Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Nook - Creating Wealth

There has been a lot of news and discussion lately about raising wages to a more livable standard for workers in the United States. Recent articles I've come across have highlighted that the unemployment crisis is transitioning to become a wages crisis. Politicians seem out of touch and unable to make widescale changes that are needed to ensure that essential services such as child care, health care, and housing are available to families, and it's not likely that employers will willingly begin shelling out more money to employees anytime soon. So what solutions are available for community developers and citizen advocates to initiate?

A recent read that I would strongly recommend discusses this issue from a unique perspective. Creating Wealth: Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies has been on my Need to Read list for awhile (at least a year, according to Pinterest -- yikes!). I'm so glad I finally had the time to read this book, and I hope you choose to move it to the top of your list too. Gwendolyn Hallsmith & Bernard Lietar detail exciting proposals and some recent community movements to create alternative currencies as a means of economic support. For example, some towns may make an art currency to encourage cultural development. There is also a thorough appendix at the end of the book that provides guidelines to community organizers for establishing community currencies.

Another exciting movement detailed in Creating Wealth is the creation of community time banks. For those of you who can identify with being "short on money but long on time", this can be a great method for exchanging services. I myself would love to learn more about gardening or maybe have some assistance filing taxes, but I don't know if I would really be able to provide the funds to consult with an expert. Community time banks allow me to request help with these services for an agreed-upon amount of hours, which I could earn by providing services I am more adept to (tutoring and babysitting may not be great talents, but I'm sure there are those who might be needing them!).

If you are interested in participating or learning more about local time banks, you can become a member of Reston USE (Useful Services Exchange) if you are in the northern Virginia area, or find one near you through TimeBanks USA

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