12 August 2009

The Gift Economy is HUGE

Preparing for a lecture in Lithuania I googled the phrase "spiritual economics". I was shocked to see that more than 170,000 hits were returned!! Ten years ago when I googled the phrase there were no where near that many - several thousand at best. I haven't yet had time to investigate very many of those hits, but I will soon and let you know what I find. But we want to know: What happened? How has the idea of the gift economy become so huge?
Well, on the negative side in those ten years we had the Bush administration with all of its ill-effects, and 911. On the other hand we had a number of extremely well-researched, well-written and shocking books such as Michel Chossudovsky's "The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order" and Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine". These books certainly have set people to wondering what the positive alternative could be. Catherine Ryan Hyde's book "Pay It Forward" came out in 2000, followed by a movie based on the book, and then entire movement of people who think it is a great idea to help others without being invited have followed. Check out the stories on that last link if you want to find some inspiration for positive living that changes lives. We also had the collosal economic crisis of 2008 - the Economic Chernobyl.  Apparently all of this has set a lot of people thinking about how the economic problem could be solved.
My son, who was studying in Paris several years ago told me that a number of French philosophers were writing about the gift economy as the solution to all of the funny-money business. Ain't that true. NO money, and no money problem.
But besides the philosophers a lot of ordinary people can understand that the gift economy has many, many advantages with very little of the downside that the money economy has. This has shown up in many ways. One of those is the "Really Really Free Market" explained in the video below. The RRFM is going on in at least four cities in America, and we will be doing our best to establish on them in E. Europe.
One gift at a time can lead to an entire economy based on the concept of gifting. Although this may sound utopian to some, its a very practical way to live for others. And it is a much more wonderful way to live. After we get it going and the naysayers see how wonderful it is they will want to join us. Then more will join us, and more, and more. And one day teh entire world "will live as one" to quote one of my favorite singers. Check out this Really Really Free Market. Maybe you will want to start one in your town.