While I could re-write this to make the sentences simpler, I want to post this draft anyway for those who would enjoy reading it as it is.
I just watched this video, proposing a kind of Radical Abudance:
Basically, in light of the internet culture of peer-to-peer sharing, the speaker criticizes currency-monopolies. It’s not just the FIAT system he criticizes; it’s not the only currency monopoly out there. He also criticizes (for example) Google indexing, which monopolizes page listings and public site visibility. He also criticizes abuses of the “free” distribution approach (the reaction to monopoly), because in some cases individual labor is not respected, acknowledged or rewarded.
He proposes instead that we learn to respect and value labor, and learn to exchange value for value.
Now I find value-exchange an interesting line of inquiry because it helps to –
1.) free us from monopoly controlled interests (ex: money loaned at interest)
2.) allow us the community-building and relationship-building (community strengthening) opportunity of peer-to-peer sharing
3.) triple the bottom line while it helps everyone to grow more abundant – fluid resources and fluid relationships not only meet needs, but also result in overall sense of well-being, safety, cooperation, resiliency and interconnectedness for all involved, instead of the current climate of self-defensive agendas, hoarding, career fear and corporate distrust.
In short, the speaker proposes value-exchange, respect for labor and local currencies over monopoly-owned currencies.
However, learning to exchange value for value also comes with its challenges. Specifically, this paradigm challenges us to come up with reliable ways of determining value. Barter is notorious for abuse. How do I determine how many eggs equal a goat in value? What happens when Chris gives Sam a pound of food for one egg, but last week only gave me 1/2 a pound of food for one egg? Time banking is no better. What do I do when I gave an hour of good lawn-mowing to a neighbor, who in exchange gave me an hour of shoddy house painting that I had to re-do? Exchange paradigms continually suffer the “fairness” issue. One benefit of symbolic currency is that it gives the illusion of fairness. Prices are set externally, and we agree to the value or not through our purchasing. How might we stabilize value-exchange without resorting to a symbolic currency?
Finally, any form of exchange lends itself to scarcity and manipulation problems. What happens when demand overrides supply, as in the case of a drought year where crop production is low? What happens when a negotiator lies or otherwise manipulates a negotiation to inflate – or deflate – the value of a good or service? Given the subjective, emotional nature of value perception, how do we reject emotional manipulation and real or false scarcity-propaganda so that we maintain a pure system rooted in a consciousness of abundance?
Personally, the only system I’ve ever seen that transcends the negative issues inherent with the “exchange” paradigm is the system of pure gift economy.
In gift economy, people give for the sake of giving, in a culture rich with abundant giving. Some systems create the culture by crediting givers with points that make their generosity transparent, which results in social capital; individuals are seen in terms of their generosity. (For more info about gift economy here’s a Gift Economy FAQ, which I wrote while attempting to launch a gift economy cooperative.)
Gift economy breeds generosity of spirit, fluid resources, relationship development, and better yet – it frees us from the whole argument inherent with “exchange” and “fairness”. I give out of my joy, not because it is a fair exchange. When enough people give, what goes around comes around and there’s plenty for everyone – fluidly and with ease. The focus shifts from fairness to generosity. Takers are made transparent and if needed rejected from communities for not playing in the spirit of the community (the spirit of gift economy is to Gift, and every gift and every gifter is valued).
Gift economy, therefore, also entirely avoids the complicated abuses and manipulations rooted in scarcity stories. Individuals can respond to requests, therefore each new request creates an opportunity for a newly abundant offer, product or service.
There are numerous other benefits to gift economy. When asked to gift, some people are met with the self-limiting, self-belittling blindness that says, “I have nothing to give.” This response reveals a crisis of imagination and self-acknowledgement rather than a lack of resources. Everyone has things to give. Hugs. Time to give someone companionship they need. Care. Creative projects. Love. What do you love to do but tell yourself you don’t have time or energy to do? When we live from our loves, we find a tremendous abundance of energy.
When the illusion of personal lack is addressed, the person is liberated into resourcefulness and into the truth that, “I am an abundant being with lots to give.” For us to move into a culture of abundance, we each need to realize our personal abundance.
Personal abundance is a gift that keeps giving. When we discover the abundance we each have to give, we each discover the truthful experience that, “I am of value to my community.” This is a radical departure from the corporate-propagated fear-inducing slogan, “You are replaceable. Do what you’re told or we will find someone who will.” Realizing personal abundance is empowering and liberating.
Gift economy also strengthens personal responsibility. For gift economy to meet needs, individuals are tasked to make clear requests around their needs and to learn that 10,000 strategies can feed any given need. These realizations, in turn, define and facilitate the consciousness of abundance.
With all of the value a gift economy delivers, especially in the age of open-sourcing and internet peer-to-peer sharing, the movement to gift economy is a natural next step. We just need to emotionally support the late adopters who fearfully depend on the status quo and feel threatened by change. Through the heart-opening impact of this support, they too will feel moved to gift others.
In short, gift economy is the gift that keeps giving.
So how might we, in our daily lives and business practices, integrate actions that foster a consciousness of giving, and evolve away from the fear of scarcity that leads to the “have to get for me and mine” mentality?
If half the people in our country took 1 action each week in gifting, it would transform our planet.
What could you do to discover in yourself and give in order to foster radical abundance?