Monday, November 1, 2010

On Creating a Gift Economy

Open Collaboration has a nice article today on the things the author's learned in creating a local gift economy.  The article focuses on the benefits of giving as well as receiving and the breaking down of the barriers between giver and receiver.  Here is an excerpt:

One of the key insights to birthing a culture of generosity is to create a social system where people can meet each other’s needs without partitioning the group into a segment that only receives and a segment that only gives, in contrast to the model of a soup kitchen or homeless shelter where there is a dualistic divide between giver and receiver. So the first design principal to create such a social system is for it to take the shape of a circle. By forming a circle people can become both receivers and givers. The second design principal is that people is to create a platform where people express their needs. This way people can discover what gifts they have to offer that they may not have realized. This also allows for the deepening of relationships as people make themselves vulnerable by saying what they need, because people’s needs often reflect their overall life situation and expose the troubles they’re going through.