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CES: THE NEW LOCAL MONEY

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Village community market in Oude Molen, Cape Town. Photo by Roy de Vos

Can money be a way of doing good and building community? Apparently yes, when returned to its roots as a tool of direct exchange. The Community Exchange System (CES) is a new model of local economy and social service, in which neighbours trade their time for helping others click for source.

Today’s Helsingin Sanomat reported about a new exchange circle in Kumpula, a neighborhood of Helsinki. The circle’s idea is “a solidary way to trade” – a system of helping neighbors and getting something in return. Over a hundred active members are now exchanging favors, such as walking the dog, repairing clothes, bicycle maintenance or window cleaning. One hour of good work equals 10 “kumpennies”, the network’s virtual currency.

The Helsinki Community Exchange System was set up last November by five locals and has by now reached already 112 members. One of the founders, Ruby van der Vekken, explains that the idea is to understand money as a value of exchange, not a measure of property. Through the local exchange, economy becomes an activating and transparent factor that creates mutual benefits and social well-being. Neighbours also get to know each other better. Another member points out that when time is exchanged into time, all work becomes equal. And moreover, it feels good when someone asks for help that you can offer.

The mother organisation CES consists of 185 similar networks in 25 different countries, and even the local currencies are exchangeable abroad. Also many other corresponding systems, time banks and local economies are operating worldwide.

3 Responses

  1. KingofthePaupers
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    Jct: Welcome to the world of interest-free trading. In 1999, under the Time Standard of Money, I paid for 39/40 nights in Europe with a timebank IOU for a night back in Canada worth 5 Hours which I recorded on my public do-it-yourself timebank account: http://johnturmel.com/unilets.com I’ll put you up for your 50 “kumpennies” = 5 Hours in Canada if you’ll put me up in Kumpula Helsinki for my CA60 Greendollars = 5 Hours in Brantford Canada?

  2. Maya
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    Hello there!
    We are interested in community currency or similar concept and learning about this subject recently. We will be visiting Helsinki (from Tokyo)from the 17 to 25th of this month and wondering if there is any place/event we can visit and observe activities along this line during this period, do you know of any?
    We are doing a research in building a sustainable living/business model in Tokyo and would love to talk to the locals in Helsinki,

  3. Hella Hernberg
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    Hello Maya,

    I’d recommend to contact the Helsinki Time Bank directly. Here you can find some of their contact persons, at the bottom of the page. Good luck!