One of the most exciting ventures I have ever been involved with is the Common Wealth Time Bank. I have often had issues with how unjustly money flows of its own accord. While I fully recognize the merits of a man working for what he gets, the unfortunate truth of the monetary system in its current incarnation is that it does not flow fairly enough to adequately account for much of the work going into the cultivation of our civilization. However, with time-banking, I see a way to move beyond this system of inadequacy and injustice toward one that offers a more balanced approach toward sustainability through the use of reciprocity.
In an attempt to look at my community in a balanced perspective, I see the four quadrants of society as Artists, Businesses, Consumers, and Charities, or what I call ABC2.. Because I live in Sarasota, these quadrants are easy to see. We have rich culture of creativity and a vibrant music scene. We have forward-thinking businesses that promote environmental sustainability, innovation, and social entrepreneurism. We have a thriving tourist industry and an active movement of local foods, goods, and services. And we have a population very much involved in philanthropy and benevolence. My goal for the Common Wealth Time Bank is to address these four quadrants both singularly and collectively, ensuring that as each quadrant grows, it helps support the other three quadrants.
For instance, Artists are an historically undervalued segment of the population. Because creativity flows freely through much of humanity as a natural source of happiness and emotional well-being, it is not favored in the monetary system designed to account for scarcity. Now that humanity is utilizing the technological advances at our disposal, along with the cognitive surplus afforded us through the Information Revolution, the monetary system is ill equipped to adequately value the plethora of creative activities and projects that are bursting forth. However, the Common Wealth Time Bank can not only recognize and reward this activity, but it can use it for it´s own growth in order to inspire the growth of the community.
Taking that artistic energy and directing it toward Businesses that understand the value of investing in the economy beyond the market system helps those businesses to prosper, thereby symbioticly continuing to energize the market economy and the core economy. By tapping into the Consumers that frequent these Businesses, we reach a demographic that is ready for a new beginning and understand the need to try new things in order to bring progress about. The memberships we seek, from Artists, Businesses, and Consumers are those who hold dearly to the crazy idealistic notion that we actually can change the world by the way that we treat one another and by the actions that we take. Directing this collective energy toward those changes that we most want to see through the Charity we offer to the world, gives us the presence of purpose through which our creativity, service, and livelihoods can fully blossom and prosper.