Tag Archives: sharing

What and whom do we really depend upon?

 Tom Atlee’s recent article (excerpted below) is a BRILLIANT statement of both truth and necessity. I believe that sharing, cooperation, and restructuring are now gaining speed. The impending disintegration of the money/banking/finance sector will force us to “take off” soon. Let’s hope that we can generate enough “lift” before we run out of runway.–t.h.g.

Emerging EcoNomics #3: The New Sharing Economy

One of the key features of “the new economy” is sharing.  More and more people are sharing housing, cars, bikes, tools, meals, skills, money, books, ideas, music, energy, recreation, projects, transportation, knowledge, problem-solving, visions, jobs, ownership, clothes, stories, time…

Sharing is a resource in hard times as well as a source of intrinsic meaning and satisfaction any time.  To an increasing number of people, sharing offers compelling alternatives to the corporate-dominated money-saturated whole-society bustle we normally think of as “the economy”.

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The existing economy is designed to get us to look out for ourselves so that we’ll consume, compete and work at paying jobs.  It nurtures the illusion that we are independent, building lives for ourselves in a world where everyone else is out for themselves, too.  Closer examination, however, suggests that such independence is largely a myth, a well-promoted appearance obscuring our profound dependence on the competitive buy-and-sell economy which, in turn, conceals our dependence on nature, culture, and each other.

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In the existing economy we experience obligations not primarily to our neighbors, our communities or the natural world that supports everything we do.  We experience obligation to our employers, to governments, and to banks, credit card companies, and other institutions of higher lending.

This entrenched economic dependence hides the fact that we are fundamentally INTERDEPENDENT:  We need each other.  We are intimately connected to intricately interdependent natural world.  And we are co-creating the conditions of our lives and the prospects for our future, whether we know it or not.

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…. Once we become grounded in quality of life rather than quantities of stuff or money, the possibilities for sharing expand exponentially, creating a sense of abundance even in the presence of some physical scarcity.

Whether or not we are inclined to share more with each other, one thing we all share nowadays is destiny.

Read the rest of the article…

All together now….

In the midst of an economic downturn sharing and cooperation become even more important than usual. If I’m right, our present situation is more than a cyclical downturn, it is the beginning of a fundamental economic readjustment triggered by peak debt, peak oil, peak pollution, etc… The limits to growth have been reached and we will not grow our way out of this predicament.

It seems we are now entering the chrysalis stage of societal metamorphosis, which means that familiar structures on which we’ve been dependent are breaking down. This runs the gamut from money and banking to health care, food and energy systems, education, government and law, and even religion.

As we undertake the necessary community based restructuring, it is essential that we find ways to make sure that everyone’s basic needs are taken care of and that positive developmental projects get the support they need. Alongside the deployment of moneyless and bankless systems of reciprocal exchange, it is essential that we also enhance the structures of the gift economy. More than giving to the usual charities, this means doing what we can to satisfy the needs that we see all around us. Give or share what you have, it need not be money. Most of us have more stuff than we use, and much more than we need.

But wise use of our monetary resources is still important. I recently discovered a new website called givv.org that allows you to designate a fixed amount to donate every month, and to distribute it amongst any number of recipients that you name. You can thus give small amounts and avoid getting on mailing lists that inundate you with appeals for further donations. You can watch a three-minute video here.

If you missed it, you can consult my list of Financing Alternatives, which also includes some other creative ways of giving.

And be sure to read the story about Mali’s Gift Economy in Yes! magazine.