Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Gratitude Economy


In many spiritual circles, it is popular to talk about gratitude.  Gratitude encompasses much more than a quickie “thank you.”  It implies a much deeper state of mind, one that practitioners realize will position you to receive even greater abundance.

Gratitude – together with all the volumes that have been written about it – is very much an ingredient of the gift economy.  A very beautiful ingredient, which enriches our hearts and spirits, at the same time as it potentially invites more substantial and tangible gifts.

Some communities are beginning to set up "gift circles" -- a collection of people who want to engage in gifting practices on a regular basis.  But you don't need to wait for an official gift circle.  Here's how you can get gift economy concepts rolling right now.

Hau to be erotic: going deeper into the gift economy


Gifts have the function of bonding communities together.  ... If your entire life is nothing but money transactions, ... then you don't have community because you don't need anybody. 
-- Charles Eisenstein, Amsterday Sept 2009 http://youtu.be/cS07gM74tww

My dad just gave me a brand-new sawzall reciprocating saw.  Yesterday its maiden voyage helped to repair the rainwater harvesting tanks at the community garden.  In the spirit of gifting (in Maori they call it hau), with this “second giving” the sawzall entered into the gift economy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A future that is ...


Low-carbon
Post-petroleum
Socially just
More fulfilling
… ???

In an article which is unfortunately no longer available online, Don Hall (at one time part of Transition Colorado) wrote that “sustainability” wasn’t exactly an enticing goal; that to him it sounded like a deadened eventual destination. His example: “How is your relationship with your spouse?” “Um … it’s sustainable …” Hall advocated for the excitement of ongoing innovation. Perhaps this is akin to the flexible balance and continuous evolution we see in natural systems.

The future won’t look the way it used to. And it won’t look like “green” corporate jobs with steady salaries that auto-pay to your mortgage. It’s much more likely to look like a village full of small proprietors:

Elliott trades chicken eggs, Christine knits socks. Kitty and Carol grow vegetables with compost made by Gene, and Kevin harvests honey. John and Jerry build more gardens, while Julian builds water barrels from found materials that Larry scavenged. Robert guides teams in building from earth and other locally-available materials. Meanwhile David repairs and rebuilds bicycles.

We’ll turn to Hannah and Linda for healing herbs and to Mary Pat for guidance as we care for our elders. Steve, Carolyn and Jocelyn keep art and music alive in our lives. Edgar facilitates the council circle of “governance,” and Peter bakes bread as he listens to your troubles.

Formal degrees and certifications in these skills will likely be irrelevant; most of these adaptation-dependent creative abilities were learned through apprenticeship and in-the-trenches explorative experience. We’ll know via community word-of-mouth who is able and dependable.

There will probably be few U.S. dollars in our pockets. We may carry markers for several different local area currencies, each with a specific purpose. We may participate in multiple informal sharing arrangements. Several of us will have lost our homes so we now double-up in housing. We participate in group purchasing to reduce the costs of those few things that we do buy from other communities.

Some people within our neighborhood might still long for the ways of the past, when the airport was roaring and cars zipped us anywhere we could imagine. But others of us will focus instead on what we have gained: meaningful work, a sense of contentment, and a deep connection with each other and with this specific geography we call home.


Click here to start at "page one" of the booklet.

Introduction

About "Economic Resilience"

When it comes to change-making, I tend to be the person you’ll find wielding a shovel, either literally or figuratively. Although I spend plenty of time talking in meetings, I feel happiest when I’m out there getting things done. With that shovel in hand, you can really see progress.

I tire quickly of environmental and social change books where 80% of the book convinces you of today’s problems and how bad they are, with only the final skimpy chapter telling you what you might do about it. I’m also tired of books that present theoretical and inaccessible “solutions”—things that have never been tried before, never been achieved before anywhere on the planet. Give me my shovel; I need something tangible to work with.

Economics isn’t necessarily like that. There is plenty of economic change-making that has to take place in meeting rooms and only a limited amount that is tangible and can be attacked with a shovel. But in this booklet I have tried my best to point the way toward the corners where the “shovels” and “pickaxes” are stashed, for those who are eager to get down to work.

A few of these things can be done alone or with a single family. But almost all of them need to be done at a community level, because that’s where ECONOMICS takes place: it all boils down to transactions between people.

Part I of this booklet explains the problems, because we shovel‑wielders really should understand what we are working with in order to begin to solve it. Part II critiques what several economic theorists see as possible routes forward for the “big picture” economy.

But the central question of this booklet is what we can do at the grassroots level. Part III (approximately 70% of the booklet) offers a panorama of concrete and practical examples, ideas, and resources for building local economic resilience. If you’re a really hard-core shovel‑wielder, go ahead and skip to [page reference] and begin there.

Part III begins, not with some utopian fantasy of where we could be in the distant future, but with where we are right now: surrounded by a crumbling economy, saddled with rent to pay and children to feed. What can we do to survive?

The idea of resilience comes from the study of ecology. It’s really about how systems, settlements, withstand shock from the outside ... that they don’t just unravel, and fall to pieces. ... It’s about building modularity into what we do, building surge breakers into how we organize the basic things that support us.

-- Rob Hopkins, 2009 TED talk

Note: The entries in this blog software were not uploaded in order. To read the booklet in order, follow the orange "next section" links at the bottom of each post.

Like what we do?


Don't let it stop here.

In keeping with Charles Eisenstein's gift culture, versions of this booklet are being offered to the public free of charge. Eisenstein reminds us “a gift transaction is open-ended, creating an ongoing tie between the participants.” We have an ongoing tie, you and I.

I invite you to participate in the gift culture too.

Re-gift this gift: Share this information, share what you have learned here. Encourage others to read this booklet. Distribute the 2-page handout widely. Teach others about these ideas. Most of all, put these ideas into action -- together. Grow community preparedness.

Our peace, security, and survival are counting on you.


This is the conclusion of the "Economic Resilience" document.
Return to the beginning of the action: Part III

Why it must be Grassroots

If we wait for the governments, it'll be too little, too late
If we act as individuals, it'll be too little
But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.
– Transition movement, Cheerful Disclaimer


[full text forthcoming]

Joanne's thoughts about why we must use grassroots efforts to achieve transformative change, are in these places online:
A compiled version is forthcoming.

The Commons

[text forthcoming]