What’s Real Wealth Anyway? Philosophy Plus Edgar Cahn in a 2018 Forbes’ Podcast Lend Insight
November 26, 2018 — 11:58

By Grace Maselli

 

In the words of British-American philosopher Alan Watts, “Thoughts and words are conventions…and it is fatal to take conventions too seriously.” He used money as a case in point in his 1951 book, The Wisdom of Insecurity, A Message for an Age of Anxiety. “Money gets rid of the inconveniences of barter,” Watts offers. “But it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth, because it will do you no good to eat it or wear it for clothing. Money is more or less static, for gold, silver, strong paper, or a bank balance can ‘stay put’ for a long time. But real wealth, such as food, is perishable. Thus a community may possess all the gold in the world, but if it does not farm its crops it will starve.” A relatable point. And the last time I tried to make stew out of $5 bills, it was lousy.

Watts’ caveats beg additional questions:

• Have you ever known anyone who takes money too seriously?
• Have you yourself been anxious about money?
• Have you thought about this recently, as we immerse ourselves in the holiday season and dreams of a magnetic floating bed for $1.6 million? (Yes, it’s true. Such a thing exists.)
• What is real wealth anyway?
• Is it more than moolah?
• Has your view of it changed over the past 10 years?
• The past 20?
• How do you think about children, teenagers, mothers, and seniors in the context of money-making and “wealth?”
• Do you have wealth in health? In a support system? As a way in which you express and exchange usefulness in society, and in your local community?

A Baby Gets Birthed at the London School of Economics

Edgar Cahn, Timebank founder who is now 82 years old, was interviewed earlier this year by Forbes magazine and has long thought outside the polyhedron when it comes to the issue of money and its power, if left unchecked, to define worth. “All sorts of things don’t get valued in our current economic system, despite having tremendous value. Notably, the unpaid work of mothers to care for, educate, and otherwise support their children.” A podcast with Edgar and Forbes’ Devin Thorpe explores timebanking, an economic model that Edgar initially took to the London School of Economics for feedback and legitimacy (read: a reality check) when he was first birthing his brainchild.

These days the baby is all grown up. “There are over 500 timebanks in the U.S. and at least an equal number spread out over 38 countries,” Edgar says in the podcast. “In Wales, [timebanking] is recognized formally by the national government. Scotland just had a two-week celebration of timebanking and ‘co-production’,” he adds.

Three things undergird timebanking, Edgar says:

  1. Core Economy: There’s an economy we undervalue and take for granted known as “unpaid labor”: This economy raises children, makes strong families, makes neighborhoods safe, makes Democracy work, and keeps the planet sustainable. It’s the ecosystem that’s as basic as the ozone layer we took for granted,” he adds. “We need this ecosystem as human beings,” and, There is a larger economic system than that which is driven and counted by money.”
  2. Currency: “Money does some good things and some strange things,” Edgar says. “Money defines value by price. So if it’s scarce, it’s valuable [think a magnetic floating bed]. If it’s more abundant…it’s dirt cheap or worthless. [This translates to mean] that being a human being is worthless,” given the abundance of humans on the planet, he says. When we “listen to each other, care for each other, come to each other’s rescue, stand up for what is right, oppose what is wrong,” we are coming together as the social animals we are, and timebanking is a system that honors and valuesassigns worth to all this. And therefore assigns worth to all people by designing a different type of currency where one skill hour is worth exactly the same as another skill hour and gets exchanged equally within the timebank system. In other words, an hour of childcare is worth the same as an hour of work on an architectural plan.
  3. Co-Production: “We must enlist the persons whom we’re trying to help as our partners or we can’t succeed,” says Edgar about a core timebanking principle. Timebanking is based on this give-and-take, a partnership of skills exchanges to benefit everyone who’s bought into (no pun intended) the model. People in timebanks have partnered with others to help them in their life “processes.” This can extend to health recovery, lowered rates of recidivism in drug addiction and mental illness relapse, creation of civic patrols in neighborhoods to help make them safer, among countless other examples. Timebanks can be used to “build and meld” community, Edgar says, “and as a stream to generate specific programs.”

Listen to the podcast and keep an ear open for “homecomers.” Consider what it might mean in the context of real wealth, and if you believe there are some things that exist beyond quantification in dollars and cents. The takeaway from Edgar: “We have what we need if we use what we have.”

 

Calendar of Events with Visiting Time Bank Activists
February 20, 2014 — 16:53

Ever wonder how time banks strengthen families, revitalize neighborhoods, support local economies, make democracy work, advance social justice, nurture the spirit and make the planet sustainable? Ask Dr. Edgar Cahn, Dr. Christine Gray, and Debra Frazier. They’ll be speaking on both sides of the bay.

Founder of the Time Banking movement now in over 33 countries, Edgar will share 30 years of experience helping organizations fulfill their missions by connecting untapped resources with unmet needs. Chris, of TimeBanks USA, and Debra of Bread for the City Time Bank in Washington, DC, will share on-the-ground experience with this international movement at a number of events.

While in Tampa Bay, Drs. Cahn and Gray will keynote the 2014 Beyond Sustainability Conference at Hillsborough Community College, speak at the Pinellas Urban League and at the Stetson University College of Law, and participate in the following Tampa Bay Time Bank events:

• Friday 2/28-Saturday 3/1, 2014 –2014 Beyond Sustainability Conference
Hillsborough Community College, Ybor City, Performing Arts Building, 1304 E. 11th Avenue,
TBT members: $35.00 ($175 for others); $45.00 special includes TBT Membership

• Friday, 2/28, 2014 – 7 pm: Edgar Cahn’s Public Address on Time Banking
HCC Campus, Ybor Building, Ybor Room, 2001 N. 14th Street; TBT members – $5.00

• Friday, 2/28 (Tampa) and Monday 3/2 (St. Petersburg)
A limited number of appointments are available for leaders of organizations to explore the potential of partnering with Tampa Bay Time. Contact Marie Nelson, mnelson@nl.edu.

• Saturday, 3/1, 2014 – 3-5 pm, Florida Regional Time Bank Coordinator Gathering, followed by dinner. Contact Marie Wilson Nelson at mnelson@nl.edu

• Sunday, 3/2, 2014 – 1-5 pm: Tampa Bay Time Potluck & Visioning Workshop
Sacred Grounds Coffee House, 4819 East Busch Boulevard, Tampa
Bring a dish. Potluck at 1:00 pm; organizational visioning 2-5 pm.

• Monday, 3/3 – 7 pm: Time Bank Youth Courts: Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline
A talk by Edgar S. Cahn, JD, PhD, founder of the Time Bank Youth Courts of Washington, DC
Carter G. Woodson African American Museum of St. Petersburg, 2240 9th Avenue S., St. Pete
Co-Sponsored with St. Pete Together & The Connection Partners

By diverting teens to peer juries, time bank youth courts in Washington, DC, keep kids’ records clean, reduce reoffending, and dramatically reduce costs. Run by teens, in 16 years they handled 1/3 of non-violent offenses, diverted 6,595 youth away from the criminal system, and cost only $540 per youth, far lower than the cost of the jail/court/prison system. 70% of participants finish high school or go to some type of higher education, and 92% of funds have gone to direct use. More information at Youth Court of the District of Columbia.

• Tuesday, 3/4 – 6-9 pm: Tampa Bay Time Bank: Co-creating a More Resilient Tampa Bay
Reception and interactive discussion with TimeBanks USA guests, TBT members and invited guests. Limited space, by reservation only. Contact Peggie Marks for details at 727-320-4181.

Watch for Tampa Bay Time Bank newsletters or view the Tampa Bay Time Bank’s Events Calendar for more information. If you have any questions contact us: coordinator@tampabaytime.org.

Edgar Cahn in Tampa Bay February 28-March 4, 2014
February 18, 2014 — 10:26

Dr. Edgar S. Cahn, JD, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of the  District of  Columbia and Founder of the international Time Banking movement, now spreading rapidly in 36 countries, will be in the Tampa Bay area to consult with local organizations about the proposed application of time banking as a means of driving job creation, increased resource flows, stronger community connections, and key life outcomes for groups such as elders, youth, vets, and people living with disabilities.

While in the Tampa Bay area, Dr. Cahn will be speaking at Hillsborough Community College’s 2014 Beyond Sustainability Conference, visiting Stetson University College of Law in Tampa to meet with administrators, staff and students and will be attending several Tampa Bay Time Bank events.

Attend the following events to learn how our new local currency—the Tampa Bay Time “Hour”—creates abundance from scarcity, making resources go further for public and private organizations by connecting untapped resources with unmet needs.

More about Edgar Cahn, the time banking movement and TimeBanks USA here.

Dr. Edgar Cahn will be participating in the following events:

Friday 2/28-Saturday 3/1, 2014 – All day conference
2014 Beyond Sustainability Conference
Emerging Models of Financing, Investing and Savings: Moving Sustainable Ideas into Action
Hillsborough Community College, Ybor City Campus,
Performing Arts Building, 1304 E. 11th Avenue, Tampa 33605.

The conference includes six panels, three keynotes, evening networking and dinner reception. Keynote speakers include Edgar Cahn, father of the national time banking movement and Distinguished Emeritus Professor, University of the District of Columbia Law School; and Dr. Christine Gray, former CEO of TimeBanks USA. Special reduced fees for time bank members: $35.00 TBT, $175 others. Special one-time offer: $45.00 for Conference + TBT Membership. TBT registration at door.
2014 Beyond Sustainability Conference details and registration information here.

2014 Beyond Sustainability complete conference schedule here.
_______
Friday, 2/28, 2014 – afternoon
Meet one-on-one with Dr. Cahn – Individual appointments for organizations
Local organizations can meet one-on-one with Edgar Cahn to discuss their specific ideas and needs.
For more information or to schedule a meeting with Dr. Cahn contact Marie Wilson Nelson at mnelson@nl.edu

Friday, 2/28, 2014 – 5:00-6:30 pm
Networking and Dinner Reception
2014 Beyond Sustainability Conference
Hillsborough Community College, Ybor City Campus
Ybor Building, Ybor Room, 2001 N. 14th Street, Tampa, FL 33604
Separate registration required. $30
Registration and details here.

Friday, 2/28, 2014 – 7 pm
Edgar Cahn’s Keynote Community Address on Time Banking
2014 Beyond Sustainability Conference
Hillsborough Community College, Ybor City Campus
Ybor Building, Ybor Room, 2001 N. 14th Street, Tampa, FL 33604
Conference Participants – Free. Tampa Bay Time Bank members – $5.00, General public – $10.00.

Saturday, 3/1, 2014 – 3-5 pm
Florida Regional Time Bank Gathering, followed by dinner with TimeBanks USA guests.
For more information contact Marie Wilson Nelson at mnelson@nl.edu

Sunday, 3/2, 2014 – 1-5 pm
Tampa Bay Time Bank Potluck/Open Meeting with TimeBanks USA Guests
Sacred Grounds Coffee House, 4819 East Busch Boulevard, Tampa 33617.
Come out and meet Edgar Cahn, Christine Gray and Debra Frazier and Tampa Bay Time Bank members.
Interested friends and organizations invited.
Bring a dish. Potluck at 1:00 pm, Organizational Visioning 2-5 pm.

Monday, 3/2 – afternoon
Edgar Cahn and TimeBanks USA consultants will be in St. Petersburg and available to meet with interested area organizations.
For more information or to schedule a meeting with Dr. Cahn contact Marie Wilson Nelson at mnelson@nl.edu

Monday, 3/3 – 7 pm
Open Meeting with St Pete Together: How Time Bank Youth Courts Keep Juveniles Out of the Criminal System.
All invited. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, 2240 9th Ave S, St Petersburg, FL 33712. woodsonmuseum.org

Tuesday, 3/4 – 6-9 pm
The Future of Time Banking in Tampa Bay
Reception and interactive discussion with TimeBanks USA guests and consultants, Tampa Bay Time Bank members and invited guests from area organizations. Limited space, by reservation only. Contact Peggie Marks for details at 727-320-4181.

Watch for Tampa Bay Time Bank newsletters or view the Tampa Bay Time Bank’s Events Calendar for more information. If you have any questions contact us: coordinator@tampabaytime.org.