October 29, 2011

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Time Bank Services create new Greek barter system (VIDEO)

Whether the EU anti-crisis plan is effective or not, for the austerity-hit Greek people a creative solution could be the answer to some of their problems. In a country where cash is in short supply, time has taken on a whole different value. They same time is money, and now it’s being used as a currency in an emerging barter system developed by cash-strapped Greeks who want to swap goods and services. “In the Time Bank we exchange voluntary services. Sometimes I give painting lessons for free but I take yoga for free also,” says Niki Roubani of the Bank of Voluntary Time project. “It’s huge, it’s everything we do without money. It’s looking after people and making things ourselves.”

The Time Bank is just one of a growing number of service-swapping alternatives that are providing people in Greece with an imaginative way to cope with the tough economic conditions.

Tsakalotos Efklidis, an economics professor, says a financial crisis can have terrible and divisive consequences for society. “[It divides] public sector workers from private sector workers, it divides richer workers to poorer workers, immigrant workers from home workers. And that’s a terrible thing,” he said.

For a country in crisis, building social unity can be an uphill struggle. However, the barter networks have proven a great way of bringing together large groups of people. A popular slogan in Greece now is, "No-one's alone in the crisis." (Read More RT)

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