Greek Creative Economy – How to Live With No Money

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Some are occupying streets while others are throwing tear gas bombs and shooting rubber guns; some are cheering while others are sneering... In the meantime, the main culprits of the global economy downfall keep on devising elaborate financial schemes that will help them maintain status quo and go on steeling from all those previously mentioned! In response to this idiotic reality, austerity measures stricken people of Athens are joining forces and gathering around Athens TimeBank, initiative that is helping them survive hard times with dignity and sense of purpose. The currency that they use in their economy is respect and care for other human being.  

Athens TimeBank is a website that gathers people who have some skill that they want to share with others. It can be any skill: from knitting, plumber’s work and teaching to offering services such as psychological counselling and legal consulting. For every hour of their work that they offer to the other member of ATB they earn 1 TimeDollar. When they need some service in return, they receive help from other members of ATB and they pay them with the TimeDollars that they have previously earned.

In practice, it looks like this. Fist I need to contact ATB and join their community by providing list of services that I am willing to offer. Let’s say that amongst other things I am also good at math, so I offer private tuitions to a child who struggles with math at school. For every hour spent teaching the child I earn one TimeDollar. On the other hand, I need a help from an electrician because wire installations in my house is rather old and needs some maintenance. I contact my friends from ATB and, voilà! an electrician nocks on my door. He does all the work needed and I pay him in my TimeDollars for every hour he spent repairing my electrical installation. It’s as easy as that!

The concept of TimeBanks is not a new one. It originated in USA when the first such organization was founded in Washington D.C. in 1995. Athens TimeBank is one of the youngest and serves as a great example of people uniting efforts and organizing themselves instead of sitting and waiting for the government to solve their every day problems. TimeBanks are redefining the price of work because they appreciate other values, like, helping other human being, understanding, respect, solidarity, unity and other moral values that motivate people to work and create. Collecting material wealth is not always the main purpose of work!!! TimeBanks offer to their members sense of purpose, worth and self-respect in the situation in which they would otherwise feel miserable for not being able to afford necessary services. Beyond that, this kind of self organizing gives people chance to meet, network and create connections that will one day help them get better jobs and earn ’real’ money. As for the people who like to volunteer, TimeBanks can offer them the benefit of receiving in return even more value than what they get from traditional volunteering programmes.

What can we learn from the TimeBank concept? 
Love and care for another human being is the main source of one’s wellbeing. If you are kind and caring for others, they will return in the same way. You will never be alone again.

TimeBank is a concept that can be implemented within any community regardless of its size and financial power. TimeBanks have proved to work well in the communities which are going through recession but they can also be started to help people in underdeveloped communities all around the world.

TimeBank concept reflects the paradigm of a new society in which you will have to give in order to be able to receive. Social revolution that is taking place around the world will do away with those who only receive and do not give, and vice versa, those who were used to giving will no longer be able to provide because the global economy will not be able to sustain financial values without solid backing. Time Banks might be the seeds of the future economic system in which dollars and gold bars will not be the exclusive economic currency.

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Key words for this blog post:

austere life, Greek crisis, how to live without money, life during recession, occupy streets demonstrations, occupy wall street, surviving with no money, Time Bank, Time Dollars

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