That'll Cost 4 Hours

An idea came to me a couple of days ago. I was entranced by the simplicity and utility of it. The world isn’t ready for it so please, if you find your mind telling you why it wouldn’t work just ignore the chatter. You see this is an idea for a new world; one built of Love where spiritual values are embraced by choice because we understand them by experience. It is an idea for a society in which every family unit has the right to a non-taxable home site; a society in which you could only become a steward of other lands or resources by social agreement for they would be considered human commons. This isn’t an idea for today so don’t tell me why it won’t work. I know that.

In the far distant future there will be no need for money at all. Our scientific knowledge will allow for decentralized and independent systems of energy, manufacturing material needs and food creation. Sound like a dream? We can see intimations of that reality in nano-machines, 3D Printing and other technologies right now. Remember that the future will make our present knowledge base look child-like. Yes I know we think we are modern. We have history to prove it, just like most everyone who has ever lived.

Between the collapse of greed and that ideal of self-sustaining freedom provided by human intellectual advancement and spiritual development, there will still be a need for some type of currency it seems to me. Actually I believe it will be needed for a long time. The idea that came to me is that the currency would be called hours. The inherent value of it would be based upon hours of human effort. Think about it. Anywhere in the world we would be trading hours. The elemental unit of currency would be one hour. That would be the value of an hour’s effort by an untrained worker or apprentice.

As this thought came to me I immediately realized how practical a worldwide currency of hours would be. Regional exploitation would be diminished or eliminated altogether. An hour is an hour. Money would be created when we purchase the work of others. We would earn before spending. Banks would ensure value and facilitate exchanges.

Obviously some people’s work is worth more. There would quickly be created social agreements about the relative values of creative output. A 10x multiplier should be the highest pay rate for those exceptional people who are deemed of great social merit. We would be awarding each other hours for value added to life by creative effort.

Society would generate fees from licensing resource extraction as well as participatory taxation. Think of the possibilities! Mothers could be paid for childrearing. Cherishing and loving future generations is the foundation of civilization. It is also demanding work. That social economy would also help pay to alleviate suffering when disasters strike.

Those are just a few of the ideas that popped into my mind. Imagine, though, if you went into a store and saw a price of ḫ32.25. You would know exactly how much effort that purchase price of thirty-two and one quarter hours was costing you.

Of course in the far future a gift economy will eliminate the need for counting hours. The price of that economy will be living in the now … eternally.


Download a PDF Version with Hours Currency Symbols
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  1. Welles's Avatar
    Hours Currency Symbol

    Every currency needs an easily recognizable symbol, a new glyph that would be easy to add to existing fonts. Ideally it would imply an obvious meaning. Using an H for hours seemed a good start. Then I thought about hours being equal and incorporated the idea of relative equality by using an equals sign = in place of the single crossbar. My final thought was to use fonts with an inherent sense of motion to imply the activity of exchange. In the case of less dynamic fonts, using italic or oblique typefaces would suffice.

    As I’m most familiar with the dollar symbol $ which has the cents symbol Ę as its diminutive partner I thought the prices of items or services should use the upper case hours symbol to indicate a price of one hour or greater and the lower case symbol to indicate less than one hour in cost. In thinking about of change for an hour several schemes could work but I generally favor a quarter, a half and three-quarters as the currency breakdown between whole hours.

    To test out the graphic concept I used Apple Chancery for the font with a sense of activity built in and ITC Avant Garde Gothic as my test sans serif font, which means I used the italic font style. On the next page you can see the results of upper case and lower case experiments.

    I think believe this hours symbol would be easily incorporated into any font that uses variants of the Latin alphabet.

    Welles B Goodrich
    Oct. 2, 2014

  2. Welles's Avatar
    Recently on another forum an inquiry was made for more thoughts on the subject of 'hours currency.' For example he wondered how issues with children, the elderly and disabled might be dealt with as well as just about the idea in general. So after thinking about his inquiry for a couple of days I replied...

    Hi Kim,

    Iíve had to think about your questions for a couple of days and still donít know that I can provide adequate answers. While pondering your questions Iíve had a number of interesting realizations stimulated by your interest. Thank you for that.

    The idea of hours is to give currency some real foundation of value. Right now the foundation of almost all currencies is debt. Debt = slavery. It is supported by the delusion that owning enough of the material sphere will satisfy the inner craving for security that we all experience. Material goods never will satisfy that which only spiritual growth attains. However the practitioners express their right to greed at the expense of others and the earth with such fervor that it has been elevated to ďThe Divine Right of Greed.Ē

    That has to stop. It is no longer optional. The earth is being destroyed right before our YouTube eyes. The idea of human effort as the basis of exchange seems sensible to me. Of course prices for goods include materials that were obtained by other peopleís effort. The earth provided them so the cost of the effort to maintain her well-being has to be factored in as well. All of that takes human effort.

    I suggest that hours might be accumulated in a bank. The banker would be the person who validates the reality of exchanges on a local level and acts as a guarantor for that value. Their position in society would be very important. Moreover banks would issue script, physical currency for normal exchanges. I suggest that the artistic merits of such artifacts would be one of great fascination and you would find hours traded from all over the world just for the curiosity factor. After all they would be equal in spendable value.

    Hereís a good look at a new world banker in action. It is at the beginning of this video on economics in Greece, which has been bankrupted by the old system incorporated in the European Union and the Euro, a dismal failure.

    Remember Iím imagining a world where greed isnít an issue although Iím sure some people will be prone to try it out. That means that cons and scams, forgeries and frauds would be so rare they would be obvious. In a world of service people would try to use money as little as possible in favor of giving of their efforts to one another. Why? Simple. It is more efficient than wasting time keeping score. Think of this. If we each sought to do the best we could for one another in each of our dealings we wouldnít have to look out for ourselves. I figured at least 75% of human effort right now is wasted on wars, self-protection, mitigating the results of greed (think of all the diseases caused by nutritional failures called food by industrial providers of packaged junk) etc. Would it be instant heaven? Nope it would just seem like it by comparison.

    As to how hours would be used. Many details would be needed to custom fit in each community. I canít begin to guess the specifics. In thinking about disabled, remember that we currently are in the throes of a crisis of the collapse of the family unit. Families would be the bottom line support system. For those without some network of support there would need to be social support. That would be paid for by local taxes. Health and education I believe will be considered two of the most important social foundations of any progressive civilization.

    As to children; within the home money would not be exchanged for the gift of love can not be bought and sold. The home would be the exemplar of the gift economy. However I would encourage the idea that children should be given the opportunity to earn money by exchanging work with their neighbors as soon as practical. Keep in mind that when you learn to make much of that which you need with your own skills the satisfaction you receive from that creative activity is far more valuable than merely purchasing stuff. The sort of rabid commercialism in which we live now would not exist.

    Hmmm, Iíve rattled on enough. Keep in mind that the world is not ready for these ideas at present. Enough people will have to embrace some new vision that makes sense to them before there is any real change. Iím just thinking about possibilities. Here are a couple of other musings. One is about bankers (before I got the currency idea) and one is about government. I still like Ďem.

  3. Welles's Avatar
    I recently purchased and started studying Jon Rappoport's massive data dump entitled The Matrix Revealed. I'll just say that for me it was worth every penny. In fact I've started thinking about a forum devoted to enlightening promotions or something like that.

    Anyway in one of the PDF interview transcripts was a brief mention of Ithaca Hours. It has dwindled in use recently but the project was launched in 1991 and had some real success. The hours concept was based on even earlier implementations of some variation of relating exchange to work. Wikipedia has an excellent entry on the subject.

    Ithaca Hours ó in Wikipedia

    There's nothing new under the sun.
    Hours is still a good idea!