By Grace Maselli
Earlier this month Salon.com peeled back the layers on “increasingly popular cooperative time banks.” For readers who may not know, Salon.com—an online newspaper—started nearly a quarter century ago and self describes as an, “American news and opinion website…publish[ing] articles on U.S. politics, culture, and current events [with] a politically progressive, liberal editorial stance.” The April 6 piece zeros-in on a timebank in Detroit and references beaucoup exchanges including housing sitting, window washing, transportation, and multicultural cooking classes. The writer also delves into the flex that characterizes the timebanking model. In particular, “time is traded throughout a local time banking community, or even throughout the country: For example, you find yourself in another city and need a ride to the airport. You could spend your time banked in your hometown on a ride in the city you’re visiting.” Voila.
The piece likewise references digital time collection through hOurworld and other U.S. timebanks, referencing the variety of top exchanges shared depending on the community and who enjoys doing what. New York City and Baltimore top the hOurworld charts in terms of size; and in Baltimore in particular, emphasis is placed on the system’s ability to enable older adults to continue to live independently in their homes. The article links to Baltimore’s “Partners in Care” that gets to the core of timebank founder Edgar S. Cahn’s aim: “Volunteering is a one-way relationship that is charitable, but not necessarily reciprocal. An economist might say that a time bank creates liquidity in a market for day-to-day tasks that might not be commercially available or affordable to [timebank] members.” Let’s hear it for the flow of daily tasks along with the beauty of two-way relationships.