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Informal trading systems and currencies

One way in which household time has been valorised is through time bartering and the development of informal currencies. These currencies are distinct from those issued by regional or municipal governments (like the Patacón in Argentina or the Californian IOUs) or those aimed at encouraging particular types of market purchases (like the Totnes pound). The informal currencies and accounting systems act as a standard of account, a medium of circulation and a means of payment.  They create an economy based on direct household time and can serve as alternatives to mainstream currencies when the latter are unstable or non existent.  These generally have an upper limit in terms of size – above which problems of trust and default become a constraint. If they grow too big they also risk encouraging too much attention from tax authorities.  Part of our interest here is that these become platforms for innovation in services.