Global Economics: Time Banking Conference September 14, 2004
Sean Gonsalves

In Toronto last month, I was introduced to “Time Banking” and thought it might be one possible path to the end-goal of a more just and sustainable world, which is what Participatory Economics, seeks to establish.

The conventional wisdom accepted uncritically by economists, points to THE global economy, as if there is only one – or rather, the only one worthy of our attention.

However, those who attended the 3rd International Time Banking Congress in Toronto on the last weekend of August know better. In addition to the dominant global capitalist economy, there is another emerging economic order, global in scope and universal in its appeal.

It’s a “time banking” economy that uses “time dollars” as its currency and is based on the reality of human interdependence, rather than the myth of rugged individualism that barely holds together the so-called free-market order.

The New Economics of Ecological Capital
John Vidal

Here is a conundrum, courtesy of Merv Wilkinson, one of Canada's oldest and wisest foresters. In 1938, he bought a few hectares of forest on Vancouver Island which, he reckoned, contained about 100,000 board feet of timber. Once every 10 years, he would harvest about 20 per cent of it. So, he used to ask people who visited him, how much timber would he have left after 50 years?
Most thought he would have nothing left at all, whereupon Mr. Wilkinson would show them his trees and say he had 120,000 board feet. How was this possible? Because, he said, he selected very carefully the trees he would fell in order to maximise the growth of others; and because quite simply, trees grow. The result of what Mr. Wilkinson called his "ecological forestry" was that he and his family prospered and his trees grew greatly in girth, height and value. In short, it was truly sustainable forestry, and Mr. Wilkinson — now in his 90s — was ecologically wealthy.

Participatory Economics: Parecon

'Another World is possible'.
But what such a world might look like?

How would we design institutions?   How would we structure society?

Michael Albert's (and Robin Hahnel's) conception of a participatory economy (parecon) offers a vision of how we might organize production, consumption, remuneration and distribution in ways that foster the values of justice and solidarity (Cynthia Peters).

The model goes beyond failed systems of market capitalism, command economy and   social democracy.(Carl Boggs). It builds alternatives to capitalist irrationality -- such as the barter markets, piquetero productive projects, workers   self-managed factories and independent distribution   centers. (Ezequiel Adamovsky)

In the interview with ZNet, Micheal Albert talks about his book.

Building Institutional Forms for Parecon: A look at Argentina by Ezequiel Adamovsky in an interview with Micheal Albert
Albert: It seems to me that if movements want to attain certain institutions as a part of their goals, they will need to use organizational forms that foster those institutions and can melt into them, rather than organizational forms that would be neutral regarding the sought aims, or that would obstruct their attainment. I favor such goals as remuneration for effort and sacrifice, self   management, and classlessness to be attained via worker and consumer councils, balanced job complexes, remuneration for effort and sacrifice,  and participatory planning.  I wonder, whether these aims would resonate in Argentina, your home  country. Can you give us a picture of the movements there that have  formed local assemblies in neighborhoods and in workplaces? Are the  assemblies early forms of workers and consumers councils?