The Chicago Time Exchange operates on the idea that we have everything we need if we use what we have.

It is a sharing economy and a skill pool using time as the currency.  An hour of your time is worth an hour of my time is worth an hour of anyone else’s time.

Instead of a barter where one is limited to the offers of one person, you have access to the skills and strengths of the whole group.  Here’s how it works: Ian watches Jami’s cat for 2 hours, and he earns 2 TimeBank Hours. He spends those TimeBank Hours on yoga classes with Julia.  Julia spends those TimeBank Hours getting painting lessons from Lara.  Lara spends the TimeBank Hours on having Sharon babysit her child.  Sharon gives those TimeBank Hours to Steve for helping her edit a paper.

The Chicago Time Exchange was founded on the same five principles of co-production developed by Dr. Edgar Cahn of TimeBanks, USA.

Asset:  We all have assets.  We all have something to give.  Everyone, regardless of age, race, income, or ability, has something to offer that someone else needs.  Listening and care-taking, for instance, are valuable skills that are not valued in the market economy, but are absolutely essential to the successful operation of a community.

Redefining Work:  Some work is beyond price.  Work has to be redefined to value whatever it takes to raise healthy children, build strong families, revitalize neighborhoods, make democracy work, advance social justice, make the planet sustainable. That kind of work needs to be honored, recorded and rewarded.  Oftentimes, money, the market economy, and our society that it is based around, tends to value people based on what they get paid to do their job.  In order to use everything we as individuals and we as a society has to ensure that we have everything we need, we need to break free of that type of thinking.

Reciprocity:  Helping works better as a two-way street.  The question: “How can I help you?” needs to change so we ask: “How can we help each other build the world we both will live in?”

Social Networks:  We need each other.  Networks are stronger than individuals. People helping each other reweave communities of support, strength & trust. Community is built upon sinking roots, building trust, creating networks. Special relationships are built on commitment.

Respect:  Every human being matters.  Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy. When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured. We must respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.

Co-production respects the work of all players.  In a successful classroom, the teacher is not the only person working.  The teacher must tend to the educational needs of the students and the students must work to understand the information being presented.

See more about the goals of the Chicago Time Exchange and how you can get involved in the FAQ page.


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