One of the constant problems in society is the lack of funding for children's services. However, solving this problem is never only about money.
Few issues are more heart felt than how to raise children. Communities often consist of people who have arrived in the neighborhood from different locations, at different times in their lives and with philosophies brought from their previous homes. The common ground of raising children properly is seldom a grassy field, but rather, is rough terrain indeed. Lacking agreement on details is the same as lacking agreement entirely, when it comes to money. Although we can all agree that raising children to be happy, healthy and productive members of society is a noble goal, allowing someone else to spend their money on that task is, apparently, very difficult to do. The result of this stalemate is that children's services are chronically under funded.
metaChild Organization is dedicated to assisting parents of young children to focus on the most basic issues affecting their children's futures. Current knowledge rooted in the known effects of timing and environmental stimulation has grown and matured since most adults were themselves children. These new understandings in developmental neurology have caused a reassessment of what children need for healthy growth.
Helping these parents to know what is best according to this new information establishes a viable common ground for setting priorities and determining funding for activities that will lead to a better life.
Although the metaChild value proposition is compelling, even generous funding from traditional sources will fall far short of what is needed. New families are usually at the lowest economic level o their lives, most are not established in their careers, own their homes or able to rely on family and friends for support and, for the majority, just getting by is a struggle. The needs of the infant and small child are without their own voice and must depend on the insight and caring of those few adults familiar with them. The potential is great that these children will experience long term problems rooted in economic hardship.
It does not have to be that way. Few people have skills that can not be made more valuable through the division of labor. Mothering encompasses numerous skills and functions to provide the opportunity for specialization and from specialization comes the efficiency that creates the value that forms the surpluses to better everyone's lives.
Organization required is relatively small, but accounting for the value, not only within the group of mothers, but within society as a whole, that benefit from their efforts to raise healthier and smarter children, is a job that can be well done by a local currency. metaChild Family Hours are part of a resurgent economic technology known as Local Currency. Barter systems, depression-era scrip and other forms of currency have been used in North America during past decades, but Michael Linton created the first modern local currency in Toronto about twenty years ago. The British picked it up and by the end of 1992 there were 40 systems and after two years it had grown to 275 and 350 by
three years later. During that same period Australia, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland put systems into operation. Recent adaptations to this idea have tried to simplify it with direct association to personal labor by using terming the unit of exchange as an Hour. While Linton's system allows new members to create a balance of local currency for themselves (determined by how much obligation they feel they can accommodate) on a local registry, the initial Family Hours system developed by Paul Glover of Ithaca, New York gives one hour of script currency to each new participant who registers by posting in a regularly published paper. All of these systems are intended for general commerce at the local level. metaChild Family Hours will originate with services related to raising children, but their exchange will not be limited to that purpose. Like the Ithaca model each Hour will be valued at Ten US dollars for purposes of labor exchange.
Local currency is traditionally injected into circulation by awarding the equivalent of one hours work for signing up for the program and putting an ad in a monthly paper advertising a service for which you will accept the local currency .
Managing the Family Hours
One feature of the metaChild Family Hour script is that the user signs on the back when transferring or spending the script. When the script accumulates ten signatories it is vested, returned to the Organization and retired, and each of the signatories receives an additional Hour to spend in the system. Each script must have ten different signers and each signature is an affidavit of value received. This encourages exchange and rewards participation.
Each time a member accepts and spends an Hour, their signature means that they will receive another Hour when that Hour is returned to the Organization.
Do the math:
Ten mothers start with one Hour each and trade ten one hour services in a week; each of those scripts is retired and each mother receives ten Family Hours of script, one for each of the scripts that she signed. The original ten Family Hours are replaced by one hundred. In effect the user is paid twice; once for delivering a service and once of participating in the Family Hours exchange program.
The multiplier effect can be controlled by either raising or lowering the reissue value of script as time passes with Hour units eventually reaching the one-tenth level, or paying one US Dollar to each of the signers. The value of encouraging participation goes down when everyone is already involved. It is important for the Organization to maintain the viability of the Hour by protecting its exchange value.
The value of exchange programs depends on the number of people or places that will honor the script. During the introductory period of a script there is a very high value on extending the system to as many producers/consumers as possible. Emphasis is on the recruitment of those providers offering personal services that are needed to enable a child's proper development. Businesses that sell services will be attracted to accept Family Hours if their vendors and/or employees will take them as payment for services.
Only people can participate in the Vested Hour Exchange Program though. Businesses will be able to justify using real money, dollars that are earmarked for marketing and promotion, to buy Family Hours from the Organization or accumulate Family Hours that they might have a difficult time spending. Service based businesses such as entertainment venues with large levels of unsold capacity can benefit by limiting their acceptance to general admission.
The potential economic value to a community from the metaChild Family Hours is great, but the organizing and social value is far greater.
The metaChild Family Hours Program is in development. Interested parties can