The 2007 market collapse has had a huge impact on jobless rates in Spain. While Spanish labor laws help protect older workers, unemployment rates are on the rise.
“Today, workers 16 to 24 face an astronomical 53.3% unemployment rate. For 25- to 34-year-olds, the rate is 27%.” Without a means for income, Spanish youth are looking for other ways to pay for things. One growing trend is the formation of time banks, which allow people to trade their labor for other goods and services.
…All over Spain, merchants as well as individuals are taking advantage time banks. There are now over 290 such banks. In the Catalonia region, several businesses and town governments have started accepting an invented currency—the Eco—that is backed by hours of labor. Individuals are trading cooking lessons and fresh produce for car rides and legal services. While time banks may not be a permanent solution to the stability of the Spanish economy, they can provide the jobless with a way to sustain themselves.
It is shocking, the extent to which the financial system is breaking down for ordinary people. Reading this in the context of last week’s coverage of young, educated Greeks dropping out of modern society and forming collective subsistence farms just compounds the grimness. [Update] not to mention Portuguese students emigrating to ANGOLA (!) to improve their economic opportunities.[/update]
We’re not talking about Amazon tribes or Kalahari bushmen: this is what “the future is here, it is just unevenly distributed” looks like at the ground level.