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To Build Community, an Economy of Gifts by Charles Eisenstein

To Build Community, an Economy of Gifts by Charles Eisenstein
For a multitude of reasons, we need to need each other. posted Dec 27, 2011 Wherever I go and ask people what is missing from their lives, the most common answer (if they are not impoverished or seriously ill) is "community." What happened to community, and why don't we have it any more? More directly posed: community is nearly impossible in a highly monetized society like our own. In former times, people depended for all of life's necessities and pleasures on people they knew personally. Because people in gift culture pass on their surplus rather than accumulating it, your good fortune is my good fortune: more for you is more for me. That is one reason for the universally recognized superficiality of most social gatherings. To forge community then, we must do more than simply get people together. Community is woven from gifts. The less we use money, the less time we need to spend earning it, and the more time we have to contribute to the gift economy, and then receive from it. Related:  Gift economyvickyscogin

Examining Gift Economies I recently discovered Eric S. Raymond’s insightful examination of hacker culture Homesteading the Noosphere and found many parallels between the issues I have been writing about (particularly here and here) and ESR’s characterization of hackers as participants in a gift economy. Per wikipedia: In the social sciences, a gift economy (or gift culture) is a society where valuable goods and servicesare regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards (i.e. no formal quid pro quo exists).[1] Ideally, simultaneous or recurring giving serves to circulate and redistribute valuables within the community. As ESR’s analysis exemplifies, most gift economies exist in small scale societies or as subcultures within a larger transactional economy. Information is particularly suited to gift economies, as information is a nonrival good and can be gifted at practically no cost. Gift cultures are adaptations not to scarcity but to abundance. photo courtesy of lrargerich

Giftegrity GIFTegrity is a software that allows to organise the gift economy and non-reciprocal exchange, produced by Timothy Wilken and friends at Since it is somewhat complex to explain we start with a indirect citation, followed by the explanation by Dr. Wilken. All citations are from Synergic Economist Wayne F. “My concept and understanding of the GIFTegrity is one of a radical move away from trade-oriented or materialistic sort of exchange. Barter and monetary economies both tie together giving and receiving. The GIFTegrity does this by creating transparency, i.e., by creating good information on the SEPARATE giving and receiving actions of all members of the gifting tensegrity. I see the GIFTegrity bringing the exchange relationships of a living organism to human society. It is my understanding that, in the GIFTegrity, I do not make any commitment to giving in advance. Timothy Wilken explains:

Why the Gift Economy Will Grow Unnoticed I am finding myself increasingly surprised and dismayed at proponents of alternative currency who propose and promote systems that fundamentally offer very little change from our current system. In most cases these “alternatives” are simply non-governmental versions of the same transactional-scarcity model. The majority of innovation occurring currently is in inherently abundant informational goods and there is an intrinsic incompatibility between scarce transactional currency and abundant goods. This creates a ripe opportunity for a new model of value accounting that is itself abundance based. I was therefore quite pleased to find two recent posts by Alan Rosenblith arguing for this same re-conception of currency. What’s most important about this new mode of production is that it is NOT about the quid-pro-quo, something-for-something social contract. I agree wholeheartedly, right down to the final comment that this shift is inevitable. photo courtesy of seier+seier

Comment l’économie du partage crée du lien social Alors que les échanges marchands créent de plus en plus d'exclusion sociale et de défiance, l'économie du partage, par le don, transforme les relations grâce à la reconnaissance et l'inter-dépendance. Le XXème siècle aura été incontestablement celui de l’échange marchand. Jamais l’humanité n’avait autant commercé, exporté, importé. Jamais les transactions n’avaient été aussi simples et rapides. Le volume du commerce mondial a triplé depuis la chute du mur de Berlin et a connu une croissance presque exponentielle [en] jusqu’à la crise économique de 2008. Bizarrement, alors que les hommes entraient toujours plus en interaction et devenaient toujours plus dépendants les uns des autres, ce XXème siècle aura connu un immense délitement des structures sociales traditionnelles sans création d’autres structures alternatives efficaces. Quand l’échange marchand abolit la relation Frédéric Laupiès, Leçon philosophique sur l’échange Don et contre-don Vers de nouvelles civilisations ? Photos flickr

37 ways to join the Gift Economy You don't have to participate in a local currency or service exchange to be part of the cooperative gift economy. Any time you do a favor for a family member, neighbor, colleague, or stranger you're part of it. Here are some ways you can spend time in the gift economy, where you'll find fun, freedom, and connection. posted Jun 30, 1997 Start a dinner co-op. This article was published in the Spring 1997 issue of YES! Comment on this articleHow to add a comment – Commenting Policy A collaborative directory of the cooperative + solidarity + new economy Genuine Gifting Circles vs. the Monetization of the Gift: a warning on the Women’s Gifting Circles pyramid scheme Do you really want to step into abundance and gift? Then do something that offers no direct path to return, something about which you can honestly say, “I’m doing this because it is my pleasure to give,” rather than, “I’m doing this so I will get even more back.” You might end up with more back after all, but if so it will come via mysterious paths. Republished from Charles Eisenstein: “One aspect of the monetization of life that is proceeding nearly to totality in our time is that someone finds a way to commoditize nearly any movement or concept, even those that were explicitly anti-commercial in their conception. The monetization of everything is profoundly dispiriting, because it reinforces the suspicion that, in the end, “It’s all about the money.” The concept of gifting, and the spiritual value of generosity, is not exempt from cooptation in the service of profit. Related motives might include: * A desire for absolution from selfish or greedy behavior;

Gift Currency A new project called datti is offering a way to build gift economies on a community level by witnessing and memorializing gift transactions using beautiful, pewter coins. Inspired in part by the work of Charles Eisenstein, the creators of the datti have designed a special pewter coin that functions like “money in reverse,” or as a pay-it-forward token, inspiring future gifts to flow in all directions. The organizers explain it like this: If a person gathers a bag of food from her vegetable garden and gives it to you as a gift, along with this gift she may give you a datti. In order to help spread the reach of this special currency, the datti organizers are currently offering to provide a mold and instructions to anyone interested in making coins. The Datti Project is also looking for interested parties with coding skills to help build an electronic mutual “gift-credit” clearing system based on the datti, integrated with Chrome/Google+/Facebook.

COULD ICELAND LEAD THE WAY TO A MONEYLESS ECONOMY? Iceland could become the world’s first moneyless economy according to Irishman Colin Turner, founder of the Free World Charter (FWC), who has started a campaign to promote the idea of a resource based economy on the North Atlantic island. Colin, who founded the FWC in 2011 and has already attracted almost 50,000 signatories from over 200 nations, believes that the self-sufficient nature of the Icelandic economy would make it a perfect candidate for a radical shift away from traditional capitalism. The campaign is already garnering support from prominent Icelandic individuals and organisations as Colin explained: “So why Iceland? It’s an island that could easily become fully self-sufficient in terms of energy and food. “The country also has a long history of pioneering and democratic developments such as the first recorded parliamentary system that dates back to 930AD.” “It’s not just about money of course.

Demander inconditionnellement L’expérience m’a appris que quand une personne entre dans l’économie du don, la plupart des gens pensent que cette personne devrait demander uniquement ce qui sert ses besoins basiques de survie. Au-delà de cette ligne, on entre dans le futile ou le trop demander. Cette façon de penser démasque un conditionnement de plus issu de la société de l’économie de marché. L’économie de marché se construit à partir d’une tension entre chaque partie, où chacun essaie d’obtenir le meilleur des autres. Pour un produit ou un service donné, le vendeur essaie de réaliser la plus haute marge possible avec un investissement le plus bas possible, alors que l’acheteur vise le prix le plus bas tout en recherchant les plus hauts avantages. Autre aspect fondamental : l’économie de marché implique que l’on ne donne pas sans contrepartie. Jetons donc un coup d’œil à l’économie du don. Ainsi, dans l’économie du don, un don réel implique l’absence de toute dette cachée, j’insiste là-dessus.

Welcome to the Gifting Earth | The End of the Capitalist Era, and What Comes Next | Jeremy Rifkin The capitalist era is passing... not quickly, but inevitably. A new economic paradigm — the Collaborative Commons — is rising in its wake that will transform our way of life. We are already witnessing the emergence of a hybrid economy, part capitalist market and part Collaborative Commons. Although the indicators of the great transformation to a new economic system are still soft and largely anecdotal, the Collaborative Commons is ascendant and, by 2050, it will likely settle in as the primary arbiter of economic life in most of the world. What’s undermining the capitalist system is the dramatic success of the very operating assumptions that govern it. The near zero marginal cost phenomenon has already wreaked havoc on the entertainment, communications, and publishing industries, as more and more information is being made available nearly free to billions of people. The reluctance to come to grips with near zero marginal cost is understandable.

Marie Goodwin on How to Run a Business in the Gift Economy | P2P Foundation Reposted from Shareable magazine, Marie Goodwin talks about the challenges and rewards of exploring the gift economy. Maybe this is you: you’ve been working for a while on your own, making a little bit of money, maybe a lot of money. But something doesn’t feel right. Or, maybe you are thinking about starting a small business on the side: selling kimchi or pickles or vanilla elixirs at the holiday market in town this year. Gift economics can help solve these nagging feelings that linger around the corners of for-profit businesses. In this way, people get their needs for food, water, shelter, clothing, and luxuries met. More and more people are turning to doing business “in the gift” as a way to help them feel more authentic in their business relationships and bridge the friend/client divide. Gifting Does Not Equal Free If you are confusing those words, stop! Accepting Money is Not “Gift-washing” Be Ready to Explain Gifting to Your Clients Serve Your Clients Deeply Read Up on Gift Economics