Re: paying ourselves for work
From: Nan Tiernan (
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 94 22:56 CST
Regarding the question of pay and money, I copied this off of usenet news 
several months ago because it seemed intriguing.  And I am forwarding it 
to y'all thinking somebody might use it:

Note 1708 in newsgroup alt.planning.urban
From: trowland [at] (Tom Rowland)
Subject: Community
This is a repost.
>From EDITOR [at] Thu Sep  1 15:58:25 1994
Date: Thu, 01 Sep 94 14:23:36 EDT
From: EDITOR [at]
Reply to: sustainable-development [at]
To: sustainable-development [at]
Subject: local currency
We're printing our own money in Ithaca, NY.  $47,000 of Ithaca HOURS (at
$10/HOUR) has been issued since 1991.  Over 1,000 people have used it to make
thousands of trades.  Thousands of goods and over 300 services are available:
Creating Economic Democracy
with Local Currency
by Paul Glover
 Here in Ithaca, New York we're printing our own money.  A bunch of us
realized that there weren't enough dollars circulating here to let us trade
our goods and services as much as we wanted.  And we saw that we weren't
getting paid enough to keep up with prices.  So we invented the Ithaca Time
Zone, where you can earn Ithaca HOURS, worth $10.00, for your time.
 Since 1991 we've issued over $47,000 of local currency, to over 900
participants.  Thousands of purchases and many new friendships have been made
with our money, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of local trading has
been added to the Grassroots National Product.
 We also printed our own money because we watched Federal dollars come to
town, shake a few hands, then leave to buy rainforest lumber and fight wars.
 Ithaca's HOURS, by contrast, stay in our region to help us hire each other.
 While dollars make us increasingly dependent on multinational corporations
and bankers, HOURS reinforce community trading and expand commerce which is
more accountable to our concem for ecology and social justice.  We've begun
to gain control of the social and environmental effects of commerce.
 Here's how it works: the Ithaca HOUR is Ithaca's $10.00 bill, because ten
dollars per hour is the average of wages/salaries in Tompkins County.  These
HOUR notes, in four denominations, buy plumbing, carpentry, electrical work,
roofing, nursing, chiropractic, child care, car  and bike repair, food,
eyeglasses, firewood, gifts, and thousands  of other goods and services. Our
credit union accepts them for mortgage and loan fees.  People pay rent with
HOURS.  Many of the best restaurants in town take them, as do movie theaters,
bowling alleys, two large locally-owned grocery stores, and thirty farmer's
market vendors.
 Ithaca's new HOURly minimum wage lifts the lowest paid up without knocking
down higher wages.  For  example, several of Ithaca's organic farmers are
paying the highest farm labor wages in the world: $10.00 of spending power
per HOUR.  These farmers benefit by the HOUR's loyalty to local agriculture.
 On the other hand, dentists, massage therapists and lawyers charging more
than the $10.00 average per hour are permitted to collect several HOURS
hourly. But we hear increasingly of professional services provided for our
equitable wage.
 Everyone who agrees to accept HOURS is paid two HOURS ($20.00) for being
listed in our newsletter Ithaca Money.  Every eight months they may apply to
be paid an additional two HOURS, as reward for continuing participation.  
 is how we gradually and carefully increase the per capita supply of our
 Ithaca Money's 1,200 listings, rivalling the Yellow Pages, are  a portrait
of our community's capability, bringing into the marketplace time and skills
not employed by the conventional market.  Residents are proud of income
gained by doing work they enjoy.  We encounter each other as fellow Ithacans,
rather than as winners and losers scrambling for dollars.
 The Success Stories of 200 participants published so far testify to the acts
of generosity and community that our system prompts.  We're making a
community while making a living.  As we do so, we relieve the social
desperation which has led to compulsive shopping and wasted resources.
 At the same time Ithaca's locally-owned stores, which keep more wealth
local, make sales and get spending power they otherwise would not have.  And
over $4,000 of local currency has been donated to 20 community organizations
so far, by the Barter Potluck, our wide-open governing body.
 As we discover new ways to provide for each other, we replace dependence on
imports.  Yet our greater self-reliance, rather than isolating Ithaca, gives
us more potential to reach outward with ecological export industry.  We can
capitalize new businesses with loans of our own cash.
 We regard Ithaca's HOURS as real money, backed by real people, real time,
real skills and tools.  Dollars, by contrast, are funny money, backed no
longer by gold or silver but by less than nothing- $43 trillion of national
 Ithaca's money honors local features we respect, like native flowers,
powerful waterfalls, crafts, farms and our children.  Dollars honor slave
holders (Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Jackson) and the monuments of
corporate goverrunent.
 Multi-colored HOURS, some printed on locally-made watermarked cattail (marsh
reed) paper, all with serial numbers, are harder to counterfeit than dollars.
 Local currency is a lot of fun, and it's !egal- HOURS must be used within
state lines (they may not compete with dollars as interstate currency), they
must look different than dollars, they must have a dollar exchange rate, and
denominations must be at least $1.00 (no "fractional currency").  HOURS are
taxable income when traded for professional goods or services.
 Local currency is one of many things that people can do to make their
community friendlier, wealthier and safer.
 Local currency is also lots of work and responsibility.  To give  other
communities a boost, we've been providing a Hometown Money Starter Kit.
 The Kit explains step-by-step start-up. and maintenance of an HOURS system,
and includes forms, laws, articles, procedures, insights, samples of Ithaca's
HOURS, and issues of Ithaca Money.
5 To get one, send $25.00 (2.5 HOURS option in NY) to Ithaca Money, Box 6578,
Ithaca, NY.  14851.
Paul Glover, who created the HOUR system, is a community economist and
ecological urban designer (author of  Los Angeles: A History of the Future),
with a degree in City Management.  He has worked in advertising, journalism
and barnyards, and rides his bicycle everywhere.
\|/ ____ \|/  you can't confuse him, he's not paying attention.          
 @~/ ,. \~@   =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
/_( \_ / )_\  Official spokesman for the known universe
   \__U_/     trowland [at]  Tommy the Tourist

Hope you all enjoy this post.  Sincerely,  Nan Tiernan (studying for the 
bar and taking care of my two and a half year old grandchild...and 
dreaming of getting into cohousing someday)......

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