|Re: Time-Based Economics||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Allen Butcher (allenbutcherjuno.com)|
|Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 11:41:46 -0500|
Hi, I'm not sure that I am posting this the right way, riding the coattails of another transmission, but it might work. I have a new thread to start, dealing with the issue of labor organization in community. I'm not really ready for prime time with this, as I'm working on a monograph called:TIME-BASED ECONOMICS: A COMMUNITY-BUILDING DYNAMIC(Here is a small part. I can't get the whole concept into this short e-mail thing so you'll have to try to get from this what you can.)This last third of the 20th Century there has been quietly growing an economicsystem that does not rely upon a monetary system for the production and distribution of goods and services. Time-based economics is a viable alternative economic structure that respects natural law and transcendent ideals, by manifesting a culture of personal, social and environmental responsibility, in a stable, sustainably-paced economy.In the past, economic alterantives (such as local currencies and labor exchanges) were usually developed as a response to economic depressions, but time-based economies have been developing in this period of economic growth. The reason is that the monetary system tends to destroy community, while time-based economies build community.PLENTY PARADIGM - Time-based economic systems generate economic activity by the agreements individuals make to contribute their time to the system, which manages and records their hour contributions. This encourages cooperative values of caring, rational altruism, mutual advantage, sharing, and participatory or consensus-governed communitarianism.SCARCITY PARADIGM - The debt-based economic system generates economic activity through the process of creating money, which begins with bank credit, or loans made, and ends with the creation of debt. This encourages competitive values of artificial scarcity, rational self-interest, comparative advantage, greed, and monopoly capitalism.THE MONEY-FREE ZONE - Using a labor credit system to create a money-free zone involves starting a community-owned business (or members pooling income from jobs). Money comes into the community bank account, but is not used internally among members. LIKE FIGHTING FIRE with FIRE - Starting a community business, coordinated by a labor credit system, is like setting a backfire to stop a forest fire, since it serves to protect the community's money-free culture from the influence of the scarcity paradigm. In this way, income sharing serves to replace the monetary system on successively larger economic scales.The Plenty Paradigm - In time-based economies the world's natural resources are shared, and individual labor contributes to a common wealth (by maximizing public goods and services) which provides for individual happiness through a system of "rational altruism." With a sharing of wealth, fear of economic loss or exposure (fear of scarcity) is reduced and greed is not rewarded. Happiness, then, is found as much in working for the good of all, as in work for personal benefit. In the plenty paradigm, the service or labor credit is the root of public good, and rational altruism is the process by which individuals work for mutual advantage.There are two different types of time-based economies: those that are anciliary or complimentary to the monetary system, and those that are a complete alterantive to it, supplanting the monetary system. Both, however, value all work equally. One hour is worth one credit, regardless of who is working or what type of work is done.SERVICE CREDIT SYSTEMS (using "time-dollars") are supported by local governments, non-profit organizations and for-profit corporations as they help low-income and other people to work together. People earn hour time-credits for providing services to one-another, or for working in a community program, and bank those time credits for when they need a service. Since this relies upon moral obligation and a norm of reciprocity, they are not a "commercial exchange," and therefore have been ruled to be tax-exempt by the IRS. Service credit systems are rarely used to coordinate labor in businesses, and thus can not be said to create a mone-free zone in the same way that "labor credit" systems do. (See: The Time Dollar Institute, 5500 39th Street, N.W.Washington, DC 20015 202-686-5200 http://www.cfg.com/timedollar)LABOR CREDIT SYSTEMS have been created by intentional communities to coordinate both domestic work and income producing labor. Since such communities do not pay salaries or wages for labor, the IRS has created a section of the tax code [501 (d)] providing for them an exemption from corporate tax and from the Social Security tax. One requirement (among several) is that business income goes to a central treasury from which community expenses are paid. Thus, labor credit systems are designed solely as a means of coordinating each individual's contribution of time or labor to the community, and do not involve the exchange of property among people (as local currencies do), or involve the regulation of an individual's access to goods and services. Equal access is facilitated by any number of methods of equitable distribution, including budgeting or as-needed access. Typically, members agree to a weekly hour-quota of labor, with "over quota" work accumulating for vacations. This assures that everyone knows their fair-share labor contribution to the community. The labor supply is budgeted to managers of work areas the same way that money is budgeted, and sick time and pensions are reductions of personal labor quotas. Individuals then enjoy a "radical flex-time" labor system, changing jobs or their schedule as they like. (Federation fo Egailitarian Communties, Tecumseh, MO 65760)********I lived 12 years in rural labor credit societies (East Wind in Missouri 60 adults + children, Twin Oaks in Virginia 100 adults + children) and now I am trying to begin an urban community using some kind of combination of service credit/labor credit system. Need to finish this mongraph then get the community design proposal together. Let me know what you think. Allen Butcher
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