The Gift Economy
Everyone from politicians to journalists and economists like to conflate words relating with finance with words relating to economy. You thought the were the same thing, right? That's OK, so did I. But they're not the same thing. I wish I could say this conflation occured from utter stupidity, but my suspicion is that it has been a long and relentless campaign by the corporatocracy (read John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman) to ensure that people can't even think of an economic model that isn't money based.
This is most apparent when I hear businesspeople and political leaders telling us something isn't economically viable, such as leaving the rainforest as a rainforest or giving a living wage to the people who make the stuff we use within an economic system we forced them into. An economic system is really only a method of managing all that we have been gifted as wisely as possible, not just for humans but for all the family of life. If we destroy our ecologies, there are no economies.
The way people talk of The Economy, you'd swear it was life's Holy Grail. When did happiness, intergrity, fulfilment, fun, honour, respect, love, courage, craftsmanship and connection stop becoming the most important things for us in our lives?
The money based economy is only one form of economy. And it's a terrible one. There are other forms to choose from. My favourite, as you may know, is The Gift Economy.
Ideally, this would be 100% localised, with the gifts flowing from local Nature through local people. It would involve local permaculture, crafts, foraging, feasting, music, dance, storytelling all produced by the people of an area, for the people of an area. People participating in life, not just consuming life.
But we're a million miles from there, so for now we can start by at least restoring the spirit of The Gift Economy, even if it is not fully localised for now. That will happen as global crises converge - unfortunately it will, most likely, be forced on many rather than voluntarily chosen by them. Their loss.
So I propose a new economic and political system that can be used right now (without having to go to the polls to elect a different shade of the corporatocracy in): The Gift Economy.
The good news about this system is that there are no leaders required, just tools and models that people can use to organise things themselves, from the bottom up. Like the current political and economic models, I'll break this down into departments.
The Department of Resources
Many of you seem to use Freeconomy for this now. Which is fine and I've no problem with that, but there are projects out there better set-up to deal with this.
The obvious are Freecycle and Freegle (the latter was set-up because of silly admin issues with Freecylce HQ). With both, find your local group, join it, and then post any items you want to give away, or ask members for stuff you need. For other ways, there is now the likes of LetsAllShare and Ecomodo.
For items such as books, use ReaditSwapit or better still set up a local book-swapping evening. For clothes, again, set up a local clothes swapping evening, I know many people who've done this very successfully by running clothes swapping parties at their house or a free venue.
The Department of Transport
In the ideal world, the Dept. of Transport would encourage people to work where they live, helping produce what little their communities need off the land they live on. Therefore walking would be the transport of choice. Rambling really is the best pace of life.
Again, everyone walking everywhere is not exactly going to happen this year. So next up the ladder of unsustainability is bicycles. Use the Sustrans network of cycle tracks, and use punctureless tyres. If for whatever reason you don't want to cycle (i.e. you're lazy, you're scared, you don't give a shit about fossil fuel use or wars in the Middle East or climate change, you have children who need to be protected from The Dangerous World) there are many other options. Before anyone gets all worked up, I'm joking. Actually I'm not. Stop making excuses and cycle.
Like hitching. But again, hitching is very dangerous, at least one person worldwide every 15-20 years has a nervy experience with it, and the media rightly blow it out of all proportion. So again, there are more options.
Set up a FreeBus like these wonderful people in Bristol. If that sounds like a little bit too much hassle to have to do (instead on being something incredibly inspiring, which it is), then use Blablacar, Liftshare, Mylifts, Freewheelers or National Car Share, depending on which one best meets your needs at this point in time.
Whichever you choose, you will save money, you will save resources, you will meet new friends, you will limit your negative impact, and you'll maximise your positive impact.
The Department of Skills, Labour and Knowledge
I'm not going to ramble on here - if for some reason you read this blog but still aren't a member of Freeconomy, then just join and stop being an ass. You get to meet like-minded people, get help with things for free, learn skills, and get access to a huge database of tools you can borrow. You can offer all of the above yourself too, if you want to be nice. There is also the forum if you want to tap into the knowledge of people outside your own local radius.
In Bristol the local group organises a free weekly skillsharing event called Freeskilling. The teachers teach for free, the venue hosts for free, the organisers organise for free, the people learn for free. Simple. Here is the programme for Freeskilling in Bristol this month, for example.
The reason I founded Freeconomy was because it didn't already exist. I'm not into reinventing the wheel. All other alternative economies were still based on the dogma of exchange, whereas I felt that unconditonal giving, doing things just-for-the-love-of-it with no formal exchange, was a much more loving and uplifting way to be on this earth.
But if you want to persist with exchange, there are other options. LETS and Timebanks just to name two. But really - just join Freeconomy. Its in over 160 countries now, with 25,000 members in the UK alone, so there is a large database of great people with useful skills, tools, knowledge and free spaces instantly at your fingertips, waiting to help you, get to know you, and be helped by you.
The Department of Housing and Accommodation
Because the land was robbed from us and given to the banks via a debt based money-creation process, this is difficult. You could live wild in the woods (which I must admit is my absolute ideal and hope to one day), and take your chances. You could build a simple dwelling from 100% local materials and become a Freeman on the land, but this again comes with risks (risks I believe need to be taken by those brave enough) and you do need to understand it all completely before even thinking about it.
For the slightly less courageous but equally adventurous, there is couchsurfing, where you can sleep on millions of couches around the world for free, and allow other members to sleep on yours too when your time comes around. Not only do you save lots of money, you get access to a kitchen and often internet, and get to find out all the really good places to see and experience when you are on the road.
If you want to live with little or no money, why not go wwoofing for a week/month/year. It really helps organic growers, you learn new skills and meet great people, and you could do it completely moneyless.
The Department of Education
If I had a penny for every parent who told me they couldn't live without money because they have to send their kids to school, I'd have bought up the land of all England and returned it to the Gift Economy by now. I do understand your woes and concerns.
But we talk about sending kids to school as if its some sort of positive thing to do to them. Normal school is hideous. They're factory farms for the economic slaves of the future.
We also talk about reading and writing as if it is some sort of thing that we should never question. They have to be good, unquestionably good, right? If you think language and numbers are so great, then read Charles Eisensteins The Ascent of Humanity to get a new (or old?) perspective.
If you want inspiration for education, then look no further than Bunker Roy's incredible project in India, the Barefoot College. Satish Kumar's small school and Schumacher College (both of which admittedly are expensive but shouldn't be and could be done for free if the will of the community was there) are other examples. But ideally, Homeschool with other parents in your local community. More and more parents are doing it, and the more that do the easier it becomes.
Whatever you choose, just don't teach them the usual crap that will no longer be relevant in twenty years - teach them foraging, food growing, communication skills, carpentry, art, music, dance, signing, how to make things from local materials and the like. Teach them how to be the fullness of their humanity.
The Department of Food
Grow in whatever space you have - the windowsill, the back garden, the allotment or some land. Use Permaculture and Forest Gardening approaches to make the most of your limited space. Grow what you like to eat. If you're busy, grow the crops that need least looking after. If you're skint, grow the food that you like but that's most expensive to buy.
If you want to go to an even more sustainable level, then forage. Take a course, read some books (Food for Free by Richard Mabey is a good starter), go out to the hedgerows, practice, research, practice, research, practice, research ad infinitum.
Are the wilds in your area been replaced by supermarkets and their carparks? If so, go skipping (dumpster diving for you American English speakers) - its not exactly The Gift Economy, but you can make the gift on their behalf, given that these corporations haven't the integrity and care to redistribute it themselves.
The Department of technology
Everything is technology - language, numerical system, compost toilet or bicycle. I used to think a Blackberry and Apple were fruit, but apparently not (lets reclaim our language people!), apparently they're phones and gadgets.
Use Linux (Ubuntu). Use OpenOffice. Use open source technologies, or help create them. Use Hushmail (an encrypted email - you may as well cc in the authorities to your emails from hotmail, yahoo, gmail etc), use DuckDuckGo for searching without tracking by Big Brother, use TrueCrypt to encrypt any personal folders you wouldn't like The Man to read.
Most of all - stop buying crap you don't need, and work less because of it. Be free. Use the appropriate level of technology.
The Ministry of Defence (aka The Ministry of Attack)
Fuck that. Be nice. Life simply - if you don't have any wealth, you'll rarely be bothered. I left my caravan unlocked for three years. Everyone knew I had nothing of worth, save a laptop whose screen is sellotaped to the kepboard. Organise members of your community to learn ways of resolving conflict peacefully and learn NVC. Learn how to defend yourself if it comes to it. Get fit, might come in handy some day. And if someone is repeatedly raping your Mother (I had to get it in there, you'd have been disappointed) or abusing your brother, then take an appropriate level of action. Good, vague phrasing there I hope.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Make your own song. Make your own dance. Make your own beer, wine and cider (let Andy Hamilton help). Organise your own street party. Learn an instrument. No excuses, just learn one. Play games. Run. Make love. Go skinny dipping. Put on free film nights in your house. Do anything. Just don't waste your life on the internet writing blogs telling people how to not waste their life on the internet.
Stop consuming. Participate in life. I'll say it again in case you didn't get it the first two times. Stop consuming. Participate in life.
For free music, use Grooveshark, the world's biggest free jukebox.
The Department of Health
Eat well - local, organic, fresh. Exercise lots. Love yourself. Lots.
Your physical health depends on your mental health, so do things that make you happy and fulfilled. Get to know your local alternative practitioners, you'll find many on Freeconomy. Learn whichever form best works for you. Learn your own body again, become aware of what it needs.
For deeper types of healing, there are other methods such as Ayahuasca.
When I first began living without money I made my chronic hayfever almost non-existent using a weed called Plantain, a natural anti-histamine. It cured it 90%. But do you want to hear something completely far out, man? Last year I decided it was stupid and that
a) being allergic to pollen was ridiculous, and
b) that I am in control of my own body,
and so for two months coming up to hayfever season I kept telling myself I don't have have fever any more. And you know what? Come June, not a sniffle. Not one.
Too hippy? Not scientific enough? Then go and pump various types of over-the-counter pills into yourself, and that'll sort out all your problems. Or take a steroid injection. That'll restore you to full health. Promise.
And this is all just the tip of the iceberg. I could write a book (you can get it from your library - or pass it forward once you've read it) about all the other ways to live in The Gift.
I wish you all the courage in the world to move away from the money economy, and into the Gift Economy. Freeconomy isn't the world's largest alternative economy. Nature is. Join Her.
Comment on this Post:
Lauren comments ...
Very informative blog. I think the time is for me to now starting ding some of these, I can't keep living the way I do any longer!
Anyone got any other links or projects that would be helpful to us all?
Teresa comments ...
I use Freecycle but the inconsiderate members who make a habit of not turning up or cancelling at the last minute have made it a laughing stock. I need at least three positive replies in order to get rid of what I'm offering because of the no shows. If you make an appointment with somebody please do your best to keep it or else be realistic about when you can turn up. It seems the majority of people at any one time have a crisis in their lives from a car break down (there are buses they can use instead) to illness in the family to being stuck in a traffic jam.
I've signed up to Hushmail but will have to convert my friends to using it in order to make use of it. I don't think I can use it with business sites.
magicalcat comments ...
HI Mark, just quick fire before i finish reading, can you please remember that some of us are not lazy or selfish, some of us physically cannot cycle, many thanks. (And yes the comment hurt, but I know that was not your intention.)
magicalcat comments ...
YAY! So much to do, so little time eh?
Well anyone around Ammanford we are having a first meeting (Nov 10th,) to see what action we can get on with here. Just have a look at the group emails for more info if you are in the area.
Some of the stuff is so easy to do/organise it's unbelievable more is happening. Book shares, garden stuff shares, seed shares, craft shares, clothes shares and even a film share. In previous area this worked so well. All you need is a room/space, and a table to put stuff on, let people know and we just brought what we did not need and took what we could use. So no worries about anyone stealing, wasn't necessary LOL, and never found anyone to be greedy.
Other stuff we did was teaching wild food foraging, how to cook and preserve foods, how to make compost, the list is endless.
Sounds really impressive and well organised, but it was not at all, we kept it small, (mostly cos it was rural area,) and simple. You really don't need to organise tea, cakes and biccies, there is usually some wonderful soul who will bring their home cooked goodies anyway, (yumm) and you don't need a committee!
Thanks for the inspiration Mark, am so looking forward to getting going on this.
Avrille du Plessis comments ...
Thank you for all that you do. You said that to me once, not knowing who I was or what I do. Thanks for that gift. You inspire me.
creamspyder comments ...
Just brilliant! :)
constance comments ...
Some of us have been living this kind of life where possible for years. Me, since 1979. I live and work in my home town. I earn just enough dosh to buy the things that I can not grow or make for my self. I walk or cycle everywhere possible. I collect other peoples discarded furniture and stuff if I can use it or turn it into something else. I make some of my own clothes, 'up-cycle'/recycle. Home school my step son. the list goes on. All I need now is a bit of ground to put my little home on. Back in the 80's I was regarded as a 'nutter', now I'm in vogue and being asked for my help. I've been watching society slowly come to the realization that maybe there is a better way to live. I am eagerly a waiting the down fall of the money system, I never thought that it would happen in my life time. oh and this is written on a net book that I very reluctantly had to buy cos these days every thing is done on the wide world web and paper is becoming a thing of the past. Love this site Mark x
Mark Boyle comments ...
@ magicalcat - good luck with your event, sounds fantastic, huge respect to you for doing it.
Ron Tocknell comments ...
Nice one Mark! That should get people on side. I think you've done a brilliant job and I agree with all that you say. I think that you're work is vital to the development of a fair and equal society.... but I think you should get someone who doesn't hold your readers in contampt to write your blogs :o)
Jeffrey Andreoni comments ...
I really like this blog, keep it up! I just joined, I think I am the only member in Italy. In Italy many people mistake generosity for stupidity, and dishonesty for intelligence.
I hope we can change all that.
nutrition Glynis comments ...
Thanks for all the info, links! Awesome.
fran k comments ...
hello, well this is a good blog subject!
Im just doing a copy onto cd of posters to use on a free community sharing stall. litttle a5 and a4 posters to put up on the stall, explaining how the stall works to people who come to the stall, and also theres a few photos on there of other stalls and how they are set up and laid out and showing the kinds of items people share. they are from the Nottingham free shop, Dark Mountain free stall, Wirral Green Forum fair, Chester indoor market, Wrexham peace news day.
So if anyone else would like a cd copy of them please send me an email for one, just ask Ill send. you can just print out handy posters then.
(I cant put them up on the net for people yet as I havent got around to doing it on a normal connection, as where I am Ive only got very slow kb net connection. If anyone who gets them would like to put them up on the net for people to download that would be great)
email address is email@example.com
Richard Day comments ...
It could have been an enlightened post, but your interjections of opinion smacks of preaching; "If for whatever reason you don't want to cycle (i.e. you're lazy, you're scared, you don't give a shit about fossil fuel use or wars in the Middle East or climate change, you have children who need to be protected from The Dangerous World)" What about elderly people? People with very young children? People in remote communities? Your ideas on the whole are sound, but please leave out the crass condescension Mark- this only appeals to the conversted, not to those who may be prepared to listen.
you know i came across this blog through the process of researching for my dissertation. whilst it is massively encouraging to see something like this in existence, and i agree with all i have read so far..i cannot help but feel that the tone is slightly aggressive towards the reader. i admire all what you have done...but reaching out to those that don't get it is not going to be done through the same condescension that (hate to say it) 'hippies' get treated with. we are a whole, a mass. capitalism brought with it alienation and illusory fragmentation, everyone is affected by it and nobody can be blamed for being sucked in. it's not people that you want to attack in your writing, surely its the system? anyway i've gotta find some useful source info. sorry for the rant i was just disappointed. for somebody to be a fan of the gift concept, you seem to be wanting to take a lot of energy.
Mark Boyle comments ...
@ Richard Day and above poster - I appreciate the feedback, I guess that is the problem with the written word, it can be misunderstood and lacks the smile it was written with.
It was mostly in jest, but there was a serious side too. Of course there are some people who can't cycle, but there are so many who don't for reasons I've stated. Its my personal opinion we got to stop wrapping everyone up in cotton wool, afraid to offend anyone. We're turning an abundant planet into a wasteland, so lets get a little bit real here and not always have to toe the nicely nicely path.
Cars pump fumes into my lungs every day, toxifying the air I breathe and therefore my body. Can we not sometime - just sometimes - tell it like it is?
If you'd like to write something in a different way, please feel free to email me with a proposal for a blog post here. Otherwise, I'll write it like I feel it and use good feedback such as yours to guide how I feel it.
pippa comments ...
i've just been reading these comments and thought I'd thrown in twopence worth.
i'm exactly the type of person mark is talking about here. been talking about ditching the car for years. and you know what. i think i will now. i needed the kick up my ass.
so i guess my moral here is that different ways work for different people, what puts off some provokes change in others. thats why i like this blog, sometimes its gentle, sometimes its hard. you cant please everyone all of the time.
i also find it interesting that there are so many useful links here, and some of the comments only picked up on one line. take what you like and leave what you dont.
Gift economy projects comments ...
2 Eu gift economy transition oriented web sites (note for these german language sites, instead of going straight to the site, put part of the name into a google search, and click on the 'translate page' by the title.
A non commercial project berlin: search Karlshof; these people give away their crop without money and exchange logic, yet of course hoping of reciprocity.
Two Gift economy transition to moneyless land projects:
Austrian Gift economy land project called Garden of generations at:
Uk Gift economy transition to moneyless forest garden land project called Creating WelhEALTH, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. No web exposure yet.
At Nottingham Sumac centre and veggies: visit the web site for more details: http://www.veggies.org.uk/sumac/welcome.html
It's so simple.
We meet once a month, share some food, talk to each other. Then we form a circle and introduce ourselves with an emphasis on being positive together. People are invited to think about what they need and what they might have to offer.
All kinds of things have been asked for: baby clothes, help with finding a tradesperson, advice on sorting out benefits, someone to talk to, help cleaning out a shed etc. The need is spoken with no expectation of it being fulfilled. People in the circle respond if they feel it. Then people go around again and make offers, something they would like to share with no expectation of it being accepted.
Again, a wide range of things have been offered: guitar lessons, help with getting funding, carwashing etc, etc. All the requests and connections are beautifully drawn up onto a big sheet of paper. Afterwards, people check in with those who responded to the gifts/needs/wishes to make arrangements! (Bring your diaries!)
Join us at the Sumac Centre, beginning at 7pm with a buffet from Veggies, and again on Monday 21st November.
Gift economy market stall called Give and Take, at Chester indoor market every Saturday. Also has funds of £12000 for purchase of free gift economy space and wants to expand to a community gift centre. Email email@example.com for more info.
Teresa comments ...
Mark you are so right we have to stop wrapping people up in cotton wool. There's another name for this and it's dumbing down and also going to the lowest common denominator. You see it in drop in centres and classes for people with mental health problems. There's the assumption that if they have mental health problems they also have mobility problems so yoga exercises and warm up games are done sitting in chairs rather than standing or sitting on mats. This is because a few and only a few of them have mobility problems and nobody wants to offend them. The result is those who are able bodied enough to find sitting in chairs all the time boring leave those places with the result that mainly unfit people stay.
I see the same at parties, food fairs and courses where free food is offered. Don't want to offend people with healthy food especially salads, fresh fruit and yoghurt so the buffets are predominately junk food; sausage rolls, crisps, sandwiches with tinned tuna, cake and so on. Ugh!!! Vegan food fairs usually means tastings of fake soy based meat and raw vegan food fairs means tastings of raw chocolate.
magicalcat comments ...
Teresa, oh dear, so are you suggesting that for those of us unlucky enough to not be as mobile as yourself, we need to be excluded so you do not become bored sitting in chairs? Perhaps if you can help with the miracles required for some of us to do that it would be wonderful? (Or maybe even a decent health service that provides equal care when it is needed.)
Drop in centres I have worked in certainly did not assume people were stupid because they are disabled, nor that because they have mental health issues that they are physically disabled. (By the way, mental illness is not a decline in mental ability.)
Are you also suggesting that because, "only a few of them have mobility problems and nobody wants to offend them," that one or two people are not worth adapting for? Surely a drop in centre is not the best place to exercise, and if you want to exercise then there are plenty of places to do that, you could even walk or cycle to the centre.
I would also suggest that the reason the free food is, "junk food; sausage rolls, crisps, sandwiches with tinned tuna, cake and so on," is because it's free and that is the cheapest way to do free. (Just take a look in any supermarket.)
You don't have to taste the, " fake soy based meat," nor raw chocolate if it is not to your taste.
I don't really know what it is you are trying to say? Perhaps you could clarify?
I am one of those who would have to sit rather than stand, extremely frustrating after leading a very physically active life, and yes it is offensive and hurtful to hear your negative comments. My brain functions very well however, even to the degree of knowing that there is another issue here, rather than a genuine concern about the planet.
People are all different, as a race we need to accept our differences and learn how we can work together to use these differences to the benefit of the planet and ourselves.
Yes I totally agree with Mark, it is time to move off our backsides and change things we can, although some may not be able to physically move backsides, there is still plenty that we can do.
But squabbling over worthiness and putting others down is not going to help.
Teresa comments ...
You're reading things into my comment that I didn't make. I never said anything about excluding these people. They of course can stay sitting during games and exercises when most people are standing up or they can sit them out for a while.
magicalcat comments ...
Maybe I am picking on words, but take another look,
"This is because a few and only a few of them have mobility problems and nobody wants to offend them. The result is those who are able bodied enough to find sitting in chairs all the time boring leave those places with the result that mainly unfit people stay."
Correct and forgive me if I am wrong, but surely if the events you are talking about are about physical abilities, the people with disabilities would not be invited? I certainly do not put myself up for events I cannot physically manage, it is too painful, both mentally and physically.
My concern is that so many people seem to be on the track that the new earth will be about being fit, healthy and strong. That excludes a lot of very good people, people I know personally who have wonderful ideas and excellent abilities to lead, care, heal and enthuse others. For example a wonderful elder I met recently who has wisdom and love, but cannot kneel, dig the earth, (ha, another thing we waste soo much energy on, "no dig" works so well for mother earth, LOL) and also makes a mean, yummy, cake!
Yes, be tough, get angry and change the world for the better, it DOES need change, but we do this as one body and mind, bringing the love into everything we do. Run with the wind, climb every mountain, (I did the ones I could, it was great,) and but leave out the lycra and man-made breathable fabrics and stop and drink the fresh water and feel the cool grass.
My final point is, take the PC out of it, and "inclusivity" can expand our horizons.
David Watts comments ...
At last a positive blog post with some really useful information! This is a nice change for me not to feel the need to post argumentative comments on your blog. Thankyou.
Teresa comments ...
You're still picking holes in my comments and reading things into them. People object to sitting in chairs for exercises that are normally done standing, lying or squatting when they are fit enough to move around but it doesn't mean I think that unfit people should be excluded from them. Just different levels for different folks. They shouldn't all be dragged down to the same level.
So stop criticising me or get lost.
Teresa comments ...
As for the crap non nutritious junk food served at lunch buffets if there was less of it and less choice better food could be bought. My friends could enjoy a quality cup of coffee when out and about if they actually drank less coffee.
magicalcat comments ...
I love the title of this, "just for the love of it," so says it all. I do not understand why people need to be aggressive, there are so many things each one of us can do, I choose to be a part of this as I believe we can live better lives through living this way.
Agree totally Teresa, I am all for eating less and eating better, I started that a few years ago when seeing the HUGE trolleys of food people were buying, including our own family, and so frustrated that most of this was crap and would be thrown away as only a certain amount we can all eat. I choose a small bag of local apples to a larger bag of huge tasteless sprayed rubbish which has been imported. (By the way, just for interest, run some boiling water over your apples and see how much wax appears, yeuch.)
BUT we have to be together in what we do, listening to fair comments can help us all to improve on what we do. If what we say is hurtful to others people will turn away, it is natural, nobody likes to be hurt and we will defend ourselves. This site encourages us to do stuff just for the love of it, perhaps it should extend that to feelings? There is an old saying, believe the unions in the 70's used it, "United, we stand; divided, we fall."
denergy comments ...
look up Brian Gerrish???
would love to chat but do not have forum
have not looked yet..Do I have to pay for it??
denergy comments ...
OK figured it out now..
I joined this site ooooh probably a couple of years back?? never got around to doing much on it..got lots of email notice but only now this late evening have taken a real look.
Hay fever.. I have been told..do not know if it is true..I have no probs with hay fever. but told...If you eat local honey, it can stop your hay fever..someone try it and let me know..please.
Bike rider..I was but got nicked for being on the pavement?? I might add that as both a car and lorry driver..I find that (Most) bike riders take the --cockney--piss-!
Be honest.. how many have lights, or wear vivid cloths at night..I have seen very few.. How many jump the lights not giving a shi. about padestrians crossing -even with kids.
How many park in the bike lanes?? to include police and outside my place a patrol car parks everyday taking picks of cars on the otherside of the road that stop in the junction box.
I have taken pics-of them..in the camara diddy car, Boris is not interested.
Did we not all see him being filmed promoting bike rides..and almost being killed.?? My bike is used, by me, I try to avaoid going on main roads, but even side roads are full of nutcase drivers. Most with kids in the back, with no seat belts on.
To those that do drive.. I often notice the front seat people have seat belts but adult or child often have none in the back seats.
A little info..just in case you did not know. Your insurance is nil and void if any of your passengers have no belt on. So you might as well not bother getting insured.. as it seems all too many are doing nowa days. I believe that bike riders should have a numberplate and insurance. believe it or not bike rider can also knock people over, crash into cars, and hurt others. Even I have managed to almost run people over when they see no car step into the road and then notice me trying hard to not crash into them, If we want bike lanes we should look at paying something towards getting them.
I used to ride a horse, everywhere yep even to the shops. I am now charged to go into the forest on a horse.. but bike charge into it any place they like chopping up the earth .. so what's that all about.
I must say that after the ride they often load the bike onto the back of a car and drive off lol yep got to laugh.. life is too ironic not to..
Oh must tell you about the bookcycle shop.. only a couple at the moment,, but I am sure if you got in contact with them main one is in Exeter,,they would love it if you opened one in your area??
Give them a shout if you are interested in it?
Tell them Dee the lady builder that lives in a van told you about them LOL
gift economy position statement comments ...
Position Statement for a Peaceful World
International Feminists for a Gift Economy
First presented at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2002
- Presa di posizione per un mondo di pace
- Declaracion de una Plataforma para un Mundo de Paz
From the dawn of time women’s gifts have been creating and sustaining community, and we have struggled to make the world a better place. In recent years women have been articulating new forms of protest, refusing war and all forms of violence, protecting the environment and all life, creating new multi-centred and diverse political spaces and defining new politics of care, community, compassion,
Women, from both North and South especially from the margins of privilege and
power, are creating alternative visions. Over the last decades the growing feminist
movement has developed analyses, changed paradigms, built solidarity through
listening to each other. We are rethinking democracy, creating new imaginaries,
even reconceptualizing the foundations of political society.
The anti-globalization movement is grounded in the new political space women
have created. The global dialogue and networking among men, so celebrated today
as a new achievement, post-dates the growing global women’s movement by many
years. Yet this is rarely acknowledged and feminist leadership is seldom invited.
Feminist perspectives remain largely invisible in the struggle against globalization,
impoverishing not only women but the struggle as a whole.
We, women of many countries, believe that the death dealing elements of patriarchal
capitalist colonial globalisation are rooted, not in unequal exchange alone but
in the mechanism of exchange itself. The creation of scarcity, the globalisation of
spiritual and material poverty, and the destruction of cultures and species are not
failures of a wealth creating system. They are essential expressions of a parasitical
centralizing system which denies the gift giving logic of mothering.
Traditional gift-giving societies integrated the logic of mothering into the wider
community in many ways. Now socio-economic systems based on the logic of
exchange degrade and deny gift giving while co-opting the gifts of most women
and many men, dominating the gift givers and destroying the remnants of traditional
gift giving societies.
Nevertheless, mothering is a necessity for all societies. Because children are born
vulnerable, adults must practice unilateral gift giving towards them. Women are
socialized toward this practice which has a transitive logic of its own. Men are
socialized away from mothering behavior and towards a self-reflecting logic of
competition and domination. The gift logic, functional and complete in itself is
altered and distorted by the practice of exchange which requires quantification
and measurement, is adversarial, and instills the values of self interest and competition
for domination. Exchange, especially monetized exchange, the market,
and the capitalist and colonial economies that derive from them are formed in
the image of masculinist values and rewards. For this reason we can characterise
capitalism as patriarchal.
In the present stage of patriarchal capitalism, corporations have developed as
disembodied non-human entities made according to values of dominance, accumulation
and control and without the mitigating rationality and emotional
capacity a real human being would presumeably have.
Corporations have an internal mandate to grow or die. However, even simple market
exchange superimposes itself on gift giving at all levels, cancelling and concealing
its value and appropriating its gifts, renaming them as its deserved profits.
Women’s free labour is gift labor and it has been estimated as adding some 40
percent or more to the GNP in even the most industrialized economies. The goods
and services provided by women to their families are qualitative gifts that create
the material and psychological basis of community. These gifts pass through the
family to the market, which could not survive without them.
Profit is a disguised and forced gift given by the worker to the capitalist. Indeed
the market itself functions as a parasite upon the gifts of the many. As capitalism
“evolves” and spreads, its market becomes needy for new gifts, commodifying free
goods which were previously held in common by the community or by humanity
as a whole. The destructive methods of appropriation which feed the market
also create the scarcity necessary for the exchange-based parasite to maintain its
control. Since gift giving requires abundance, the parasite can only keep the gift
giving host from gaining power by creating artificial scarcity through the monopolization
Northern patriarchal capitalism has grown exponentially by invading the economies
of the South and extracting their gifts. In the past whole continents have
been appropriated, their territories and peoples divided into private property of
the colonizers, their gifts commodified. Today, in a new form of colonization,
traditional indigenous knowledge and plant species, as well as human, animal, and
plant genes are being patented and privatized so that the gifts of the planet and
humanity are passing again, at a new level into the hands and profits of the few.
The mechanisms of exploitation are often validated by the very institutions that
are established to protect the people. Laws are made in the service of the patriarchal
parasite and justice itself is formed in the image of exchange, the payment
for crime. Apologists for patriarchal capitalism exist at every level of society from
academia to advertising. The very language they use has been stolen, the common
ground of its meanings distorted and co-opted in the service of the perpetrators of
economic violence. Thus “free trade” apes the language of the gift and liberation
while it is only short hand for more exploitation and dominance.
While fair trade seems to be better than unfair trade, it is not the liberating alternative
we seek. Exchange itself and not just unequal exchange must give way
to the gift. The answer to the injustice of the appropriation of the abundant gifts
of the many is not a fair return in cash for the theft but the creation of gift based
economies and cultures where life is not commodified.
While such a radical change may appear extremely difficult, it is more “realistic”
than simply continuing in our attempts to survive and care for one another in the
frighteningly destructive and increasingly toxic world we know today, for these
attempts are doomed to failure in the long term.
Women have worked to transform political spaces and have made important,
though fragile and highly contested gains in the last decades in affirming women’s
legal, sexual and reproductive rights, challenging fundamentalisms, opposing violence,
and war, improving women’s education, health and economic conditions.
These struggles have broken new ground while remaining within the exchange
paradigm. Our successes and failures challenge and inspire us to seek new terrain,
recognizing that “the masters tools can never be used to dismantle the masters
house” (Audre Lorde).
WE WANT A MARKET-FREE SOCIETY, NOT A FREE-MARKET SOCIETY
A world of abundance where bodies, hearts and minds are not dependent on
A world where gift-giving values of care are accepted as the most important, the
leading values of society at all levels.
A world where women and men enjoy taking care of children and each other.
A world where everyone is able to express their sexuality in life-loving ways, where
their spirituality is treasured and their materiality is honored.
A world where trust and love are the amniotic fluid in which all our children
learn to live.
A world where boys and girls are socialized without gender limits as gift-giving
humans from the very beginning.
A world where mother nature can be seen as the great gift giver, her ways understood
and her infinitely diverse gifts celebrated by all.
A world where humans and all species can reach their highest potential in relationship
rather than their lowest potential in parasitism and competetion.
A world where money does not define value nor legislate survival.
A world where all the categories and processes of parasitism and hate - racism,
classism, ageism, ablism, xenophobia, homophobia are regarded as belonging to a shameful past.
A world where war is recognized as expressing unnecessary patriarchal syndromes of dominance and submission in a ridiculously sexualized death ritual using phallic
technological instruments, guns and missiles of ever greater proportions.
A world where the psychosis of patriarchy is recognized, healed, and no longer
validated as the norm.
We will create the world we want while keeping intact our full humanity, humor and hope.
November 15, 2001
NB:This document is not patented, commodified or copyrighted. Anyone can use it.
Please respect its integrity.
I really enjoyed this blog Mark, informative as ever and I laughed out loud at least three times!
Gavin comments ...
YOU WILLED AWAY YOUR HAYFEVER?? Incredible! I thought it was only possible for hiccups. I can also onset hiccups by scratching my ear. Thought you might like to know.... ahem
David Jenkins-Handy comments ...
I have been playing at the edges of this notion of freeconomy, like a lot of people, aware that the next steps are perilous and take courage. For me, this movement to feel liberated from consumerism is a part of a much bigger sense of dissatisfaction admirably expressed by Avaaz.org on my behalf. As far as the notion of 'The Economy', I think it fair to say that this kind of abstraction was debunked by Dickens in Hard Times: since when has The Economy been the economy of an individual, family, place (village, town)? I find the sheer fatuousness of the political classes, who treat the rest of the population as gullible and gutless, becoming increasingly irrelevant to finding solutions for the issues that we are all facing: economic, ecological, social, cultural etc., which outsider economics might just have an answer for.
Raj comments ...
I really dig your emphasis on the practical. There's a lot of good theory out there, but we need more practice. I like a grass roots approach that isn't so dependent on the existing cumbersome and ineffective system.
frank comments ...
on the issue of practical. a free stall, where everyone is equal, where you can stick two fingers up at another facilitator when they look at you lounging about not doing any work on the stall, as there is an equality,
I have always thought the stall is like Jacks bag of gold from the story Jack and the beanstalk, because its very much like the bag of gold he steals from the giant. Because although all through a day people will be taking stuff off, at the end of the day there is always more than at the beginning.
but it is a thing only to be experienced if you do it.
It is a way of getting everything you want for free. If you want to get lots of goods for free, you can go to the waste dump where lots of amazing stuff gets chucked, but if you want those goods to lazily come straight to you just set up a free stall.
Our group has been doing them since 92, and tugd idea has spread, but we have always wanted to get a permanent space, (our energy was taken up developing free living Moneyless land)
but if any other similar group wants Our (yours) money to help their free stall, community sharing space expand, then they have as much a claim on that free money for community sharing as we do. the balance is around £12000 at the mo. Also a few of us are so keen on it expanding we'd add some to it.
The only catch is its got to be total free sharing of everything in that space.
get in touch with us, im greenwomble on this freeconomy site.
Mutopian comments ...
Very well said. Hopefully it will encourage more people to participate in life and in sharing it rather than trying to hoard and contain it through the aquisition of 'things'.
I am now in my forties, and have been around the block where the 'alternative' movement and these ideas are concerned, from co-founding housing co-ops to putting on skills and knowledge sharing events in the 1980's and living communally.
The problem is that these ideas and projects have in the past become swallowed up in the mainstream and to survive, becoming commercial enterprises.
But they were already ghettos, peopled with 'alternative' types, young anarchists and middle class free thinkers, inevitably leaving an ever widening chasm between themselves and the wider community.
The more 'far out' you are, the further away into the distance does the mainstream or local community recede.
And this is still a problem today - how to maintain a quorum of integrity when it is challenged with mediating with, and meeting the needs of the community, which might also dilute, and eventually consume the original idea/project?
So I think the real challenge now is to bring these ideas into everyday 'mainstream' communities where the mistique can be wiped away by 'ordinary' down-to-earth people, and they become approachable and understandable. It's just about a return to basics, and the fundamentals of a happy and fulfilling existence, after all. But it may take more determination and staying power than being in a more ideoogically supportive community might offer; however, the rewards would be far more real and satsfying. It can be done.
I do not know where the disabled and the dependent fit into the model of a self-sufficient universe, but we can only surmise that, as new social systems and societies organically arise, that people such as myself, who are largely invisible and forgotten, because some of use are denied participation in so many of the aspects of 'normal' life (I am bedbound, for example) will be welcomed, somehow as a valuable part of the community, because it will actually have a heart, and not just a fake-heart shopping centre.
Your enthusiasm and vision is infectious, and you remind all of us what we are capble of and what's really important. Thank you.
greenwomble comments ...
The only skills and knowledge sharing projects in the early 90's that I ever heard of were the few that Laura and Vivien organised for radical routes, and they produced a network list for it too. they didn't in for long, as others didn't take it up where they left off.
I've been involved with radical routes for 19 years. Our group took a stall over to a radical routes gathering about 7 years ago to the Sumac centre, Nottingham. It was to promote it. They were so unaware, they got us to pack up because they needed space for eating! We went back home a complete failure. very disempowered. So theres no way alternatives are any more with it than the communities we work with.
It seems to take a bit of confidence to do a project or a free stall, as very recently one of those two previously mentioned pioneers talked about this, and our group has been considering going to there area and helping others start there own stall.
Oh and this is not some clique thing, which I don't believe they ever were. This is community sharing.
Theres no money in it. Just free goods which you need the money for.
People need to get on it and do it.
And find out it works. they'll be amazed.
Anyone who wishes can take a bus or a train to Chester go to the indoor market, and find the free stall there.
Vic or Alan who are usually there will gladly show people visiting how to run it. they'll do a free on the job workshop, also they are doing guitar lessons on the stall and also doing any soldering that anyone needs doing.
We have always done our give and take for the whole community at markets, and at fairs and festivals.
theres just no differences between people, they're all the same.
free Money taken in donations now totalling 12000 now is available to us and us being us, is you to buy free space to do a permanent free space for sharing and create a great example of free sharing community. f ing get in touch. but form a group first preferably, so you don't run of with OUR money.for OUR space.
greenwomble comments ...
forgot to say, the Chester stall is now only operating on Saturdays, as they've doubled the rent.
(get this : free pays the rent)
why not do it.
Mutopian comments ...
The Skills and Knowledge Sharing Network greenwomble mentioned was started in 1986, alongside the formation of Radical Routes, and taken over by Laura and others later on from Wheatstone, when R.R. became more diverse and started to delegate tasks/activities more, if I remember rightly. I'm not prepared to reveal my identity, but I remember Laura well - thanks for the trip down memory lane!
I think the point I was trying to make is that people in the past have tried to approach the issue of social change and social investment from an ideological standpoint, i.e. one which forms a 'group', and these are entities which cannot maintain themselves without fragmenting or becoming subsumed, or remaining largely detatched, because they're just multiples of individuals, they aren't an entity in themselves, despite how more abstract thinkers want to perceive them.
The best solution/way forward is one of a kind of social permaculture which always arises organically and is always appropriate to people's real needs and desires, not from something superimposed and over- thought. It's one thing to have great ideas and set up a stall or similar, which will hopefully attract interested people, but quite another to take them to a run down housing estate where you might live, and get people involved on that every day, domestic level. It has to represent a way back, somehow, to redeem what we have all largely lost, something which we all have in common, not something which appears to have arisen from altruists trying to 'do good', which does come across as patronising, out of touch, and encourages cynicism, unfortunately.
This is a general commentary and observation from my own life experiences, and is not aimed at any group or individuals.
I love all the ideas expressed here in this blog. Thanks for sharing them. I think it must be a real privelidge to be able to live the kind of life you want, no matter what the challenges are, in addition to recognising what it means to live a good life in the first place.
greenwomble comments ...
Mutopian, you said:
thing to have great ideas and
set up a stall or similar, which
will hopefully attract
interested people, but quite
another to take them to a run
down housing estate where
you might live, and get people
involved on that every day,
Me here: have you ever done this or had experience of doing this.
We have, our group has.
I can tell you the community sharing stall which is actually a community space works best at those places. It works well everywhere but especially at run down places. It's great to share the space its great to get things you need for free and its great just to help yourself to tea. And It's especially rewarding to see it being used so seriously and taken seriously at those places.
Also you talked about do gooding.
the definition for that that I have just looked up is:
The act or action of
doing good, especially
naively in humanitarian
I quite like that definition.
I don't think it applies to the gift economy in any shape or form.
The gift economy is about sharing resource whereass the money economy is about social and physical exclusion.
The people running the space of a true open free stall are the same people who get stuff from it. There is no separation. No do gooders. Or All are do gooders if you like
No rules. All are owners.
I liked what you said about naturalness. I agree on what your saying And think what you are saying is very important. It's whats needed that will be welcomed.
I don't think any project will work unless it works like you say.
Personally I feel from our experience that a free space will start to fail and degrade and melt into normality the moment rules are imposed by one group on another. Ours don't work like that.
I thoroughly agree with your focus on local.
The reason a stall or sharing space is so good is it can be located local. and its the community that use it , that run it.
Like I said they have to be experienced in real life by actually doing one to understand the potential.
Like someone said at our Chester stall.'its just like freecycle but for real.
Also I feel strongly that free sharing spaces local run by the community for the community with the prime emphasis on free for social and physical inclusion are going to be at the very heart of any change to a future increase in the gift economy. Free land space for the community to gather and harvest the materials for dwellings, for food, for fuel, for water supply for community sharing of services, of books of community kitchens of community theatre.
It will increase when an increasing awareness comes in that we have been starving our kith and kin by relying for our resource provision by the artificial scarcity we create for ourselves by using competitive exchange as the sole means of our needs provision.
Trixi comments ...
Re: the words "finance" and "economy" - there was an interesting edition of "Word of Mouth" on radio 4 yesterday which discussed how the financial sector uses financial language ...kind of as a cover up for their activities. Worth a listen if anyone's interested: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b018cq02
jason palmer comments ...
if a child in africa starves to death while you use your vast amount of money, from the sale of your book, to buy land...then they will be dead
Frederick Dsouza comments ...
jason. The child in africa needs food not money to get out of starvation. Mark wants to use the money to give to the greedy who wants money in exchange of land which was here before anyone was born. Without money (90% of money is in the form of 1 and 0 in the credit card form too) the govt will not give land to grow food for the hungry. Mark has give thousands of his The Moneyless Man book for free . He is hoping someone gives the land in charity instead or someone can do what mark have done giving up his possession and selling his possession and which the proceeds gone to creating this website otherwise can you imagine you and i commenting on this site?. i heard sometimes diamond cuts diamonds, sometimes slaves too bought their freedom with the money they had, now most are slaves to money, hence sometimes its good to use money to destroy money. i think.
jason palmer comments ...
turn your back on the world and buy some land, be self sufficient, avoid humans !
Frederick Dsouza comments ...
For those who dont understand The Freeconomy Concept , this little girl will make them understand
When I grow up: a 6 year old's vision of a Gift Community - share and live this message!
fran k comments ...
Jason you bring up amazing real important issue. I would be really interested to hear more of your thoughts on society and money.
thanks for bringing it up.
Frederick you too.
There is no actual conflict in your two thoughts. as they both fit in.
starving people need land to grow food. and you are so right Jason, that they are of the highest priority.
I think this little girls talking about community and bringing up the idea of a hotel is incredibly relevant. because a hotel analogy is real good. because in a hotel you have shared space and private space.and a choice as to how much time you need to be in shared space and private on your own. we all need different amounts of space.
asdf comments ...
it is so efficient that your contractor should issue you with a guarantee Hermes Birkin.
If we follow a high fat low fibre diet our bodies are going to lack the fuel needed to burn the fat [url=http://www.pradapurseshandbagsale.com]Prada Purses[/url].
foresttrailacade comments ...
hey I was surfing the internet and happened to be on your blog. I read this one and I must say reading this is a joy.
giwuan comments ...
viagra comments ...
lrhodamo http://lseboj.com/ oezewqa [url=http://swpeln.com/]oezewqa[/url]
cxlgfjdm comments ...
npbfgow comments ...
Greenhunter comments ...
Wonderfuld post on the concept of Gift Economy - I used it as a reference in my blogpost. oh yeah - and keep up the good job! :)