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In economics, a time-based currency is an alternative currency where the unit of exchange is the man-hour. It is basically a timewaster's charter.

Some time-based currencies value everyone’s contributions equally. One hour equals one service credit. In these systems, one person volunteers to work for an hour for another person; thus, they are credited with one hour, which they can redeem for an hour of service from another volunteer. Critics charge this would lead to fewer doctors or dentists. Other systems, such as Ithaca Hours, let doctors and dentists charge more hours per hour. U.N. Millennium Declaration C6 to governments is for a UNILETS time-based currency to restructure the global financial architecture.

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Time Dollars

Time Dollars are created via mutual credit: Each transaction is recorded as a corresponding credit and debit in the accounts of the participants. In a Time Dollars system, or Time Bank, each participant's time is valued equally, whether he/she is a novice or an extensively trained expert. Time Dollars thus recognize and encourage reciprocal community service, resist inflation without encouraging hoarding, and are in sufficient supply, which enables trade and cooperation among participants. More importantly, the Time Bank is a tool for reweaving the very fabric of community. The tool has proven to be extremely flexible, working equally well across ethnic, socioeconomic, religious or racial groups. It has been implemented in a wide variety of settings - rural Appalachia, urban St. Louis, in Youth Court, and in retirement communities, to name a few.

Time banks

Edgar Cahn came up with Time Dollars as "a new currency to provide a solution to massive cuts in government spending on social welfare. If there was not going to be enough of the old money to fix all the problems facing our country and our society", Edgar argued, "Why not make a new kind of money to pay people for what needs to be done? Time Dollars value everyone’s contributions equally. One hour equals one service credit." Cahn wrote two books, Our Brother’s Keeper and No More Throw-Away People.

The largest and most active Time Bank in the United States is the Dane County TimeBank in Madison, Wisconsin with over 1,000 members, a Youth Court and connections to Community Supported Agriculture. The Dane County TimeBank co-hosted "TimeBanking in Action," the TimeBanking International Conference in 2007, and will be co-hosting the TimeBanking Conference, "Time For Justice, A Wealth of Opportunity" in June 2009. TimeBanks USA is the hub of a nationwide network of TimeBanks offering training and support to timebanks around the country. It developed Community Weaver software now widely used with over 11,000 participants. In the US there are now 101 TimeBanks listed on http://community.timebanks.org/findtimebanks.php. TimeBanking has spread to over 37 nations and six continents. In England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, TimeBanking has spread rapidly. There are 116 in operation and another 87 under development; the government and national volunteer organizations have been particularly supportive. They are promoted as a tool in community regeneration.

The IOU of Lovely

The micronation of Lovely set up by Danny Wallace uses this type of currency known as the Interdependent Occupational Unit (IOU). These have been given out by posting on the country's site's message boards. However, no use of these IOUs have been announced.

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