Monday, June 5, 2017

Giving Back

Andrés Manuel López Obrador is planning to pay salaries to housewives in Mexico. After yesterday's election, in which his leftist party narrowly lost a key race, his prospects of next year becoming president of his country are still strong. The race for governor in Mexico State was so close that the results are being contested. Regardless of who won, López Obrador's chances of winning the Presidency in 2018 are gaining momentum.

Mexico is not seen as having much influence compared to economic behemoths like the U.S., however ideas can penetrate walls and a socialist revolution in Mexico could catch on among the disenfranchised classes in neighboring countries. The idea of paying people in some way for their time and labor spent in fulfilling socially beneficial roles is, in fact, already included in the Green Party key values.
6. Community-Based Economics
We support redesigning our work structures to encourage employee ownership and workplace democracy. We support developing new economic activities and institutions that allow us to use technology in ways that are humane, freeing, ecological, and responsive and accountable to communities. We support establishing a form of basic economic security open to all. We call for moving beyond the narrow 'job ethic' to new definitions of 'work,' 'jobs' and 'income' in a cooperative and democratic economy. We support restructuring our patterns of income distribution to reflect the wealth created by those outside the formal monetary economy – those who take responsibility for parenting, housekeeping, home gardens, community volunteer work, and the like. We support restricting the size and concentrated power of corporations without discouraging superior efficiency or technological innovation.
López Obrador's National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) has not been specific as to how it would implement its "pink salary," but the way the Green Party describes a restructuring of income
Photo by Fred van den Driessche
distribution patterns using new definitions of 'work,' 'jobs,' and 'income,' it seems to lend itself to 'timebanking.' Timebanking is a way to earn credit for hours spent doing things for others, which you can use, in turn, to pay for things others are willing to do for you.

The timebank portal we use in my community is hOurworld. It hasn't taken off yet in the community, and, in fact, appears to have stagnated, but if inflation gets out of control (as I think it will), this alternative currency may become much more popular.

Timebanks are one step in the direction of localization into multitudes of semi-autonomous communities. +Albert Bates warns that "Designing... any future beyond mid-century  — requires redesigning a collective consciousness, our psychodemographic," and that "coming together can change your mind or open new frontiers." Successful establishment of timebanking requires a rewiring of our minds to devalue money and instead value local self-sufficiency. Perhaps, after next year's elections, alternative currency systems such as timebanks will become all the rage in Mexico and then migrate up here.

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