Cash is not the only way to run an economy

    DEXTER — About 20 local people attended the Feb. 1 version of the monthly First Friday Discussions at the Abbott Memorial Library, sponsored by the Dexter Dover Area Towns in Transition (DDATT).


    Carol Feurtado, a Dexter resident and member of the Dexter Historical Society, began the evening with a short description of commerce throughout the town’s nearly 200 years of existence. The first struggling young farming families shared their skills to make ends meet, then gradually as crops began to grow and more people moved in, various methods of trading became common, culminating in the eventual dominance of the federal dollar and the monetary banking system that is in use today (in 1868 the first bank in town was founded).

    The idea of a time bank was then explained by Pat Myers of Dover-Foxcroft. It’s a community service network, of neighbors helping neighbors, where everyone’s time is equal, an hour for an hour. He is in the midst of creating a time bank in the Dover Foxcroft/Dexter area called JackDoesThat!, the motto of which might be “We do have what we need if we use what we have.” Everyone has something to offer and something they need.

    A robust discussion followed these presentations. One recurring observation was the difficulty of trying to envision using hours instead of dollars to trade for services. Myers noted that a cash economy is based on scarcity (that there’s only a limited amount of dollars that people have), but an hour economy is based on abundance (that everyone has as much time as everyone else).

    The concept of creating a local currency to be used in a town or other relatively small area also got some air time, as another method of keeping locally earned money in locally owned businesses.

    Myers hopes to have JackDoesThat! up and fully running by May. He can be reached at or 564-8377 for more information on time banking.

    The next First Friday discussion will be March 1 on “Local Food Production,” and will be held at the East Sangerville Grange. For more information contact 277-4221 or

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