The Global Gift Economy Is Here

Many people are afraid we will get some kind of totalitarian dictatorial system with RBE. The fear is understandable when you look at living examples of communism like North Korea, Cuba, China and the former Soviet Union. Some might even think that today’s rampant capitalism is better, but then they are forgetting all the corruption, pollution, poverty, war and crime it causes.

Everyone want to be ‘free’. And neither the tried communism nor capitalism has been able to give that to humanity.

What is happening today is an awakening on many levels. We have the Occupy Movement, Zeitgeist Movement, The Venus Project, and many many spiritual organizations where people meditate together for a better, peaceful world, in addition to millions of volunteers doing work for free to help people in need and get the reward of gratitude from them.

The human mind, that has been asleep for so long, is starting to wake up. And the only economic system I can see as a natural result of this global spiritual awakening, is a resource based economy. Why? Because when we realize that we are all one, when greed gives way to generosity and when ‘profit’ is replaced by ‘people’, there shouldn’t be any need for money either.

We have to realize that the monetary system, money, property and ownership are concepts in our minds, and not real things. They don’t really exist in nature. Neither does a state. In capitalism we trust the notion of trading to take care of all human needs. In communism we trust the state to take care of human needs. In socialism it is a more or less balance between the two.

In fact, there is no pure capitalism nor communism anywhere in the world today (except maybe for North Korea) as there are always elements of both free trade and government intervention in all countries. But there is one more element that is not counted in BNP or in any of the governments around the world, and that is gifting. If it is counted it is only counted as far as it is measurable in money. And in that regards, volunteer work amounts to several national budgets every year.

Gifting is a huge part of our lives already. Whether you are a volunteer in a project, or simply makes a dinner for friends, you are gifting. If you are contributing to the development of Ubuntu (Google it), you are gifting. If you write or edit an article on Wikipedia, you are gifting. If you have a band that doesn’t earn money, but give concerts, you are gifting. If you help your aunt move the lawn, you are gifting. If you give someone your newspaper, you are gifting. If you give of your self grown apples, you are gifting. Do I need to continue…?

You see, we already live in a large degree IN a gift economy. Only that we don’t know it. And we have let our ‘gifting’ be ‘smudged’ by money.

Just think about it. If we, instead of TRADING (‘I will only give you something if you give me something back’) simply starts GIFTING (‘I will give you something regardless of what you give me back’) we will have the same world in a way, but without money. We will then trust that we will get what we need from each other, since everyone thinks the same way. Just like everyone thinks in the terms of trading today, we will think in terms of gifting tomorrow.

Today we trust that ‘when I do work for you, you give me what I need back in the terms of money’. Tomorrow we will trust that ‘when I do work for you, society and nature I will get what I need back from you, society and nature’.

And what a world that will be! Just imagine when there is no money and everything is gifted (yes, it sounds far out, but it is not as strange as it sounds). When there is no money, we will need no banks, no insurance companies, no taxes, etc. etc. And there will be no ‘financial crises’.

Think, if a stranger gives you something you feel is of value to you, like a massage, you will automatically feel a certain amount of gratitude and feel like giving something back. But to give back to this particular person is difficult since you don’t know him, won’t see him again and is no good at giving massages. Then, what’s you option?

Pay it forward!

Not necessarily with a massage, but with something else that you are good at and is needed in society.

When we start giving to each other instead of trading with each other, the gratitude we feel will be the ‘currency’ that will flow around in this society. When you give to me, I can give to you, but I can also give to the next one.

And a giving society where we don’t keep track of how much we give (other than our own conscience) is a much much much much much much much much much simpler society than a trading society where there is kept track of every cent that changes hands.

Yes, our minds have to change, or rather wake up, to this reality. It is truly a liberating feeling to be able to, for instance, leave my bike unlocked at the grocery store without any worry. And then walk into the store and pick what I need and walk out without paying, and then do MY part in this world, knowing that my part then is something needed, not something that only contributes to perpetuate the monetary market system.

And then think about how all of us in this new society can utilize clean energy and technology, and develop technology to the best for everyone, without the need for patents or competition.

A resource based economy will be a network of local communities and cities sharing whatever resources they might possess in their vicinity that might be of use to the common good and at the same time optimizing their own practices in sustainable living.

On a small scale, we will have individuals doing their work ‘for free’ for each other and the community, and on a large scale we will communicate the need for different types of resources that might have to be brought from one place on the planet to another.

Today, we are coordinating a huge world of commerce with highly complex systems of production, transport and distribution all over the planet. Technically, there is no problem to do the same within a resource based economy. A resource based system would also be a 100 times simpler than the tiresome constant egotistical trade and competition that goes on all the time around the planet.

With the trade system we have all the money that has to shift hands, taxes, lawyers, accountants, banks, insurance companies, and what have you in ADDITION to the counting and weighing of the actual resources.

With an RBE system we only need to ‘count and weigh’ the resources to make sure we stay within the carrying  capacity of the planet. In any case, RBE is simpler, better, more natural, more just and more efficient that today’s monetary system will ever be.

This article was meant to show that it is not so difficult to imagine a moneyless economic system, since we in a large degree already have it.


The Past and the Future

Imagine that the time is somewhere in the 12th or 13th century in feudal Europe. You are a traveler from the future, coming into that time. Your base is, perhaps, the late 19th century. You are meeting with people of different social locations, and your task is to introduce them to the absolutely revolutionary and radical idea that the world could be organized on the principle of competition and merit.

In case you are not familiar with medieval history, the people you would be talking with in this imaginary scenario knew a different sort of arrangement. In their world, whatever your station in life was when you were born determined to an extremely high degree what your life would look like. The idea that one could end up in different social locations would have been unimaginable to them. They could likely imagine that for a few rare and exceptional situations, not as an organizing principle.

In response to your proposal they would pooh pooh you, they would tell you that you were naïve or dangerous or both. They would tell you that no one would ever do anything if they weren’t compelled to do it based on the strong coercive structures that existed at the time on all levels. Chaos would ensue, nothing would get done, and expertise would get lost. They would dismiss you and ignore you.

And yet that exact transformation happened. The industrial revolution and the political revolutions that arose in tandem with it created an entirely different social order which would have been impossible for our ancestors to fathom.

I truly invite you to stretch and imagine what it would be like to live in that world and have someone come and tell you that something else is possible.

This is exactly what happens these days when I attempt to invite people into my vivid picture of a fully collaborative world order based on need satisfaction and willingness, without external incentives, without money, without exchange, and without coercion.

I am told, repeatedly, that my vision goes against human nature. That no one would do anything without external incentives in the form of money. That competition is what drives excellence and that generosity and kindness are not sufficient to run the world.

A fully collaborative society is just as unthinkable in a world based on competition as competition was for an authority-based society.

Perhaps it is, after all, possible to create a collaborative future?

Let’s imagine it for a moment, even if you think it’s impossible. Let’s imagine that we can create social structures and institutions organized around caring for everyone’s needs through willing collaboration. To be able to imagine this would require some understanding of human needs and how they differ from the almost infinite range of wishes, strategies, whims, objects, relationships, and anything else we have devised to satisfy those needs. Quite simply, needs are anything required for a human being to have a truly satisfying life. This includes physical needs, emotional/psychological needs, relational needs, social/communal needs, and spiritual needs. This understanding of needs follows the trailblazing work of Marshall Rosenberg, who came forth with the radical proposal of putting human needs at the center, more so than any other aspect of human life.[1]

With this understanding of human needs, imagine putting human needs at the center, and organizing life around them. Feel your way into what it would be like to have an economy in which the needs of all were the driving force. No longer would we be focused on profit. Instead, we would be, collectively, prioritizing attending to everyone’s needs, including the natural world. What if, for example, instead of investing in technologies of destruction we would invest in figuring out how to feed all of us without destroying the biosphere?

If we focus on need satisfaction then leaders would act as servants, and decision-making would be based on dialogue, full willingness, and participation. Can you imagine how much more joy and willingness everyone would have to get up in the morning and go to work if everyone knew that their needs mattered, that their voice and opinions counted, and that their concerns would be taken seriously? What would it be like if leaders saw themselves as guiding a decision-making process rather than the ones making the decisions?

If we truly embraced human needs as the primary organizing principle, then we would radically change the way we treat each other and our children. No one would be controlled, manipulated, coerced, shamed, or guilt tripped. We would trust that nurturing all of our needs and supporting each other in fulfilling our dreams would lead to peaceful sharing of resources and to productive use of conflicts. All our human relationships would be based on autonomy and interdependence.

Under such conditions, human beings can grow up to be people who are able to balance their well-being with that of others and of the planet spontaneously and gracefully. Imagine what that would be like. If it were possible, wouldn’t you love to live in a world where all of us embrace giving without receiving and receiving without giving? Can you imagine what it would be like to trust that there is sufficiency of resources and that we have enough collaborative and imaginative problem-solving to allow us to let go of attachment to outcome? Or how much less stress we would have if we can all celebrate and mourn the mysterious and unpredictable flow of life with birth, growth, death, and decay?

Yes, I know we have been told that such a life is impossible; that our human nature is to hoard, to be suspicious, to only look out for ourselves and perhaps our immediate family and friends; that we can only be motivated through reward and punishment; that our needs are ultimately insatiable; and that war is inevitable.

This grim picture, resting on a fundamental despair about who we are and what life is about, has been the dominant thread for millennia in the Western world. It isn’t the only picture possible. We try to protect children from reality for as many years as we can, because we know that their picture of life is not so grim and we want them to hold on to it even as we think of them as naïve. Are they? Is it possible that our children know better than adults?

My mother still remembers her utter astonishment when I asked her, at five: “Why is it that we have to pay money to get our groceries? Why can’t we just go into the store, get what we need, and go home? Why can’t everyone just get what they need? Why do we need money?” My mother had no response that satisfied me, and neither has anyone since. I grew up bewildered by the discipline of economics. Something never computed for me, not even after I read Samuelson’s infamous Macroeconomics – the classic textbook still used in universities – and passed an advanced placement exam with flying colors in my early 30s. I understood the equations. I could manipulate the numbers and produce the desired results. None of that presented any challenge to me. It just never made sense.

I was 40 when the lightning bolt struck and I got it. It was so simple and so painful: the field of economics as we know it is defined by scarcity. So much so, that many sources define economics as the study of the allocation of scarce resources. Scarcity is built into the field: whatever is not scarce is not included. Since I didn’t share in the assumption of scarcity, everything that followed from it was puzzling to me.

The dream of a moneyless society I have carried since being a child has never left me. I still trust that there can be enough resources for everyone’s basic needs; that there can be enough willingness to do all that needs doing without coercion; that there can be enough love and understanding to resolve all conflicts; and that there can be enough creativity and goodwill to work out a global system of resource allocation and coordination that is neither market-based nor centrally planned, and is instead based on voluntary participation.

I am, indeed, called naïve, idealistic, utopian.

Still, I ask: regardless of how likely you believe a collaborative future is, or how impossible you think that such a vision is, wouldn’t you rather live in such a world than the one we have?

 


[1] A similar approach, from a different perspective, has been proposed by economist Manfred Max-Neef.

 

This article is a passage from the book “Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Transforming the Legacy of Separation into a Future of Collaboration” by Miki Kashtan (Editors note). 


Douglas Mallette Lectures on a Resource Based Economy

I filmed this lecture and interview together with The Zeitgeist Movement in Oslo, Norway. Douglas Mallette gives here a somewhat deeper look into what a resource based economy is, how technology will play a role, and how RBE can be implemented in society.

The lecture:

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The interview:

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Pleiadian Gift Economy – an Equal-Value System of Economics

The equal-value system transcends the dichotomy of wealth and poverty as well as alternative money systems. It is a system for truly advanced civilizations in which everyone is valued and able to freely do what they love to do without contorting or selling themselves in order to “make money”.

The following excerpt from Millennium — Tools For the Coming Changes (ISBN: 0-9631320-3-2) by Lyssa Royal, pp. 113-115, provides the seed idea of the equal-value economic system (EVES). It is cited with permission from the authors.

Most people have not yet learned how to step into this state and let it serve them. Let us say that you could have everything you wanted whenever you wanted it. How then is wealth defined? There can be no wealth because it is only measured against a state of lack. Wealth is a measure of what you have compared to what others have — lack.

Some extraterrestrial societies (such as on several Pleiadian planets) have a system called the equal value system, which is a reflection of their beliefs about abundance and the free state of their society.

The equal-value system might sound simplistic, but it actually requires tremendous spiritual and emotional evolution to master. As an analogy, if you need food in that society, you simply walk into the supermarket, get the food and leave without paying. When someone comes to you for your service, you provide it without charge. This system reflects a balance of wealth that has no arbitrary, constantly shifting values. The foundation of thier wealth is a deep sense of value for each member of society. Everyone is eager to keep their world evolving by constantly following their creative excitement. [Bold face added — editor]

This type of planetary economy is a holistic unit. In criticizing this type of society, one might ask obvious questions such as, “Who takes out the garbage or performs the unpleasant tasks?”¹ In a society where creative freedom is encouraged and not suppressed, there are many inventors who create technology to deal with every challenge, garbage included. Free-energy devices have been created to handle all of the planet’s energy demands.

Without a government or a corporation hoarding profits and controlling new discoveries, the best interests of the society as a whole or as individuals are never overlooked. The spirit of the society is expressed through constant achievement and creative freedom rather than constant profits. This is a symptom of a healthy holistic organism. Where there is a need there is someone to fill the need. This might sound alien to you, but look at the many enthusiastic inventors in your world who want to promote alternative fuel sources but who are stopped by big business.

Any planet can eventually develop this type of society. However, it cannot happen now on Earth while you are in the present level of fear. If one day all the world leaders said, “Okay, now on we have the Pleiadian equal-value system,” there would be chaos! There would be tremendous hoarding, because you would not believe you deserve it. You would feel as if you had to grab as much as you could before someone changed their mind. Your planet is simply not emotionally ready for this type of system. There is too much invested in lack and victimhood. There is too much invested in the polarized belief of the have and have-not mentality.

There must be a deep internal transformation before you can embrace the Pleiadian equal-value system or your own version of the equal distribution of wealth. Communism was an immature attempt at an equal-value system. So is capitalism. A true equal-value system that supports society will not have any oppressive control, rigidity or constraints attached to it. Because society is tiring of the old game of lack and wealth and you are moving toward ideas that reflect self-responsibility, a precursor to an equal-value system will appear when the time is right.

Freedom begins at the individual level. However, you must remember that freedom and equality are inherent properties of your spirit. Once recognized, you must then begin exercising your freedom, otherwise you will continue the cycle of dependence and corruption in a downward spiral.

If you become more self-responsible and affiliate yourself with others who are making the same choice, you will always have what you need when you need it. Always. It is a very different way to live. These words do not convey the true depth of the meaning of freedom of the spirit, because words always fall short in such matters. Be aware that bondage is a state of mind and a state of heart.

Choose freedom, live that freedom, and watch your lives and your planet transform before your eyes.

Editor’s comment: The issue of “who takes out the garbage” need not be dependent on having technology take care of it. The cultivation of a spirit of service or “karma yoga” goes a long way to handling unpleasant tasks and is inevitably necessary — in any society. To discover more about the authors of this book, go to www.lyssaroyal.com