What can’t money do? Can’t it do everything that a medium of exchange can possibly do? NO.
Let’s look at why.
Money has price built-in. The more valuable something is, the higher the price.
Price goes up – as demand exceeds supply.
Scarcity defines value – if there is demand.
If something is more plentiful, it will cost less. In the market economy, price defines value so if something is not scarce, it is less valuable. If there is lots of it, then it is dirt cheap – or worthless in terms of monetary value.
Now think of what that means.
Everything that makes us human is abundant. In a world where price defines value, what all of us can do is therefore either dirt cheap or worthless.
That means that everything we were born with, everything that enabled our species to survive and evolve is worthless:
our ability to care for each other,
to help each other,
to come to each other’s rescue,
to learn from one another,
to comfort each other,
to come together to make decisions,
to stand up for what’s right,
to oppose what’s wrong.
If we let monetary price define value, then we devalue our basic, universal strengths. Ordinary money can’t adequately value what it means to be human. No wonder our species is in trouble.
Yet, we all know better than to let price define value. We all know that there are parts of our life that are beyond price: family and those we love, democracy, social justice, the environment, and whatever we say has a “higher value.” Some things are priceless. They take work to build and to nurture. They take work to preserve and protect.
That’s why we need another means of exchange that is beyond price that does not allow market price to define value. We need to honor and value that work – the work that our species needs to survive. That’s why we need Time Dollars and Time Banking. Not to replace money but to do what money can do only poorly, or cannot do at all.
In Time Banking, we are not selling our time. We are giving an hour to someone else in a way that can create a relationship. Genuine relationships are priceless. When we give an hour to rebuild community, we are building something we cannot buy. Time Banking enables us to value that and in doing so, we value ourselves, our time, our being. Each hour of our life on this planet is irreplaceable. It is ours – by virtue of being born and being alive. Valuing Time in that way enables each of us to know that we matter. That is what Time Banking is about: honoring the essence of each and every one of us during our brief existence here on earth.