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OpenTrader Local Exchange - What is an 'Hour' or 'Time Dollar'?

What is an 'Hour' or 'Time Dollar'?

Our local currency is based on a unit of time, referred to as either an 'hour' or 'time dollar'. This seems to beg the question - is all work paid at the same rate?

Local currency systems are a form of trade economy, and as such are primarily cooperative in nature rather than competitive. In that respect they are naturally more egalitarian than the regular economy. The Time Dollar Institute uses the term 'co-production' to refer to work done in time-dollar-based systems. Co-production means that everyone's work is important, and no one's work is to be devalued (for more information see here).

However, we do not have a strict hour-for-hour equivalence in OpenTrader. While much of the work done in the OpenTrader Exchange is paid at a rate of one hour per hour, much of it is not. It is common for those offering professional or technical services to charge 2 hours per hour and in rarer cases, 3 hours per hour. This reflects the general economy and recognizes the investment in skills that professional and technical work require.

While it is currently unusual in OpenTrader to charge more than 3 hours per hour, members can and do charge whatever rates they choose. It is a good idea to ask about someone's rates before making an exchange. We also recommend if you will be charging more than 3 hours per hour that you make this clear in advance.

It also needs to be recognized that overhead costs for some services can be substantial. Costs such as office rental, travel, research, support personnel, and insurance can make it necessary for someone to charge much higher than 3 hours per hour, even though the actual 'take home' value of that service may only be 2 hours per hour. We encourage members to include overhead in the rates they charge, and to just try to be fair and reasonable in their analysis of those costs. Sometimes this may mean that a member will charge partly in local currency and partly in national currency (dollars) to cover overhead.