Time banking is a pattern of reciprocal service exchange that uses units of time as currency. It is an example of an alternative monetary system. A time bank, also known as a service exchange, is a community that practices time banking.
The unit of currency, always valued at an hour’s worth of any person’s labor, used by these groups has various names, but is generally known as a time dollar in the U.S. and a time credit in the U.K. Time banking is primarily used to provide incentives and rewards for work such as mentoring children, caring for the elderly, being neighborly—work usually done on a volunteer basis—which a pure market system devalues. In 2011, 26 countries where known to use time banking systems. For instance you can deposit one hour of baby sitting and then withdraw a one hour music lesson. It makes people help each other in communities and pay it forward.
As a philosophy, time banking also known as Time Trade is founded upon five principles, known as Time Banking’s Core Values:
Everyone is an asset,
Some work is beyond a monetary price,
Reciprocity in helping,
Social networks are necessary,
A respect for all human beings.
Ideally, time banking builds community. Time Bank members sometimes refer to this as a return to simpler times when the community was there for its individuals.
For more see: http://www.timebanking.org/