Increasing long-term unemployment may be responsible for the booming gray economy. With the job participation rate in America at all-time lows, nearly 92 million able-aged adults are not working but are still able to contribute a service, even if that’s merely baking a pie. After all, people still have to eat and get services. Timebanking networks are evolving to support those needs.
Think of Timebanking as incentivized voluntary community service. TimeBanks.org describes timebanking as follows:
TimeBanking is a way of giving and receiving to build supportive networks and strong communities. One hour helping another earns one TimeBank Hour (also called time credits, service credits or time dollars.) TimeBanking builds on the magic of “pay it forward,” one good turn leading to another and another.
In other words, it’s like a labor barter network which results in stronger communities. Watch this video to see how Timebanking works:
They operate in the gray economy because it is economic activity which happens outside traditional corporate legacy systems or government regulation and taxing schemes. It’s a social peer-to-peer economy based on user reputation instead of regulation.
Notable examples of this new economy besides Timebanks include services like eBay, Craigslist, Uber, AirBnB, alternative currencies like Bitcoin, or community supported agriculture (CSAs) schemes. All of these platforms are voluntary networks enabling people to trade goods and services directly with each other. In most cases they’re cheaper, safer and more efficient without legacy middlemen.
Powered by the Internet, these services can reach a huge network effect quickly to offer efficient services in any community. This technology is being used to organize Timebanks like the Onion River Exchange in Vermont:
If you’re unemployed and looking to survive, or just someone who wants to build strong community networks, Timebanks are an avenue worth pursuing. It’s never been easier, as TimeBanks.org enables you to search for one in your area and anyone to set up a community TimeBank powered by their platform.
Recently from Jeffrey Green: