UPDATE: As of Dec 2012, GlobalGiftEconomy.org still needs cooperative collaboration. I can’t do it alone. If you’d like to collaborate on it, please email me at mayagayam at gmail.
ORIGNAL POST FOLLOWS:
As you may or may not know, last week or so I started inviting ecstatic friends to join me in launching an online gift economy hub, and progress is going wonderfully! For more information (or to be included in the conversation) you can click “Like!” on our Facebook Page or you can see the temporary design template at GlobalGiftEconomy.org .
Meanwhile several people have said, “Tell me more.”
So I’m posting this temporary FAQ page until the actual page on the site is created by our group.
Hope you enjoy!
Gift Economy FAQ
(Written by Gail (Maya-G) Taylor. 2012 Creative Commons License - Edited or Unedited copies of this FAQ may be distributed provided that you acknowledge my contribution and include a link back to GlobalGiftEconomy.org)
What is Gift Economy?
Gift Economy is a supplement to our monetary-based economy; for more and more of us it's a living alternative. In a gift economy, each one of us practices gifting. Often. Monthly. Weekly. Daily.
So you mean I give away everything I have?
No, you gift from your extra, and you give from your joy. Receiving is the mate to gifting. Sometimes, you might ask for things you need or want to receive.
So basically it's an exchange?
No, actually. Gift Economy creates an infinite and richly abundant network of circulating goods, services and time available for whoever needs it.
The simple 1-to-1 of exchange, barter, or time-banking is limited in reach and can sometimes result in resentment when one person feels they received less value than they gave.
In a Gift Economy, most of us give more than we need to receive (ex: one gift weekly, no matter how big or small). This creates a wide network - like the Internet - that explodes to a level of circulation and abundance that we couldn't possibly think up, plan or make happen.
Also, unlike a standard monetary economy, Gift Economy produces an upward spiral of freedom. People sharing Gift Economy get to live what they love and give from their excitement instead of working what they "have to do" to gain income.
People are lazy, they won't do that. This won't work.
Actually, proof that people are not lazy is all around you.
Take the Internet for example. If you need some information or need to find something to buy, you go to the 'Net and you find far, far more sources than you ever could have needed. Most of those pages were generated in innumerable hours of effort by people who - UNpaid! - were working from their joy, their interest, and their loves. The result is an overwhelming abundance that provides more than you or any one person could ever need.
This same paradigm is now showing up in all walks of life - in open source technology, in the Creative Commons, in the TED Talks, in time banking, in the Occupy movement, in Freeware, FreeCycle, CouchSurfing, Meetup-groups, local Gift Economy Gifting Circles, KickStarter, cooperatives, the list goes on and on.
More and more of society is realizing this truth:
When we each live from what we enjoy, we are all highly productive, eager, contributing members of society.
Gift Economy already is working. There just hasn't been an online hub like this one until now.
Wait, so I have to come up with something to give every week?
You never "have to" do anything - do because you enjoy it. Weekly gifting helps the network work, so we request it. But gift monthly if you prefer. Or gift Daily if you prefer.
Gifting is easy and fun - simply gift from your extra, and gift from your love. We all have lots to offer. You have far more to offer than you may realize. Just act out of your joy, your sense of play, your delight, or your "calling".
Still stuck? On GlobalGiftEconomy.org you will find a list of gifting ideas. Or gift in response to a request that someone else posted that moves you. Or look at the stories and celebrations written by folks who have gifted or received and find ideas there. Also, when you're a member of GlobalGiftEconomy.org, you'll also have access to weekly gifting "challenges" and ideas; "Missions, should you choose to accept them." You could even make a game between you and your friends to see who can complete the weekly challenge first. 🙂
Isn't this like Marxism or Socialism or Communism? Look at Russia - those systems don't work.
Nope. This is different, and it already is working, you just aren't a part of it yet.
In Gift Economy, private ownership is not lost, you are still free to own whatever you own. Next, unlike other systems, this is not imposed by some government decision - you get to join in if you "get it" and participate, and if you don't want to you get to choose something else you prefer, like the cash-based economy. Next, you don't gift because someone "needs" it and you're obligated or because it's "for the good of all", you gift because you love it, you feel great about it, because you can gift, and because you want to. External demand or urgency is discouraging. Doing what you love is fun and full of delight. Unlike the cash-based economy, this environment gives you the opportunity to live from your delight instead of "have to"s. This increases gifting and perpetually adds more resources to the system. Just think of how energized you are when you're doing things you like to do.
What do you mean "Gifting Is Fun"?
It just is. We get to show off our talents. We get to connect with other amazing people who are heart-ful, playful and talented. We get to contribute and feel valuable. We get to feel wanted and needed. We get to be celebrated and appreciated for our gifts. We get the pleasure of joy when we receive a gift we need. We also get to see others' joy when they get what they need. This is called compersion. Gifting is fun because it's coming out of play, no strings attached, no obligations, no demands.
But if someone else takes a gift that I want, that's less for me.
I hear you're afraid there'll be less for you, but that's not how it actually works. Try this coat on, "It's possible that what I think, is what I get. I'm willing to try a new way of thinking. It's possible that there is a reality that I have not experienced yet because I didn't believe it was possible yet."
In the Gift Economy reality, more for others is more for me. Just gift regularly, then when you need something, ask for what you need and want.
In a Gift Economy environment, we realize that:
- The more we each give from our calling (give from our love), the more everyone has.
- The more everyone else has, the more they have to give, thus the more I get to benefit. Gift Economy benefits me, directly.
- We all live in a naturally infinite, abundant world. When lots of us choose regular action (gifting out of joy), the natural outcome is plenty for everyone - abundance.
Well then, I guess I'll just sit back, take gifts and sponge off the system.
Yeah, that's not going to work. In Gift Economy we look out for each other; we also look out for the whole body. The way we take care of the whole body is through transparency. You get seen and celebrated for your gifting. You also get seen if you're taking lots more than you give.
This transparency means that if your take-to-give ratio starts to grow bigger than your give-to-receive ratio, it'll show up on your profile, and people will be less inclined to give to you. If you gift often, that shows too; we get to see you and celebrate and acknowledge you for your generosity, and your social capital grows. If you're a leech, we see it and your social capital dies. As your social capital dies, your ability to harvest off others' joy will die too. Eventually, if your ratio is in the negative long enough, you will be bumped out of the system, in the same way anti-bodies bump a virus out of a healthy body. This isn't a Take-Economy, it's a Gift-Economy.
We welcome those who contribute to the health of the whole, and we do not support those who contribute to the decline of the whole.
Wait, does that mean my bedridden Grandmother / friend / neighbor can't participate?
Of course they can participate. Anyone who can take gifts from the community has something they can give too. Knowledge, expertise, time, companionship by phone to someone else and writing are just a few ideas.
What if I want to retire and still take gifts? Will I get bumped from the system?
That depends on what social capital you've built as you start taking more support. Even retirees have a lot to give. If you've built a social capital that's high enough, you can receive gifts you need even if you retire or take time off. All the more reason to jump in and start gifting today!
What about old age? What if I get Alzheimer's or something and become physically and mentally unable to gift? Will I get bumped from the system?
For old-age security, remember that community-building and building social capital takes time, and what you put in matters. All the more reason to jump in and start gifting today! Meanwhile, it's also likely that you already have some support from your friends and family; others can ask for support on your behalf, and your family and friends can still provide immediate help to you as they did before your Gift Economy participation.
I'm still afraid this won't support me and my family the way what I do now supports us.
Actually, unlike current US economy failures where social security is dying, pensions are giving way to lay-offs, the top 1% benefit off the work of the many, and hoarding that means that 1% of the world's population lets 95% of the worlds resources sit around stagnating and collecting dust, Gift Economy produces true "social security" and resource circulation.
Once you're in the know, these truths become self-evident:
- The more others get what they need, the more they can give, thus the more of a safety net I have when I need something.
- Like children, when others get what they need, they are naturally more benevolent and giving, and disinclined to harm life; this reduces crime.
- When we all look out for each other we all benefit.
- When there is so much abundance that everyone is taken care of - I get taken care of too.
These dynamics don't surface in a society of scarcity, labor demands and blackmail ("Do it or I'll fire you and find someone who will."), wages that do not cover the cost of living, and the despair, disenfranchisement and distrust that comes from a culture where, "each person looks out for himself".
Where the cash-and-credit economy fails by indebting its members to interest-based obligations that compound over time, benefitting the few while demanding servitude from the many, Gift Economy involves no debt, increases community trust, obsoletes obligation-based power-over structures, and produces true social security, community bonding, individual freedom of choice, freedom from fear instead of hoarding in fear, and it supports Life thriving - abundance for all.
If you're still unsure, do a bit of both. Gift for the fun of it, and see how it goes.
Well I guess that answers my questions.
Great! Then you're welcome to join in the fun and help us create a new world experience - a world that works for everyone, full of easy access to the resources we need to live as we wish.
How do I get started?
We're inviting ecstatic participants to help launch an online Gift Economy hub at GlobalGiftEconomy.org. As of May 25, 2012, the URL has been online just one week. At the end of the month we're doing a conference call toward full site launch. During that call we'll talk more about GlobalGiftEconomy.org and offer folks specific launch and gifting opportunities. Once the site launches, everyone will be welcome to join.
To be included in conference call and launch invitations, please click "Like" on the page at http://facebook.com/GlobalGiftEconomy and we'll connect!
Still not quite clear? You can learn more about Gift Economy at these links:
– Charles Eisenstein’s Brief Overview
– So natural, A 6-yr Old Explains It
– Another culture’s success – Mali’s Example
– How Gift Economy Builds Connection and Community – Charles Eisenstein
– 37 Ways To Join The Gift Economy
Other Great Gift Economy Websites and Links
– http://www.ilovefreegle.org/ – see also, Freecycle in your city in Yahoo Groups
– More Gift Economy Websites
– Time Banking
– CouchSurfers – see also – http://www.couchsurfing.org/
– Women’s Share – see also here.
– Kick Starter – http://kickstarter.com
– Dream Connect Global – Sharing support to help each others’ dreams come true.
Templates for Local In-Person Groups doing Gift Economy
– Charles Eisenstein – http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/to-build-community-an-economy-of-gifts