Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ranting Nonsequitur: What you put into the world

Economy is not identical or interchangeable with financial.
That false connotation & correlation has been perpetuated far too long, and needs to be corrected as soon as possible, for the sake of our sanity & social stability.

Despite the Obama Administration's protestations and prestidigitations, our economy cannot be fixed; at best, it can only be temporarily patched. The collapse of our commodity economy is imminent, because it is obsolete, inefficient and no longer applicable to the needs & attitudes of current society. Capitalism has become ineffective-- unsustainable and ultimately unsustaining. Partly because of its own innate inadequacies of provision, but also because its essential difficult-to-reconcile conflict with a co-existing model of resource exchange called "gifting". The "old" physical world values monetary compensations (commodity), yet the "new" digital/virtual world values free distribution (gifting).
Gifting promotes sharing; commodity prevents it.
One of the principle ethics we teach our children is the value of sharing & giving. And then they see the world using a capitalist commodity economy. What are we really teaching our kids?
Are we hypocrites?
Within commodity culture, sharing resources is financially damaging; in a gift economy, the failure to share is socially damaging.

Commodity treats people as consumers/ customers, while gifting regards people as community members/collaborators.
In commodity, items/ideas need to pass through toll checkpoints in order to disseminate. But as a gift, it is imbued with a free all-access pass.
We value, respect and appreciate scientists and artists for their contributions to the collective pool of human knowledge and experience. We don't have to pay fees for the use of the "wheel" concept. The idea belongs to the community, free and accessible to everyone. And yet, we expect & assert monetary payments as a measure of worth and meaning?

Being a writer, as I am, I've had many people offer to hire me to write new & original content for them. But their offered payment showed not only their ignorant lack of respect and appreciation (however unintentional) for the work and skill involved, but also a gross lack of basic understanding about the effort & process of creating meaningful, well written material.

Commodity is inherently antagonistic & penalizing, requiring someone to take something from someone else. Whereas gifting is inherently amiable & amicable, since it encourages and enables no strings attached giving & receiving.
In a proper gift economy, there are no obligations... that would defeat the purpose and make it fundamentally no different or better than commodity. No one is obligated or cooerced to reciprocate, but they tend to do so anyway because they want to--- as a means of expressing appreciation, while facilitating & fostering general good will and in recognition of an implied golden rule "social contract" of communal sharing & mutual support... not because they are expected to. We are more willing and inclined to help others when we are empathetic and know that they would return the favor if they could, and in the social promotion of a mentality that breeds such an environment.
We are not yet mature enough as a society to value free things, because we are torn & tormented between two modes of worth and payment: Commodity and Gifting.
Told two opposing things are true simultaneously, we suffer neurosis and stress as we try to apply them both.

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