New Membership Dues
A Message from Francis Ayley (President)

October 2010.

Many of our members are experiencing financial hardship during the present Global Financial and economic crises, so we are modifying our membership dues. A one year membership and a one year renewal is now $25. Any payment above this minimum is discretionary. We ask that new members and renewing members who can afford to pay more than this minimum please consider doing so. You will be supporting the development of a viable alternative economic model, which is desperately needed in these times. You may contribute $10, $20 or more above the minimum $25. The choice is yours.

Life Dollars are a powerful solution to the economic crises we are experiencing. Potentially, Life Dollars can replace our dysfunctional bank issued monetary system with a cooperative economy. Life Dollars are now providing the means for hundreds of our members to mutually exchange their goods and services within a cooperative economic environment.

Members may now purchase
Life Dollars with national currency (USD).

November 2008.

Members may now buy a small number of Life Dollars with US dollars. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please contact us.

Fourth Corner Exchange honors
Olympia WA 'Sound Hours'

September 2008.

Fourth Corner Exchange is now honoring Sound Hours. You can exchange your Sound Hours for Life Dollars at a one for one exchange rate, if you become a Fourth Corner Exchange member. We have exchanged 70 Sound Hours for Life Dollars to date. Do you have Sound Hours you cannot spend? Trade them in for Life Dollars by joining Fourth Corner Exchange and we will credit you with Life dollars to the same value, hour for hour. Many people have Sound Hours which they cannot easily spend, as Sound Hours trading activity has declined.

Sound Hours were founded in Olympia WA, in December 1996. Approximately 2,400 Sound Hours (valued at $24,000) have been issued. Organized by Sustainable Community Roundtable, supported by worker-owned and operated collective food co-op, social change grantmaker (which provided seed money), and current and former students of The Evergreen State College.

This is the first collaboration between Fourth Corner Exchange and another alternative currency and sets a new precedent in this area.

Announcing a new name for our currency

May 19th, 2008.

A new name for Fourth Corner Exchange currency was unveiled at the member potluck in Bellingham last night, to general acclaim. For some time now, the management team has been searching for a new name for our Fourth Corner Exchange currency. 'Time Dollars,' the currency name which we borrowed from the Time Dollar Institute in Washington, DC, was a good working name for us at first. The 'dollar' is recognized worldwide as a unit of exchange: Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Fiji, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, as well as numerous Caribbean countries all use the 'dollar' as their unit of currency. 'Time Dollar' communicated our identity as a time-based currency, and had a history of use in this country, and was somewhat familiar to many people as an alternative medium of exchange, so it seemed a reasonable name to adopt.

However, there has always been a difference between our currency and the Time Dollar Institute/Time Banks currencies: we do not require a strict one-hour-for-one-hour trading basis. We recognize that many other hours are often spent in order to provide a service, in addition to the hour of the service itself. Time spend in specialist training, supervision, self-care, preparation, education, professional licensing requirements, or dealing with staff, premises, overheads, or specialist equipment are just some of the investments that people make in order to be there for the people they serve. There are also differences in the amount of concentration, focus, mental discipline, skill, and state of mind that different work requires. The quality, artistry, and fine workmanship of a finished product also has a value, one which may be perceived as being additional to the hours spent to construct it. We have held from the beginning that to be viable, a currency system must be able to take these possibilities into account, otherwise it will be inherently limited in its success.

As we have grown and developed, we have come to realize that Fourth Corner Exchange is doing something quite unique in the world. Although our roots lie in the local currency movement, we are not a local currency. We are a community currency, one without fixed geographic limitations, based on abundance, goodwill, and community connections. As such, we are uniquely placed to offer a genuine alternative to the severe dysfunctions of our current monetary system, and to contribute to solving much larger societal and collective issues than is possible for a locally limited trading system.

In recognizing our uniqueness, we gradually came to consider a change in our currency's name, one which would better reflect our distinctive identity. Recently, we have been experimenting with the name 'terra dollars.' However, we received too many reports of people mistaking this name for 'terror dollars' for us to feel entirely comfortable with it!

And so the search continued. Eventually the name 'life dollars' emerged during a brainstorming session, and the more we contemplated it, the more it seemed to reflect exactly what Fourth Corner Exchange is about: a universal medium of exchange that brings, enhances and supports LIFE, designed to build wholeness, community and healthy relationships, based in goodwill, providing abundantly for the needs of the people, and working for the common good. There is a quality of life-affirming energy in the phrase 'life dollars,' which also beautifully complements what we are working to achieve. Life Dollars: simple, unique, memorable, and universal, and affirming of the life-enhancing work our organization seeks to contribute to the world.