would at least expose the inequality at the base of profit in a way that capitalism, in contrast, hides and disguises.