Country, Date of election
Gernot is restoring declining social capital in communities through complementary time-based currency system that strengthen regional economies and solidarity among people.
Population ageing is unprecedented – worldwide the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group. The majority of the elder will be dependent on some sort of long-term care be it home nursing, community care and assisted living or residential care. Current social structures cannot cope with the rapid demographic changes due to the dissolution of traditional social networks, rising care costs, and the shortage of care personnel. In Austria alone, 1.57 million people are above 65 years old. In 2014, the Austrian federal government spent €4.33 billion on elder care.
Gernot fully integrates his alternative elderly care system into conventional social structures by providing local governments and municipalities with improved access to their citizens´ talents and know-how. As a result, political entities recognize citizens not as tax payers but as an inexhaustible source of ideas and skills. This enables partnerships at eye level and citizen-led care services. As a result people start investing their time and talents into rebuilding meaningful social relationships outside their private spheres leading to a new sense of community and the establishment of care structures build upon principles of reciprocity instead of efficiency.
Gernot is restoring declining social capital in communities through complementary time-based currency system that strengthen regional economies and solidarity among people. He has established a complementary “Time Pension System” in St Gallen. It is an alternative elderly care system, which integrates a non-monetary payment system into citizens´ retirement benefit schemes and reduces the burden of care demonstrating how social problems can be solved not only through financial means but by tapping into the abundance of individuals´ time, talent and new forms of cooperation. Currently, Gernot is rolling-out his “Zeitpolster” time pension system throughout Austria.
Driven by the vision to establish economically and financially more sustainable societal structures he develops pilot projects such as the complementary “Time Pension System” to showcase that social problems can be solved not only through financial means but by tapping into the abundance of individuals´ time, talents and new forms of cooperation. He is eager to scale the system further to re-establish a care system that is based on solidarity and reciprocity.
As a young man Gernot started to become interested in the mechanisms of complementary currencies, time banking and talent exchange systems. He was extremely inspired by the power these systems set free through leveraging social capital. However, he also realized that the majority of these initiatives did not unfold their full potential because most of them were driven by ideologies and were not integrated into existing societal structures. Thus, he started to build up expertise and established a close relationship with the Austrian Financial Services Authority in order to legally integrate his talent exchange systems and complementary currencies into existing state structures.