• Community

Time Dollars: As Time Marches On

Ka-ching, ka-ching! That’s the official greeting here in the land of Time Dollars. Of course, no cash registers are at work here, just bytes, brains, and a bounty of services and knowledge. Time Dollars, as we wrote earlier, is an experiment in alternative currency that we’re running within Freelancers Union HQ to explore practicing mutualism.

Thanks to Time Dollars, I’m due to get some jeans hemmed from a coworker who’s handy with needles, and I had a piano lesson that finally got my fingers moving again. That was a real score, because I couldn’t work regular private lessons into my budget otherwise. So I’ll have to keep earning Time Dollars to support my piano habit. Nobody’s taken me up on my offer of copyediting, but I did earn some time by... cooking lunch for a week for a coworker.

I usually do a big Sunday cook anyhow, and offered to do the same for someone else. With a couple hours in the kitchen, my lucky customer got to enjoy hearty lentil stew for days. I hear that he has been enjoying his home-cooked, affordable lunches, and I’m looking forward to more piano lessons from my musically inclined coworkers.

If you’re wondering how my coworker was able to afford the lentils, he agreed to paint our CFO’s kitchen. See how the little economy is starting to take hold?

Another interesting trend in TimeDollaristan is people offering group or individual educational opportunities. To date, we’ve had a roundtable on dance history and modern dance, a lesson on HTML markup, and an Excel workshop.

This prompted us to ask whether the teacher of such a class should earn a single Time Dollar for the hour, or if it was fair to collect a Time Dollar from each participant? We didn’t reach a verdict, but check out an interesting place called Trade School that has worked out its own form of knowledge exchange.

What do you think? And what kinds of services would you use for Time Dollars? Dog-walking? Massage? Tax advice? Fun extras, like Cocktail Mixing 101? Would you prefer to offer your professional services within such a community, or use your other skills?