Aikapankki, tovi tax and local economy building

Helsinki Timebank was established in October 2009. Some 1300 people in Helsinki have joined this Timebank, and 26 timebanks have been established in other localities, in which services are exchanged among members on the basis of Time credits. One hour of whichever service performed is renumerated with the currency of the Timebank, in the case of Stadin Aikapankki one tovi. In 2011, some 2200 tovi’s were exchanged in Stadin Aikapankki. These new Timebanks in Finland operate on a fully online system, as part of an international network called Community Exchange systems (CES). Examples of services traded are childcare, garden work assistance, bakings, language lessons, bookkeeping, computer program skills, handicraft lessons and assistance in the solving of problems.

Stadin aikapankki members have drawn up a concept/value map, which activity done in Stadin aikapankki must be in respect of. The map points to activity done in aikapankki to be developing relations which are promoting values of equality, social justice, and ecological sustainability. See the full map here: https://stadinaikapankki.wordpress.com/stadin-aikapankin-toiminnasta/stadin-aikapankin-arvokasitekartta/

Individuals as well as different organizations (organisations, cooperatives, assocíations etc.) can be joining in Stadin Aikapankki, see which organizations have joined up to Stadin Aikapankki: https://stadinaikapankki.wordpress.com/yhteisot-aikapankissa/

Aikapankki as such can be seen as a post modern version of neighbourly help, but also a tool for local economy builder, according to principles and values established by Stadin aikapankki members, and connecting to ideas of Solidarity economy and Commons building. Aikapankki can be strengthening local economy actors, vs large corporate intrest.

Normally one does not speak about professonal work done through aikapankki. If connected to a vision of local economy building based on values of equality, social justice and economic sustainability, the possibility of conducting professional activity through timebanking could clearly have wider implications for cultural, structural change. How could this be envisioned?

One possibility could be a ‘Tovi tax’. In the same manner as Stadin aikapankki currently collects a levy on all exchanges, which is put to renumerate any members work done for the Timebank, one could think of an additional levy, which would be going to community projects. These would be local community projects Stadin aikapankki members want to see done through Stadin aikapankki. As Stadin aikapankki has already defined what the values are any activity in our Timebank should be respecting, the community projects and their execution would be in respect of the same values.

Different types of cooperation could take place with a Municipality. A municipality could be using Timebanking to allow for the Co-production of (a part of) certain services, as has been done elsewhere. The position of municipality workers could be strengthened by cooperation with a timebank. Important in these discussions would be that aikapankki is not seen and developed as a tool for public expenditure savings, but a tool which work to empowerment, and supporting the appropriation of the public space according to peoples values, enabling peoples autonomy, and supporting free and open activity in communities.

Why not could a Municipality bank time?

Ruby van der Wekken

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