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|Gift Economy; response to Jeff from the FB group|
|Topic Started: Jan 26 2012, 12:52 AM (89 Views)|
|Occupy Support||Jan 26 2012, 12:52 AM Post #1|
Occupy may be about the 99%, but The Shift only needs 11%. I'm delighted to be seen by you, Jeff Joslin. You are correct; I think our systems are beyond repair or reform. In fact, I think our systems were wrong-headed to begin with. They depend on unlimited material growth in a world of limited material resources, so transactions of all kinds are based on a zero-sum game. Win-lose.
And there's a part of me that feels a lot of urgency to have something to fall back on as the impact of the tidal wave of economic collapse that is already drowning most of the world's population is increasingly felt within the domination systems themselves. And that urgency has me just a tad resentful about the amount of energy that's being diverted from (what I see as) the real work into propping up those systems. Beating a dead horse. Beating a bloody battlefield of dead horses.
It's interesting that we've zeroed in on gift economy because that seems to be a notion that's captured the energy and the imagination of the 11%. If you look around, you will find that gift economy is already alive and well and successfully supporting diverse sectors of the overall economy for the 11%, if not totally replacing them, e.g. couchsurfing/hosting (hospitality industry), food not bombs (supermarket/restaurant industries), "stealing" (instead of lending) libraries (media/publication industries), seed banks (agribusiness), urban homesteads (real estate development)....
It's not like we'll go to bed one night with a capitalist economy and centralized government and wake up the next day in a world where communities are as important to everyone as nation-states are to patriots, and everybody shares what they have and takes what they need and there's enough for everyone. I just ask that you support existing gift economies where you find them and raise awareness of how they could function where you don't find them (yet). Because we can't create what we can't imagine and articulate together.
|Jeff Joslin||Feb 7 2012, 06:32 AM Post #2|
Thanks for the continued conversation.
First of all, I am not familiar with the meaning of 11%. I am assuming that if 11% adopt something then that something is well on its way to widespread adoption. Is that it? In reading your use of the term, I think there is more. You seem to think this 11% has already been attained around something related to this discussion.
I had my first experience of gift economy with Catherine Caddin and Jesse Wiens about 2 years ago. I was doubtful when I first heard of the idea, but tried to stay open to the possibility and participated in their request to use this model in a mutual meeting of needs between us. It worked out well for all, I think.
I can see it working on a limited basis but have little expectation of widespread use. In fact, my admittedly limited imagination thinks of widespread use as an effort to adopt a theory with little practical support proving it works.
What I also react to is your use of terminology that labels the current system as "win-lose" and "domination systems." I can see how someone might judge transactions this way just as I see thousands of traditional transactions as "win-win." Isn't all about how we view and treat one another?
Like you, I also am concerned about limited resources in this world. I think society is on a collision course with the finite. But growth comes in many forms and renewable resources and decreased populations coupled with a more compassionate world is also a possibility that in my mind is more likely to address these limitations than is a complete and total change of the systems we use.
Your terminology of "communities that are important to one another" is a mindset. It is a mindset I appreciate and hope for. But just as the change of racist laws during in the 1960's did not eradicate racism, I don't see adopting an new and unknown system will cause a profound shift of attitude.
I appreciate the dialogue. Like you, I too want a shift in direction that would enable more compassion and connection in our society. How to do it will be an ongoing struggle I look forward to participating in.
|Occupy Support||Feb 8 2012, 10:44 PM Post #3|
The 11%. The tipping point. Critical mass. The Hundredth Monkey. The number is arbitrary. Just like the 99%. It might be 8% or 15%. It's as you said - an allusion to what a relatively small percentage of a population it takes to create change. I picked 11% because it's a factor of 99%. What got me started on this is how uncomfortable I found myself in chanting my identification with this hyper-majority. It must have been part of my annual Black Friday revulsion of the soul.
As for proving that gift economy works, I don't see that as a meaningful criterion when you consider how well the capitalist/cash economy works! And I can't speak to large-scale use. I can only do what I can do, and that means supporting gift economies (plural) wherever I find them. Really Free Markets. Food Not Bombs. Cafe Gratitude. WOOFing. Book swaps. I'm trying to only mention ones I haven't talked about yet in this venue.
If gift economy didn't work, those of us who are being squeezed out of the cash economy would be dead by now. Nobody's talking about a complete and total change from capitalist/cash economy to gift economy any more than we could talk about a complete and total change from retributive justice and the prison industry to community-owned restorative justice systems. In both cases, it's not a matter of if or even when but more a matter of how. Because it's now. Again, I refer you to Charles Eisenstein.
I don't see how you can have one without the other.
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