Kuukausittainen arkisto:toukokuu 2013

Money as a Commons


“The Future of Money – Money as a Commons” is what Mary Mellor will be
addressing during a seminar this Thursday co-organised by Helsinki
University Attac, Commons.fi, Pixelache, and Stadin Aikapankki.
Mellor will be talking about taking back the economy to become
sufficient and socially just – which would first of all mean taking
back money to be a commons.

As historian Peter Linebaugh has coined it, there is no Commons
without commoning, which can be described as the social practices of
co-producing and co-governing by a community or network of commoners
of a commons, whilst including the principles of sustainability,
fairness and social control of the users.

Also Stadin Aikapankki’s Tovi’s seem to be all about the practice of
commoning.  Tovi’s can be seen as a currency enabling the exchange of
services (and also goods) on the basis of time. Unlike money’s
features as we know them, Tovi’s are decommodified and subject to an
ongoing process of deliberation by its community of users, as to the
what & how of what is being produced with the Tovi’s.

Like the main principle of Timebanking as internationally known,
Tovi’s are based on the principle of equality and everybody’s needs,
work and time are valued equally. In addition to this, Tovi’s have a
value and principles chart attached to their workings, which
organisations joining aikapankki must be in respect of. The values
refer to principles furthering social and ecological justice, and
actors joining as such are so called for-benefit economic actors
(Michel Bauwens), solidarity economy actors.

Tovi’s exchanged are also subject to a levy (2%). As part of every
transaction, the levy of the seller of a service will be going to his
or her actor of choice in the timebank. The levy of the buyer goes to
the administrative account of Stadin Aikapankki, from where it is used
to renumerate work done for the timebank, or to support members that
need so. Stadin Aikapankki is now in the process of drawing up its
ABC, its comprehensive principles of workings.

Increased practices of commoning as such develop when the solidarity
economy actors joining Stadin Aikapankki exchange Tovi’s with other
members (individuals or actors) in the timebank and develop more
shared practices, and through them different commons. Such has been
happening for instance through the joining of Osuuskauppa Oma Maa and
Herttoniemi ruokaosuuskunta in aikapankki. The objective of the
alliance has been the ethical participatory production of local
organic food, which is also made available against tovi’s. Food as a
commons comes to challenge food as a commodity on global markets.

These increased practices of commoning though the circulation of
Tovi’s, and the tovi levy can also be seen as increasingly opening up
economic actors joining aikapankki, and as such a further
democratizing of economy. In contrast to money, this circulation of
time is making for much more embedded economies, for much more
ownership and closer relations between people and the outcome of their

Whilst the focus of Mary’s lecture will be on taking Money back at
large, I am looking forward to ask what Mary thinks of the trajectory
Stadin Aikapankki is taking, and what its role can be in the taking
back of money and economy.

The seminar The Future of Money – Money as a Commons will be held on
Thursday 16.5.2013 at 16.00 in Mannerheim-sali, Uusi ylioppilastalo,
Mannerheimintie 5 A (5. floor), Helsinki.