Being paid for doing what you like-still impossible

Yes, this is still wishful thinking for me. To do what I enjoy and get paid for it.

My ideal job has to do with art, counseling, helping others and social innovation. I am much flexible and yet…

At the moment, I am involved in lots of studying and volunteering. This is WORK, except it’s not paid. I only enjoy volunteering , though, as I find studying too disconnected from reality and , yes, overwhelming and boring.

In the very near future, I will have to choose :

Option 1 : Do what I hate, build a career, get paid and be unhappy.

Option 2: Get some silly , side-jobes and other temporary assignments, and struggle to survive until I find a paid job that I could actually enjoy

Option 3 : Run-away : go live in some remote, poor? communities, continue to be a volunteer, struggle to continue to exist in this eghoistic, corporate world.

None of the options seem too appealing to me at the moment. I am looking for alternatives, but maybe all I need is luck.

I actually hate money and I wish our economy was based on something else (and I really, really mean it). I have some ideas, in case anyone is interested in learning more about this “my vision”.

Know the feeling

I’m lucky, at the moment, as I have a scholarship and bursary for 3 years while I study for my PhD. When that runs out though? Who knows. I’m trying to save money so I won’t have to worry too much when the PhD ends (or so I have a cushion to finish it after the money runs out if I have to). But really, I want to teach outside universities, present a radio show and grow food (and do these things with others in co-operative ways).

Like you, I’m not that keen on money, and would ultimately like to see a society where it doesn’t exist, but in the meantime I’m interested in using TimeBanking, Community Currencies (we have the ‘Stroud Pound’, based on the Chiemgauer, where I live) and the mixture of volunteering and making things (food, accomodation space, renting of tools/technology) free!

But I think Option 1 is out! I’ve found Option 2 ok in the past - working in a bar and deli to make ends meet for as few hours as possible, and using free time to do other things (and using conversations in the deli and bar to do some of the teaching I’d like to do through other, more formalised, means!)

I would like to hear more about your ideas, and am very happy to share more of my experiences if it’s helpful!

Sharing ideas …for sharing

Dear James,

Thank you for interesting comment.

I also feel like young people (including I) look forward with uncertainty and  a bit of fear at the moment when they will finish their studies …something which makes me feel angry because after many years of hard work we discover we don’t really know what’s going to happen to us . And it’s not fair, as I said before. The time, energy and effort we invested in our studies should pay off. Well, that doesn’t always happen as we sometimes have to re-start from zero.

Option 1 is definitely out. Option 2- I am equally afraid of it and I’ll tell you why : I feel like i might loose myself in the process…

Please let me know more about TimeBanking and Community Currencies…I’d love to learn more.

I am a barter fan and I think we could build a society based on barter, and sharing, rather than money.

Time banking and barter currencies

Now I’m not James, but also might give you some starter links into the area of alternative currencies.

The most interesting development in barter currencies is going on in Greece at the moment (sharable.net has a good overview). Starting such a local currency is more a matter of finding critical mass, socially, because the technology is all there; see an overview of software for alternative currencies on my site, also including more links about background concepts.

applicability

local currencies and time banking are incredibly interesting…I have listened and read a lot about these kind of experience but while time banking can be put into practice even in big cities (since it is based on individual  willings) local currency experiences are, as the word itself say, local. I mean that it is difficult to use them in wide contexts.

I wonder about how to extend both of them…

betta

The global local currency idea …

Betta - hope I understand what you are up to. Welcome to point out if not :slight_smile:

The fact that it’s named LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) is because the idea of keeping money local makes it less scarce for everybody involved. For example, there can be high transaction costs to convert the alternative currency into Euros, motivating people to spend it in the LETS community rather than for (a bit cheaper) external products and services. And the second working principle behind LETS is that now everybody, not just banks, can create “money”, again making it less scarce. (“Money” in - cashless - LETS is still a contract about debt, just as when banks create it.)

Now there seems to be no principal problem to apply LETS to a larger scale - “local” actually means “the community where the currency circulates”, not necessarily geographical neighborhood. So far, I know the following widescale LETS equivalents:

  1. Community Exchange System. A meta system containing hundreds of LETSs worldwide, with an ability to convert between all these currencies. Just like forex exchanges in the world of legal tender.
  2. Internet based barter platforms that use a credit point system, with no way to convert between credits and Euros. A relatively well-known example from Germany is kleiderkreisel.de.
  3. Ripple. Ripple is a web-of-trust extension of the LETS system, avoiding the group trust necessity that keeps LETSs local.
  4. Circular Multilateral Barter. An ingenious idea for circular bartering without local restrictions, a bit like Ripple, but with more flexibility in transactions. The idea is a bit hard to get, I only did after a discussion with the developer on my blog.
Of course there's also Bitcoin. It's attractive on its own terms (and yes I have some), because it does not depend on any central authority (like central banking) and has zero transaction costs worldwide. Yet it does not have any of the advantages of LETS over money: Bitcoin and Euro etc. are readily exchangeable, and Bitcoin is not created from P2P credit. Both limit its supply, meaning it is just as hard to earn Bitcoin than it is to earn "real" money.

So unlike LETS, Bitcoin as a system does nothing to overcome money scarcity (to the contrary, it even includes built-in deflation). Yet again, it could readily replace LETS within a community that decides to keep the currency local, because people want to be an autarkic group rather than being nudged to that by LETS principles. This latter case seems optimum to me: where you voluntarily decide to buy your community’s products, to build up your own community economy and help improve these products, rather than spending it for big business products that are nominally cheaper but bring dependence on earning money in the formal economy with all its regulations and wastefulness.

thank you

wao,thanks for the information…I didn’t know there were so many experiments about it. I’ll check them out soon.

betta

currencies

Looks like plenty of others have been chipping in on this. Here are a few other things:

The local community currency I know and have experience of using and trying to promote is the Stroud Pound (http://www.stroudpound.org.uk/) - and you can watch these films about it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8579476.stm and by reuteurs: http://www.reuters.com/video/2010/03/31/uk-town-prints-its-own-money?videoId=65735534&videoChannel=5

As hinted in the film, the main issue has been getting businesses to take it on. Chicken and egg situation where each business will only take it on if others do. We’re looking into whether a pledgebank scheme where each business only has to start using stroudpounds if 49 others start doing so at the same time.

One argument we come up against in stroud - which is a place with a relatively high proportion of independent, local traders, is that people feel they already show commitment to these shops just by spending sterling there. They struggle to get that spending stroud pounds means the money stays local, whereas spending sterling means it is much more likely to leak out of the local economy at some point.

The films are good on the reasons traders are averse - but it should be pointed out that no trader needs to buy or sell stroud pounds if they receive them in payment or pay them out for services. We’re working with the Council to see if business rates (taxes) could be part paid in Stroud Pounds, so that all local businesses would have at least one way to spend them. Similarly, we’re trying to get the local green electricity supplier to take them, which again would enable almost all local businesses to be able to spend Stroud pounds rather than have to cash them in and lose 3%. The £60 joining fee is an issue, but businesses get a lot of advertising for that, so it’s silly really to complain about it. I guess it’s worth saying that one difficulty in setting up such schemes is you may find individuals who are just hard to work with and won’t help you out no matter how hard you try to make things easy for them!

With regards to the timebank in Stroud - FairShares works pretty well among the people who use it I think, but that’s not a high proportion of the populace. I know the guy who runs it but apart from fixing some people’s bikes for free have not used it much myself. I donated the credits I earned to the ‘community pot’, so that people who spend but can’t earn as much (older people, or whoever) can call on the community pot to ‘pay’ for time of volunteers to help them. Good innovation to encourage both circulation AND community spirit rather than acquisitiveness!

Hope that helps, please get in touch by email if you’d like to talk more about these projects. Finally, you may be interested in the section on money and banking in “The anarchist collectives: workers’ self-management in the Spanish Revolution 1936-1939 - Sam Dolgoff”, available here: http://libcom.org/library/anarchist-collectives-workers-self-management-spanish-revolution-1936-1939-sam-dolgoff . I find this fascinating - they sought to avoid money and use gift economy (just producing and letting anyone in need take) and barter exchange wherever possible, but reverted to community currencies where necessary. They even set up banks which acted as accounting houses for barter exchanges. Really interesting - and going back to an early point - IT IS OK TO HATE MONEY. We should continue to seek to challenge and reverse commodisation and money-value, and turn instead towards production for need and gift economies wherever possible I think. And I don’t think that will affect your ability to earn money in a psychologically strange way - even if it did, I would argue that taking the belief to heart and acting on it is more important than making money - in the west, we are lucky enough to pretty much always be able to figure out a way to survive (assuming we are young and able bodied, which I am assuming you are…!)

Anyway, all for now.

Alternative currencies

Thank you for sharing this very useful info.

Have you used/tried barter and/or time banking ? If so, I’d like to know if and how it works ?

Do you think we could use this very platform to experiment some of these approaches ? (i know this is a crazy idea…)

Experiences so far

Well I tried some things I could find that are on the international level (because I’m frequently changing places, so involvement on the local level is not sustainable for me):

  • Opened an account at the Global Groups Exchange group at CES. This is their only time-based international group, so it seemed quite appropriate. Yet it's not busy there: the social critical mass is missing to make it a success. Also they don't have an egalitarian "all time is worth equal" principle there, means you can charge more than 60 minutes per hour if you like; I'm not too much of a fan of that idea.
  • We have a time based compensation system going in the startup company that I'm involved in. Every one of the founders records their working hours, enters it into a web based software, and the system always attributes a share of the company's total gain according to the total work hours. So, all time is valued equally. It's my best experience with practical time banking yet, works really smooth and we never had to talk about or even quarrelled about money in our startup.
  • Once I had installed Cyclos on an own server (which is an impressive and free time banking and LETS software by the way). Had planned to use it among friends as a compensation system for time spent in neighborly help, to maintain fairness here. However those friends  friends were not too enthusiastic about it, and anyway, just a groups of friends would not provide the necessary group size for the system to take off.
So as you can see, nothing worked out on the larger scale for me yet. My evaluation is that LETS and time banking really thrive on the local (co-located) level when there is an economic crisis, like in Greece now. On the non-local level they might work in cohesive communities like Edgeryders, or purpose-dedicated communities like online clothing and media bartering sites, but not "in the open" or for high-value transactions so far. Mutual trust is an issue etc..

I’d welcome time-banking in Edgeryders, too - personally, I’d fill more into the “haves” and “needs” sections if I knew that mutual compensation is ensured (rather than providing services in good will in the hope that a compensation opportunity will occur some time). So far, the simplest way to experiment with this would be to register a new CES exchange specifically for Edgeryders. Integrating directly into the Edgeryders platform would be nice, but requires some custom programming.

As another part of alternative currencies, I’m involved in Bitcoin. It’s neither time banking nor bartering (see my comment to Betta below), but it works really well on the international level. For example, I successfully bought something for Bitcoins on bitmit.net. Send me your Bitcoin address and I send you a bitcoin to play with :slight_smile:

Thank you for explaining more about alternative currencies

I think time banking works , since it actually helped you manage your company.

More people are needed, but the method itself is functional, I believe.

I read about Bitcoin, but didn’t really understand if one can buy real things with it and if so, how.

It would be great for this community to actually test a time-banking system , this will help us all understand in a practical way how alternative currencies work.

Many thanks,

Luciana

Bitcoin starter links

Regarding Bitcoin, there’s a growing list of real things and services to buy with it. To start using it, there is a bit of a learning curve and some preparations:

  1. Download the Bitcoin client software from bitcoin.org, install it. Wait for some hours to download the so-called blockchain (some hundred megabytes).
  2. Get some Bitcoins. Usual way is to buy some on a Bitcoin exchange, but you could also sell something on, say, bitmit.net (Bitcoin auction / shopping portal).
  3. To buy something, you'll have to use the Bitcoin client to send some of your bitcoins to the receiver's bitcoin address, which looks like for example "143PV9zhJUwCiTDD8i7FE16JbfiJvX9zQo". The transaction is more or less instant and basically cost-free, and shows up in the other party's Bitcoin client.
  4. To receive something, hand out one of your Bitcoin addresses shown in your Bitcoin client software.
You see the whole system behaves much like "real" money; there's no peer-to-peer crediting scheme like in barter currencies and time banking. Thus, Bitcoin lacks the better money supply (and the economic incentive) of credit-based money schemes, but might be a better "store of value" option.

The actual inner workings of Bitcoin are a quite ingenious cryptographic scheme that includes some distributed supercomputing “proof of work” concept to make the transactions happen and be irreversible. (I’m kinda envious, as I had also thought about how to develop a cryptocurrency before but did not get the “proof of work” idea …)

((Last note: before you or anybody here gets involved in Bitcoin with larger sums of money, ask or learn about securing your Bitcoin wallet. Theft is rreversible.))

Dear Matthias,

Thank you for explaining me more about BitCoin. Is this for real too : http://www.bitcoingunparts.com/?page=about ?

Sounds really interesting, but I am naturally more attracted to barter and/or time banking, maybe because I have to admit I have a limited understanding of advanced financial issues.

What exactly is  a cryptocurrency ?

I like the basic income idea, as I always thought of it, I just didn’t know this is how it is called. Well, in a direct democracy, the basic income would be a natural and logical step, I think. As far as I understood, there is a fixed sum for every individual, regardless his/her employment or social status, right ?

Timebanking @Edgeryders - i am not sure who is responsible of the platform’s software and whether I should really bother that person with my proposal…If you think it’s a good idea , I might try it, anyway.

Moving on

Lucyanna - I’m gonna post this as a last comment here, then move this discussion on to an own mission report, as proposed by Alberto. I’ll mention your Edgeryders timebanking idea, so feel free to join into the discussion there - maybe we can gather enough support for a meaningfully sized experiment within this platform.

And yes, bitcoingunparts.com seems to be for real. And there’s more going on with Bitcoin that, well, could get people into trouble. It relies on the hard-to-track nature of Bitcoin payments. But then again, this anonymity is what we value in cash transactions (giving us priavcy), and cash is likewise used to buy drugs, weapons, do money laundering etc… Personally, such uses do not deter me from Bitcoin or cash.

Cryptocurrency: a digital currency where the exchange of value relies on encryption technology. The alternative is having a central instance that keeps accounts for your (like PayPal, but also all time banking schemes); in this scheme, you’ll have to trust the central instance to not interfere with your business and to not run away with the money. While in Bitcoin, currency (or better, the encryption keys to access it) are stored right on your computer in a small file. If somebody gets hold of that file, he has stolen your Bitcoins. This is a total novelty, and there already have been cases where people did steal Bitcoins from a computer worth tens of thousands of USD. That’s why I mentioned securing the digital wallet - it’s not difficult, but necessary.

As for the basic income idea, yes you’re right to assume that there would be the same sum for everybody, without any conditions. That’s the most common proposal.

Thank you for all the useful explanations…

Now I understand a lot better !

Bitcoin is an interesting thing ,neverthless it’s not my kind, as I am looking for something which would not be similar in any way to existing cash…But it is neverthless an alternative .

Did you find using Bitcoin rewarding in any way ? (  you can reply in your new post, if you wish so)

Thanks.

The mind of a Bitcoiner

Hey :slight_smile: Yes I answered it in the new mission report so that other interested people will find it there, too. See you there!

Timebanking for Edgeryders

Luciana - just today I stumbled upon the mutual_credit Drupal module. Drupal is the software behind the Edgeryders site, and this is a free extension for it that can provide time banking and / or a barter point system. So technically, this is an easy, great way for adding an alternative currency experiment to this platform.

So far I can’t guess if Edgeryders has enough users to make this work practically, but I for one would welcome the experiment. Since it was your idea originally, it’s up to you to decide what to do with it now :slight_smile:

Needs a mission report of its own

Money and credit arrangements are clearly an important topic.

I, for one, would welcome a separate discussion on it - up to and incliding the idea of an Edgeryders time bank. I would suggect you, Matthias, start one.

We have a real expert on social currencies in the community, Eric, and he would probably like to get involved.

the shop where you don’t pay

Very quickly: I just found this.

I am sorry, it is in italian (but mybe Romanians here can catch something): it talks about a shop, in Alto Adige (Norhtern Italy) where you can bring stuff you don’t use and donate them and/or you can go and tale whatever you want, for free of course!

You can give them money but it is just to contribute to the project (managing space, paying bills…)

The shop is also an info-point no degrowth, human rights, ecosustainability etc.

If I find something in english I will post it.

For now just the link in italian.

http://www.informarexresistere.fr/2012/04/18/passamano-il-negozio-free-dove-non-si-paga/#axzz1sQSnZW1X

Thanks for the link

In Romania we have an online community dedicated to the same purpose. The problem is there are costs for mailing stuff to other cities . In case the persons live in the same city, each individual is responsible for delivering the item to the “buyer” in person and it takes time to schedule those meetings. But it’s a great idea and I love it ! I only need more time to be part of it…