="" More Ithaca HOUR Questions Answered
Ithaca HOURS
Community Currency
since 1991
    This website is maintained by the founder of Ithaca HOURS.
The official website of the Ithaca HOURS board of directors is at ithacahours.org
 Paul Glover consults for grassroots economic development as GreenPlanners.

HOUR Questions Answered 

    Is everybody's hour of work worth the same? 

We have been taught to think that teachers should be paid less than bankers, that psychiatrists should be paid more than shoestore clerks, that muscle work is valued less than mental work, that male work is valued more than female work, that black labor is valued less than white labor, that office labor is valued more than home labor.
But we all need each other to make Ithaca function.  Everyone's honest hour of labor has the same dignity.
Most hours of labor are worth ONE HOUR, but some people have rare skills and might want 1.5, 2, 3, 4 or 5 HOURS for their hour of work.  Eventually the Ithaca HOUR list could bring so many skills into the local market that rare skills become less rare, and more affordable.  Even so, a dentist must collect several HOURS each work hour because the dentist and receptionist and assistant are working together, using equipment and materials which they must pay for with dollars.  And someone might want more than an HOUR for one hour of tough ditch-digging.
Ask for what you think you deserve, then give good service. 

America is discovering that poor people don't fall through the cracks and disappear.  They come back with guns.  This nation cannot buy enough police and prisons to control the frustration of people who are unable honorably to feed their families.  The HOUR is fair pay that repairs society.
What gives HOURS their value?
All money gets its value from agreement to give it value.  Since 1991 we've very gradually and carefully expanded the number of HOURS circulating, so that tens of thousands of trades with HOURS have proven their usefulness.

Can we use dollars and HOURS together? 
Yes.  For example, for a doll priced at $15.00 you might pay ONE HOUR + $5.00, or a HALF HOUR plus $10.00.
Why do many businesses take HOURS for part of the price instead of full price? 
While most people accept HOURS for the full price of goods and services, and 100 businesses also do, most of the 350 HOUR businesses accept HOURS for part of the price because:
* they have many more customers-- especially grocery stores-- so they need to spread their HOUR earnings among more people.
* they have high dollar overhead so need to accept HOURS well within their profit margin.
* they are new to the HOUR system and so need time to learn to spend HOURS for business and personal needs.  We have seen many businesses expand their HOUR acceptance rate as they discover that they can get nearly everything they need with HOURS and that HOURS are a good business promotion.  As a customer, you can help them by offering to accept HOURS as change, by telling them what work you do for HOURS, and offering to work for them.

How do I control how many HOURS I earn? 
You're always in full control of how many HOURS you accept per purchase,
and can change the rate at any time.  The biggest purchases so far have been 150 HOURS ($1,500) and 100 HOURS ($1,000) for carpentry jobs, 90 HOURS ($900) for a computer, and so on.  Call us and we'll help you explore the list to find what you need.

Who signs the HOUR notes? 

HOURS have been signed by an historic preservationist, two credit union employees, two grocery workers, a Methodist minister, a local DJ, the director of a community center, a librarian, a union steward and a peace activist.

How are they protected against counterfeit? 

Several of the notes use special handmade paper, two of the notes use thermal ink which disappears briefly when touched or photocopied.  The Tompkins Count D.A. has said that counterfeiting HOURS would be forgery of a financial instrument, punishable by up to 7 years in jail.

Who decides how HOURS are issued? 

Policy is discussed both by the Advisory Board and the Barter Potlucks.  The Barter Potluck meets monthly and has final decision-making authority.  Anyone on the HOUR Town list can vote!  Presently, most HOURS are issued to those who sign up, and renew listings.  Eleven percent of HOURS are issued through community organizations
(40 groups so far), plus 25% percent of the value of HOUR loans repaid.  Five percent of HOURS may be outstanding as loans.  Five percent of HOURS may be issued to the HOUR system itself.

Where are records of the HOUR system kept? 
Records of disbursements of HOURS are kept both at the HOUR office,