Time banks – a fascinating idea related to karma yoga – yoga of action

TimebankThe Bank of Time (engl. Time Banking) known as Service Exchange or Time Exchange is an alternative economic system that uses Time as a currency.

The Banks of Time honor the unique gifts, talents and resources that each person has to offer, without discrimination regarding age, religion, professional specialization. It is work done with love and joy.

In general, each Time Bank has a website where general information of the community is published, search engine for services: requests and offers, discussion forum for members.

Today, 26 countries have Banks for Time assets. There are 108 Active Time Banks in the UK and 53 officially recognized in the United States.

Essentially the Time Bank, it means the exchange of paid services with Time. Give Time one hour to help someone in your community and earn one hour credit (Time) that is registered in the Time Database set up by your community. That time earned you use to pay someone from whom you need certain services. A time bank can theoretically be a sheet of paper on which the time loans of the inhabitants of the community are kept, but taking advantage of the current evolution, the system is managed through computer databases. It is a simple idea for an alternative economic system that facilitates the construction of stable, united communities based on reciprocity, qualities/talents, appreciation of work, social networks, equality, respect. The exchange of services fosters the connection of people, communities, the fulfillment of needs and accelerates development; all at the same time. For example, A mother has a sick child, the doctor visits him and instead of being paid in cash he receives a check sheet worth 1 hour. With this tab, the doctor will pay a teacher the tutoring, who in turn will pay the housewife who helps him with the housekeeping in the house, or the pensioner who makes his purchases, or takes his child to school. The pensioner will hand over the received CEC tab to the doctor who consults him. This way the circle closes and everyone solves their problems without the need for money.

The fundamental values of the communities that use the time banking system are: qualities, respect, redefinition of work and social networks.

Everyone has qualities, talents, value to offer. Everyone can contribute.

Redefining work

Some services are beyond a price. Work must be redefined as a value whether you are raising healthy children, building united, strong families, revitalizing neighbors, making democracy work, making the planet cleaner that work needs to be honored, recorded and rewarded.


Aid works much more efficiently when it goes both ways. The question “How can I help you?” we need to change it to ” How can we help each other to build the world we both live in?”

Social networks

Social networks are necessary.
We need each other. Networks are stronger than separate individuals. People who help each other weave self-sustaining communities with a solid, stable foundation based on trust, mutually beneficial relationships.


Respect for all human beings.
Respect presupposes freedom of speech, religious freedom, and any value of ours. Respect is the heart of democracy. When respect is denied to someone, everyone is hurt. We need to respect the state that people are in at the moment, and not the one we hope they will have in the future.

Origins and philosophy
According to its author, Edgar Cahn, Time Banks took root at a time when “money for social programs has dried up” and no approach to social services in the U.S. has come up with creative ways to solve the problem. He would later write that “Americans face at least three sets of interconnected problems: growing inequality due to the lack of access of those at the bottom to basic goods and services, the rise of social problems arising from the need to rebuild families, neighborhoods, and communities; as well as a disillusionment by increasing public programs designed to address these issues”. He saw a deficit in the approach used by most social service organizations because they saw the people they were trying to help only in terms of their needs, as opposed to a quality-based approach, active resources, the fact that everyone could contribute to the community. He theorized that a system like “Banking Time” could rebuild the infrastructure of trust and care, strengthening families and communities. He hoped that this system would allow individuals and communities to: sustain themselves harmoniously, in abundance, to isolate themselves from the whims of politics and to harness the individual capacity of each person.

source: wikipedia

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