Co-production and timebanking
If co-production is a lens that helps us vale the abundant assets that exist in people, timebanks are a mechanism for utilising them and creating a multiplier effect. Timebanks elevate the status of people’s assets, whatever they wish to contribute, to a level of parity. Every hour is worth the same – the doctor’s and the patient’s. So for example,timebank provides a form of liquidity to activities such as doing the shopping or picking a neighbour’s child up from school, formally recognising that this is valuable economic activity that can be harnessed to build better outcomes.
We can make use of the assets we all have through timebanking, as it is a distributive system designed to deal with abundance rather than scarcity. In that sense, a successful timebank hard-wires co-production principles to provide value to that which might traditionally be overlooked. We are using timebanking to think beyond and in addition to money, about what else we could give and what else we could take.
Timebanking is defined by the core values of co-production, as outlined byEdgar Cahn
The real wealth of this society is its people. Every human being can be a builder and contributor. A timebank recognises this by allowing members to define for themselves what they consider to be a valuable asset, and enshrining its value through the hour for an hour principle
Work must be redefined to include whatever it takes to raise healthy children, preserve families, make neighbourhoods safe and vibrant, care for the frail and vulnerable, redress injustice and make democracy work. A timebank provides liquidity to activitythat informally contributes towards these things.
The impulse to give back is universal. Wherever possible, we must replace one-way acts of largess in whatever form with two-way transactions. “You need me” becomes “we need each other” in a timebank.
Humans require a social infrastructure as essential as roads, bridges and utility lines. Social networks require ongoing investments of social capital generated by trust, reciprocity, and civic engagement. A timebank creates a system that builds social capital – every action leaves a footprint.
By respecting and recognising value in the contribution we can all make, we hard-wire a critical feedback loop into the way we work.