(noun, etymology Dutch from ‘boedel’: estate, possession, inheritance, stock.). 1. Crowd, pack, lot, as in ‘the whole boodle.’ 2. a. Counterfeit money b. Money acquired or spent illegally or improperly, particularly when used in bribery for political purposes. 3. Slang for money in general.

Flash Cash

Posted on: Feb. 14, 2012  |  By: Ronnie Kahn  |  Category: General

Smart Currencies Revisited

On June 7, 2011, I posted a blog about alternative currency movements that are springing up.  The Boodleworld site also has a resources section that covers alternatives to money.  It seems that the financial meltdown has spurned a number of new innovative forms of money.  The problem with barter systems, which is why the fungible nature of money is so important, is that you must find someone who has two things that are mutually attractive to each barterer.   The wheat bread maker and the sandwich shop that caters to those with wheat allergies is a complete non-starter, pun intended.  The dairy farmer and the lactose-intolerant hay producer will not be entering into a serious negotiation if the method of trading is an exchange of products only.

Develop a local currency, however, and the hay producer can give his bucks to the seed producer who can then go back to the dairy farmer.  In order to support local institutions, local businesses may offer local bucks that support each other in the same fashion that a punch card works for the free cup of coffee or bagel on the last punch.  The drawback though is that these types of currencies require separate paper from the traditional greenback.  In each of these scenarios, the local community is given a shot in the arm.

With technology and the internet, however, comes new ways to keep tally.  Outside of San Francisco, in Bernal, California, a debit card was designed using a local credit union that tallies up usage at local establishments.  The credits earned for purchases can then be applied to future local member purchases or donated to local non-profits.

In a more mutual-credit system than barter-like system, Time Bank members use the exchange of services to tally up time given and received.  You may offer up gardening expertise in a swap with one Time Bank member and spend that banked money for website design or dog walking from another member.  One hour given will earn one time dollar which can be redeemed back for one hour.

This is from a news report back in 2009:  You Tube ABC Report on Time Banks.  These organizations again are local and each promotes the following Boodleworld-like values:

  • Each person is an asset that has something to contribute
  • Reciprocity greases the wheels
  • Social Networks provide the power
  • Everyone is to be offered Respect
  • Work is valued as much for its positive effects toward making a better world in similar ways as contributing to strong families and a healthy planet do as well.

Time Banks are not limited to the United States and have organizations in dozens of countries and continents.  This is a link for the U.S. non-profit Time Bank organization.  Here are some local Los Angeles Time Bank examples:  Echo Park, Arroyo (Pasadena/Altadena), and Our Time Bank (Culver/Palms).

Most expectations are that money, like politics, eventually descends into corruption.  Money, like most things though, is what you make of it.  Here is an example of the nourishing and vibrant side of money.  What ends up happening in most of these connections is the unexpected consequences that come from meetings awash in mutuality.  We are not just paying something forward but earning it that way as well.

If you want to find out more about sharing in our lives, check out Shareable.net.  If you are interested in starting a Time Bank in your area where there is none currently, go the the California Federation of Time Banks Website and learn how to set one up yourself.  In fact, since there is nothing of the sorts in my immediate area, I will try and set one up and see what happens.  Look for future blogs about my experience around this.  If you read this complete blog, you have one hours credit in my book.

Note:  A special thank you to Janine Christiano, the founder of the Arroyo Time Bank, for some of the links suggested here and to Alyssa Kahn for the suggestion on doing a blog on Time Banks.





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