If we accept the market definition of work, there are a few minor omissions worth noting. Work does not include: raising children, taking care of one’s parents, keeping one’s family functioning, being a good neighbour, or being a good citizen. So work includes everything – except family, community and democracy. Some of us think those are rather important. If they can’t be addressed as work within the market, it is clear we need a larger framework than that supplied by the market’ (Cahn, 2004, p.41).
Based on work by Cahn, the New Economics Foundation (2008, p.10), identify four core values of timebanking:
- Recognising people as assets, because people themselves are the real wealth of society. Every individual can contribute to his or her own well-being and that of the local community through giving time, sharing knowledge and skills and providing practical and emotional support.
- Valuing work differently, to recognise all that people do to raise families, look after those who are frail and vulnerable, and maintain healthy communities, social justice and good governance. Activities such as caring for people who are frail and keeping communities safe should be recognised, rewarded and counted as valuable work that contributes to a health society.
- Promoting reciprocity – giving and receiving; mutual and equitable exchange – because it builds trust between people and fosters mutual respect. Giving and receiving are the basis building blocks for positive social relationships and healthy communities.
- Building social networks – because people’s physical and mental well-being depends on strong, enduring relationships. Social relationships underpin good physical and mental health.
Timebanking changes the view that people either have needs and are therefore called ‘service users’ or they can meet the needs of others and are therefore ‘service providers’.