Kamál, 14 Sultán (Sovereignty), 178 B.E.
One squirrel eating corn …
Another squirrel wishing it was eating corn, too …
Eventually, the world will adopt a time-based economy rather than the prevailing monetary economy. As a result, I look for signs in organizations of their attempts to establish the value of time apart from money. Some indicators include:
- Non-monetary-funded, volunteer projects in their portfolios.
- Demonstration of capacity to successfully complete the tasks—and ultimately the projects themselves—as described in the project specifications.
- Roster of providers with proven skills as evidenced by the tasks they complete in the projects. This establishes a potential skill base for the organizations to draw upon to carry out future portfolio projects. Furthermore, it generates references for the providers as they pursue other opportunities to ply their skills.
- Testimony to the strength of organizations given the impact of the projects they have in their portfolios and the power of the people they have in their resource rosters.
- Early adoption of a non-monetary economic system whereby service providers can exchange their time delivering their skills for access to their basic needs.
At this stage, timebanking platforms like hOurworld and TimeBanks.Org can offer considerable support for organizations, communities, and individuals to experiment with various practices that facilitate the shift from a monetary economy to a time-based economy. Timebanking is definitely a system which attracts my attention—and it’s one that I sense is at the heart of the profound social change process underway. More to follow …
The term “politics” can have a broad meaning, and therefore it is important to distinguish between partisan political activity and the discourse and action intended to bring about constructive social change. While the former is proscribed, the latter is enjoined; indeed, a central purpose of the Bahá’í community is social transformation. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s treatise The Secret of Divine Civilization amply demonstrates the Faith’s commitment to promoting social change without entering into the arena of partisan politics. So too, innumerable passages in the Bahá’í Writings encourage the believers to contribute to the betterment of the world. “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in,” Bahá’u’lláh states, “and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá urges the friends to “become distinguished in all the virtues of the human world—for faithfulness and sincerity, for justice and fidelity, for firmness and steadfastness, for philanthropic deeds and service to the human world, for love toward every human being, for unity and accord with all people, for removing prejudices and promoting international peace.” Further, in a letter written on his behalf, Shoghi Effendi explains that “much as the friends must guard against in any way seeming to identify themselves or the Cause with any political party, they must also guard against the other extreme of never taking part, with other progressive groups, in conferences or committees designed to promote some activity in entire accord with our teachings”. In another letter written on his behalf in 1948, when racial inequality was enshrined in the laws of many states in the United States, he indicates that there is “no objection at all to the students taking part in something so obviously akin to the spirit of our teachings as a campus demonstration against race prejudice.” Bahá’ís must, therefore, be tireless in addressing, through word and deed, a range of social issues. 1
- Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, editor. “Social Action.” Bahá’í Reference Library, Aug. 2020, 21, https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/compilations/social-action/2#261115975 [return]