DucahDollars (pronounced dew-kah-doll-ars) are a form of local currency based loosely on Ithaca Hours and TimeDollars as units used in a Local Exchange Trading System created by the Paducah2020 project in Paducah, Kentucky. The program is being developed to foster volunteerism and a greater sense of community within Paducah and its vicinity while building social capital.
Time is not moneyEdit
When developing capital within the US, companies and businesses are often constrained to conform to conventional finance through the banking system. Startups and small businesses are often left "out in the cold" when dealing with the variable and unweildy Price/wage spiral. This often prevents even the worthiest of projects from "getting off the ground".
With volunteer organizations like Paducah2020, the whole picture can be different. Because Paducah2020 relies heavily on intangible assets and the process of abstraction, it precludes many of the myths promulgated by conventional wisdom.
The philosophical underpinnings of local currency systems implemented within the United States can be characterized as informal networks that grow organically from the "Grass roots" as community building projects. One theory surmises that a person's time is a function of the value he or she produces through effort, whether it is:
- Physical manual labor such as lawn-mowing, gardening, and cooking
- Social services such as care giving, school volunteering and civic lobbying
- Academic activities such as conducting research, writing documents or public speaking.
Many of these activities are crucial to the Health of a community, yet are not adequately funded nor cheerfully supported by mainstream finance. Many times such efforts are completly taken for granted, ignored, neglected or dismissed to the shame of a community.
The DucahDollar system is based on quantifying and qualifying effort toward specified goals belonging to a set of computationally orchestrated projects selected scientifically as parts and parsels of a matrix of opportunity specially compiled for Paducah and its vicinity.
Information is worthlessEdit
Information is only valuable if it accurately represents things that are useful. When looking at a community in terms of its worth, you do well to look beyond the aggrigate retail value of its homes, per-capita income and and the combined net profits of its commerce and industry. You must also look at the effectiveness of its educational system, the level of safety and security, the integrity of its infrastructure and other aspects that augment the general welfare of its citizens and their quality of life.
Paducah2020 has a set of projects and programs designed to engage local citizens toward what are determined through consensus to present worthy goals. CHAT and PAWMP are examples of programs that require field work, documentation, software engineering, research, archeological digging and a host of other rigorous activities. Most participants have enough interest in the work to do it without monetary compensation. DucahDollars are more or less a way to attract attention to the projects, gather support from local businesses and to help secure funding to meet expenses. Although a few public and private grants are being pursued, the Paducah2020 project is administered from a financial base of $0.01 - a positive balence.
Precedence and guidelines Edit
Like the original barter system, local currency is certainly nothing new in the field of Numismatics. Josiah Warren's "Time Store" notes of 1827 are still studied today. LETS or Local Exchange Trading Systems are now springing up all over the modern World.
In the US, the Internal Revenue Service has published some guidelines for barter systems, local currency networks, local exchange trading systems, and other alternatives to the Federal Reserve System. A few examples of sytems that comply with the IRS codes are in use:
In his book No more Throw-away People, Edgar Cahn points out that needs are offset by skills. The basics of cash, currency, sustenance, and health are dependant, not so much upon physical things but as much or more so upon spiritual things. Though compensated employment nearly always appears on the surface to be the panecea for producing economic good, it is many times given more place than it deserves, especially among low and middle income families. The TimeDollar network was created to draw attention away from the Price/wage spiral and toward a Need/skill model.
Cahn's TimeBank system quantifies skill and effort within a localized, consensus-based system of checks and balances. This system was crafted over a span of nearly two decades to help meet the needs of Low-income families in Urban areas. The TimeBank system is most equitable where reciprocal community service can occur between participants with equivalent skill levels.
Ithaca Hours Edit
Over 500 area businesses, including a medical center, a credit union and the public library accept Ithaca Hours. Many local farmers, movie theatres, restaurants, plumbers, carpenters, electricians and doctors render goods and services in exchange for the In Ithaca We Trust hour and half-hour notes. Some folks can even use them to pay rent.
Local currency for Paducah Edit
DucahDollars, while taking on some of the time-based properties of TimeDollars and Ithica Hours could take on others according to the will and creativity of Paducah folks. Different name? Discuss DucahDollars?