Tuesday, September 27, 2005

What are Bazungu Bucks?

Those of you who know me know that I'm always full of half-baked ideas. Bazungu Bucks are yet another one.

I will be turning fifty on December 21, 2005. Many friends have marked the occasion of their fiftieth birthdays by holding grand fetes. What a good idea! My child-like imagination turned to: presents. Those of you who know me know that I correspond with a Ugandan whose name is Nathan. My first thought of a gift that would make me really really happy was a computer for Nathan. But then I thought: Why think so small?

Bazungu Bucks is what I've dreamt up as my best birthday present ever.

Most of us are pretty well off, but don't have a lot of money. We don't have a lot of time either, but if the choice is between giving away our money or our time, some of the time giving a little time wins. Bazungu Bucks are a way of keeping track of time given away. You can earn Bazungu Bucks by giving away some of your time in service to African people.

The ways of giving time in service to African people are so numerous that I can't begin to imagine them all. It's up to you to imagine some ways and to tell me about what you do and I'll give you Bazungu Bucks! Visit this blog often for ideas for earning Bazungu Bucks.

Bazungu Bucks are an alternative currency based on a really good idea by Edgar Cahn called Time Dollars. Time Dollars are used by all sorts of organizations. Time Dollars are not barter exactly, but based on the simple premise: one Time Dollar equals one hour of service. Bazungu Bucks are like Time Dollars.

Time Dollars have been around for a while so lots of the pitfalls and limitations have come to light through experience. The good thing about that is that organizations implementing Time Dollar Networks can avoid the pitfalls through good planning. But because I'm the Bazungu Buck banker, my motto is: “Why bother?” What I mean is that there are lots of details I should address, but I'm not going to at this time.

The decision to launch Bazungu Bucks by starting a blog was informed by a similar nonchalance. Computer stuff simply confuses the heck out of me, but without paying too much attention you can still get things up and running.

The cool thing about a blog is that you can leave comments. In fact to get the ball rolling and to begin earning Bazungu Bucks, first-time commentators will receive a Bazungu Buck just for posting. There is so much that can be done to improve things. Be sure to share projects that are doing just that. The Bazungu Bucks blog will be a handy compendium of optimism in action.
If you happened upon this blog by chance, so I don't know you, but you still want your Bazungu Buck for posting a comment; you'll have to drop me an email so I can make an account for you.
At my discretion I'll award Bazungu Bucks for really good subsequent posts.

What are Buzungu Bucks worth?

Well, the short answer is: absolutely nothing. That's right at least so far as the IRS is concerned. There is no court in the land where you can sue to enforce the contract. However Bazungu Bucks are worth what can be done with them. Clearly I'll accept payment in Bazungu Bucks for service or in partial payment for services that I can do for you.

There's no reason that you can't do the same. You may be able to help a person who has a really good idea for providing services to Africans by doing something you do well for them to free up some of their money or time. This informal structure of Bazungu Bucks maybe a fatal pitfall. But there's no reason to let lack of rules hurt you none. Still it's good to keep in mind that Bazungu Bucks are equal to one hour of service, so that's a benchmark for determining the value when you are paying them out to another.

Another way you can spend Bazungu Bucks will be to attend my birthday party on December 17. At the party I'll have ways to redeem your Bazungu Bucks for fun and prizes.

I'll keep the books. When you get around to finding the Bazungu Bucks Blog and post a comment, I'll open an account for you with the fresh new Bazungu Buck you just earned. I'll send semi-frequent statements of your account by email. Sending out paper notes could get a little complicated and expensive. Mostly we'll know each other and I'll get the paper notes to you in the most convient ways I can. I do want you to have paper notes because finding ways of spending them seems like it will spur the entreprenurial spirit of this endeavor.


phil jones said...


On my friend's birthday, I launched my personal credit based currency by giving him 4 notes, each worth one hour of my time, which I'd redeem for (sensible) requests. Currently, he's yet to spend any, but has lent one to another friend of his who may also call on my services.

I'm trying to stimulate, within my small social circle, some exchange of services, which go a little beyond the favours we'd normally do for each other. Not sure how it's going to work out though.

Anonymous said...

Iam Behind you, keep up with that spirit. I wish i was nearer to USA, i could share your barth day with you.