This week I decided to learn more about moneyless economies. The concept has interested me since my early teenage years but until now I had little more than a vague, idealistic idea about what this would look like.
What I discovered
I have read about different models of moneyless economies.
The idea of a resource-based economy is interesting, particularly from a sustainability perspective, as it is about basing society on the resources that are available and having what can be sustained, rather than everything we want (www.thevenusproject.com). However, it does seem to be an all-or-nothing approach requiring global involvement, because otherwise it seems the global unequal distribution of resources would still result in gross inequalities and conflict.
I also read about gift economies, and the idea of there not being any formal exchange between transactions. Instead, resources are given and received freely within the community. To work, it seems essential that people contribute (i.e. they do not just expect endless hand outs), but while it sounds idealistic, it has been shown to work time and time again – on small and larger scales. http://www.servicespace.org/join/?pg=gift – Defining gift economies.
I am involved with my local TimeBank, which is a system of trade based on mutual volunteering – http://waikato.timebanks.org/. The idea is that everyone has useful skills and can contribute in the community, and each hour you volunteer for someone you earn 1 time credit, which can then be exchanged for someone volunteering one hour for you.
My action was to induct a new member in to our TimeBanking community, and get her involved in spreading awareness of the community to others (by handing out leaflets in her suburb).