Labor: the New Gold Standard
By Paul Glover / paulglover.org

This article proposes issuing Hour-denominated currency nationwide, to stimulate creative and ecological economies, make grants to community groups, and make interest-free loans.

Twenty years ago I started printing money.  Soon after, residents of Ithaca, New York, began exchanging colorful cash featuring children, waterfalls, trollies and bugs.  Since then, millions of dollars worth of Ithaca HOURS have been traded by thousands of individuals and over 500 businesses.

HOURS have proven a flexible unit of exchange, strengthening local businesses, creating jobs, and enlarging sales tax revenue.  Each HOUR is valued at $10/hour, or one hour of basic labor.  Professionals may request multiple HOURS per hour of work, or trade them equitably.  HOURS weren't intended to replace dollars, but to replace lack of dollars.

Today, however, while much of America tilts beyond chronic recession into early depression, it is time to begin an orderly national transition from dollars to HOURS.  This profound heresy becomes perhaps inevitable, since dollars have become tokens of unrepayable debt.  And, bluntly, they're a tool with which speculators gamble our jobs and homes.

By contrast, HOURS are as steady as the clock, because minutes neither expand nor contract.  HOURS when properly issued represent basic labor that produces real goods and services.  As Adam Smith said, "Labor was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things."

Federal Reserve Notes are shrinking as well because, like all national currencies, dollars are in debt to nature.  Feeding our treasure-to-trash economy, they spur degradation of the essential resources upon which commerce depends.

HOURS would be issued primarily through the proposed Green Labor Adminstration (GLAD), a nonprofit non-governmental WPA.   They'd stimulate the less instantly profitable green markets that big investors have too long avoided: energy-efficiency and retrofit, solar and wind, urban agriculture, co-op health care, and transit. Just like national currencies, HOUR commerce requires constant networking, with sharp calibration of issuance, to balance circulation.

Gold itself, still the most admired store of value, is not capable of transacting the needs of seven billion humans.  Total world supply is a sixty-foot cube.  Sooner or later, as soaring populations compete for declining farmland, gold would become worthless because it is not food.

Meanwhile, supplemental HOUR cash honors skills neglected by the formal economy, stimulating new enterprise and creating new jobs.  HOURS revive deflated sectors when issued through regional credit systems, community banks and credit unions, community-based stock exchanges and family farms; and lent interest-free to small businesses.  They thereby strengthen the dollar.  Just as healthy lungs depend on millions of healthy air sacs, macroeconomies depend ultimately upon the vigor of village and neighborhood economies.

Our Chinese creditors would approve America's transition to HOURS.  Their People's Bank sent representatives to Ithaca who soon received approval from then-Premier Zhu Rongji to start HOUR systems.  Time Banking also has its foot in this door, worldwide.

HOURS ease America's path toward sensible renewal. Putting HOURS to work, and ourselves as well, invites us to repair civilization.  Times change, money changes.  Thinking outside the box will become common, as the box dissolves.

Glover is founder of Ithaca HOURS and a dozen other community enterprises.  He lives in Philadelphia.  paul5glover@yahoo.com

SEE ALSO:
Hometown Money: How to Enrich Your Community with Local Currency
HOURS Connect People. Dollars Control People.
HOURS are Real Money. Dollars are Funny Money.
HOUR Money by Prof. Bob Blain
Trabajo: El Nuevo Patrón Oro

4.0 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
The Myth of Positivity: Why Your Pain Holds a Mighty Purpose
umair haque · 16,709 views today · Of all the great myths of contemporary life, one of the most toxic is positivity. It says: there are negative and positive emotions, and only the positive ones are worth...
Have You Heard of The Great Forgetting? It Happened 10,000 Years Ago & Completely Affects Your Life
Daniel Quinn · 10,462 views today · (Excerpted from the book, The Story of B) With every audience and every individual, I have to begin by making them see that the cultural self-awareness we inherit from our...
Stunning Summary of US Imperialism and Native Resistance... on MSNBC!
4 min · 6,799 views today · On The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, Lawrence explains why a protest by Native Americans in North Dakota reminds us of the history American always tries to forget.
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 6,585 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Seven Must-Have Skills for the 21st Century
Tommy Lehe · 6,326 views today · We live in a world that moves faster than we do. Trying to keep up can be an overwhelming task that at times feels hopeless, like we are falling further and further behind—but...
10 Stunning Images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award
Natural History Museum · 5,653 views today · These incredible images are a selection from of the 25 shortlisted by The Natural History Museum for the People's Choice Award from this year's Wildlife Photographer of the...
Forget Air Force One, Pentagon Wastes Billions and Billions Every Month
Nadia Prupis · 4,315 views today · President-elect Donald Trump's focus on single Boeing contract ignores enormous waste of bloated Pentagon budget
Standing Rock Wisdom: How Sacred, Nonviolent Activism Has the Power to Succeed
Charles Eisenstein · 3,669 views today · I am told by Native American friends active at Standing Rock that the elders are counseling the Water Protectors to undertake each action prayerfully and to stay off the...
DREAM: A Spoken Word Meditation For When Life Is Kicking Your Ass
4 min · 3,198 views today · If life is kicking your ass and the general un-coolness of everybody on planet erf is making you want to off yourself, TALK to someone: 800-273-8255 (national suicide...
The Other Way of Knowing
Lilian Na’ia Alessa · 2,711 views today · Western science and Indigenous worldviews are often seen as incompatible, with the Indigenous view usually being far less valued by society at large. But an inside look at...
Veterans at Standing Rock Ask Forgiveness for War Crimes Against Tribal Nations
Jen Hayden · 2,636 views today · Jon Eagle Sr., Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has reported something wholly unexpected happened at the Standing Rock Reservation today. The...
How a White Supremacist Became a Civil Rights Activist
Araz Hachadourian · 2,534 views today · The story of a KKK leader’s transformation shows us that we need not live forever with the kind of violence we saw in Charleston this month.
Dear Activists, Maybe It's Time to Admit That We've Got It All Wrong
Mickey Z. · 2,376 views today · “The first step in the revolution is eye contact.” - Alicen Grey
Why People Cling to Old Beliefs
1 min · 2,225 views today · Cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist at McGill University, Daniel Levitin, explains why people can be so stubborn when it comes to false beliefs. This behavior is...
Solar is Already Producing More Energy Than Oil, Says Major Scientific Review
Nafeez Ahmed · 1,891 views today · And is twice as powerful than previously thought
Sean Carroll - The Meaning of Life
7 min · 1,786 views today · The world keeps happening in accordance with its rules; it's up to us to make sense of it and give it value. Sean Carroll Music: Moby - God Moving Over the Face of the Waters
Amanda Abbington Introduces iAnimal - 42 Days in the Life of Chickens
4 min · 1,726 views today · Shot undercover in British factory farms and slaughterhouses, this immersive 360° video gives you a birds-eye view of what happens to chicken from farm to plate.
The Most Powerful Algorithm in the World
Joe Brewer · 1,584 views today · After the insanity of the U.S. election, a lot of people are blaming Facebook for its algorithms that parse us into ideological bubbles and spread “fake news” and other kinds...
Satish Kumar on "What Is a Sacred Place?"
3 min · 1,555 views today · Satish Kumar brings a Hindu, Buddhist and Jain perspective to the definition of "sacred place." We found his explanation so compelling that we edited a three-minute piece...
13 Crises That We All Must Face
George Monbiot · 1,409 views today · We face (at least) 13 major crises, some of which are immediate. It’s time for some hard thinking about how we confront them.
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Labor: the New Gold Standard