Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Thursday, May 29, 2003day link 

 Gifting and Community
picture Yesterday I was watching GIFTING IT: A Burning Embrace of Gift Economy, which is a documentary about the gift economy in effect at BurningMan, which I mentioned here. Somebody said:
You could almost say that the definition of community is a place where there's gift giving.

The converse of that would be that if you want to destroy community, a good way of doing it is to turn all gift giving into commercial exchanges.
Right. I agree. It is like in a family. Wouldn't work if we had to account for and pay for each act. My baby daughter would have had no money to pay for her upbringing. Lots of little joyful or necessary acts would just have been so much harder if we had had to go out and get financing for them. Likewise in any community of people who aren't just family. What brought them together might well have been a commercial relationship. But what holds them together, and what makes the community useful is all the extra stuff they do together which they didn't necessarily have to do.

Economics is not so much about money as it is about making choices. In gift economies it is all about choices. Communities form when a bunch of people somehow choose to operate together. It is better the more informed their choices are. Taking away the ability to choose, or the ability to choose well, destroys community and is also bad economics.
[ | 2003-05-29 23:31 | 4 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Island Chronicles
picture Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing is moving from Los Angeles to Rorotonga in the South Pacific next month with his wife and two young daughters. Wow, very cool and adventurous. They will be chronicling their adventure at The Island Chronicles.
We want to find out what it is like for us, an urban American family – accustomed to 24-hour supermarkets, multiplex theaters, top quality medical care, freeways, high-rises, thousands of restaurants in a 20-mile radius, and a daily barrage of media – to slow down. So we moved to the South Pacific. Our first stop is Rarotonga, a tiny island in the South Pacific.

It's a big change for us. We'll be staying on a land mass that’s 99.9993 percent smaller than the United States. It means living among wild dogs, pigs and roosters (which run freely on the island), instead of screaming car alarms, smog-belching Hummers, and random incidents of road rage. It means spending long, sultry afternoons wandering through the rainforest as an after-school activity, rather than sitting in traffic on the 30-minute drive home from school, only to rush through computer games and indoor 'playdates' with other friends. It means picking mangos and breadfruit, buying taro root and coconuts from the front porches of people’s houses, and fishing for supper, rather than zapping a frozen gardenburger in the microwave the moment hunger strikes. It means experiencing life’s moments, rather than breathlessly trying to keep up with our schedules.
Best of luck to you. For me personally I think moving to the south of France is a big enough jump for me at this point. But it is not like I haven't considered the possibility of living on a South Pacific island.
[ | 2003-05-29 23:54 | 20 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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