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Time Banks

Publication date: 2015
Keywords: local communities, social investment, time banking

Time banking is a values-based mechanism for reciprocal service-exchange that focuses on the contributions everyone can make to meeting needs within a local community. The value of all services in time banking is equal. The unit of exchange and account is simply the hours spent giving or receiving service. Time banks can provide for many individual and community needs to be met without recourse to money, markets or state welfare arrangements. Through the exchange mechanism time banks also build social relationships and networks that strengthen communities and they provide individuals with opportunities to work, develop, and achieve recognition and reward for contributions made. Since time banks are largely independent of mainstream systems, they are less vulnerable to volatility in these, such as price inflation, financial crisis, recession or austerity. This gives time banking its potential to be a dependable complementary source of economic and social wellbeing and security. From roots in Japan and the US, time banking has spread to all continents.


Relevance for TRANSIT

Time banking is deliberately intended to achieve transformational objectives. Through service exchanges time banks translate time banking values of cooperation, reciprocity, equality, abundance, self-worth and self-reliance into the relationships they build. These are opposites to those of competition, exploitation, scarcity-value and dependence, which are stressed and institutionalized by the market and by state welfare systems and, sometimes, are societally destructive. Time banking is thus seen by its proponents to be a mechanism for practicing and embedding personally- and community-constructive sets of counter-values.



Social Innovation Initiatives in the Critical Turning Points-database

Spice (UK)

Hour Exchange Portland (USA)

Fair Shares (UK)

Volunteer Labour Bank/Network (Japan)


Social Innovation Initiatives studied in-depth

Timebanking (UK) 

Health & Family (Spain)

Ser-Hacer Timebank (Spain)



Weaver, P.; Dumitru, A.; Lema-Blanco, A. and García-Mira, R. (2015) Transformative social innovation narrative : Timebanking. TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169

Weaver, P., Dumitru, A., García-Mira, R., Lema-Blanco, A., Muijsers, L. and Vasseur, V. (2016) WP 4 : case study report : timebanking, TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169.


Research Coordination: ICIS - Paul Weaver

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