What is a Gift? Facilitating a Hybrid Gift Economy - Fundition Update

in steem •  25 days ago

Most of us know the joy of giving gifts with friends and family. But many of us do not know the joy of giving gifts outside of our closest circles. Steem is helping us to grow our community in new ways and offers a platform that can encourage giving and sharing. Dare I say that steem is helping many of us expand our concept of friendship.

A gift economy is an economy where items are given as gifts with no expectation for any direct value. Giving gifts with no expectation of anything in return is an act of letting go of control, an act of generosity and an act of giving towards the greater health of a community or society.

Our dominant economy operates differently. Goods and services are typically not exchanged without receiving the equivalent value in money.

Gifts and Trust

One of the differences between gifting and selling is that we gift to those people that we trust and honor in our lives. We typically sell our products and services to anyone that is willing to pay for them. What if we also trusted and honored everyone we sold to?

We trust in money. An exchange ends with a specific expected outcome - money in our hands. With trust in money and with money in our hands we don't need trust in people to operate.

Within our steem communities many of us can find common interests and common goals. Many of us are already operating in a gift economy on steem via sharing steem, sharing sbd, delegating, etc.

I'd like to our marketplace facilitate the ability to offer gifts to each other in a familiar format. I will be offering a series of updates and features to Homesteaders Co-op over the coming weeks to facilitate gifting.

Hybrid Gift Economy

I'd like to suggest a hybrid gift economy. Hybrid because our vendors need to make money for the hard work to create their products and offer their services and I don't want to take that away or devalue it.

Unfortunately most of us cannot envision ourselves living in a world where all exchanges are gifted because we are so entrenched in a culture that demands money to operate.

But I do hope that we can explore together what benefits come to us not as individuals, but as a community, when we operate in a gift economy. How might this inform the future that we want to build for ourselves and our children?

The first update that I've made is the ability to distinguish gifts from products that are for sale. Vendors can offer something as a gift to anyone that would like to receive it. The recipient will still need to pay for shipping - unless the vendor decides to opt to pay for shipping.

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Communication about a gift's value

I've also added the requirement for the recipient of a gift to specify how the gift will be improving their life. This is significant because it allows the recipient to think about the value of the gift, not in dollars or steem, but in an idea or expression of how their life will be better.

This communication may just build more community relationships by starting a conversation between gifter and recipient. This prompt also encourages the recipient to think about their relationship to the gift. On the other hand, it can also help vendors weed out individuals that they would rather not offer their gifts to. After all they should reserve the right to gift to who they want.

Gifts are coming online

My partner and I have personally already added several seeds as gifts into our Seeds of Abundance store in the form of seeds that we would like to share (such as the cilantro seeds pictured above)

Gifts work with virtual / downloadable items too. Little Worm Farm is offering 3 of his e-books regarding vermi-composting and soldier flies as gifts. (For virtual products obviously shipping does not apply.)

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I sure would love to hear your thoughts about the direction this is heading. I look forward to share more updates as this progresses within Homesteaders Co-op.


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Thank you so much @pennsif :)

Amen and right-on. Gifting builds goodwill among people which means more than anything else. You never know what may come of it, but its usually surprising and virtually always good. To help people, I've given away more product than has been sold and know that folks out here on the reservation are unlikely to respond in-kind. However, growing the spirit of community and mutual caring means a lot more to me.

The communication requirement is a good idea for consideration of gifts to new online acquaintances.

I frequently barter in ways that may appear to be gifts to some. Often the other side of the trade is simply asking people to consider telling others about the product. If someone is given the product to solve a problem, just hearing back about what it did for them is enough. I have so many wonderful stories about people that have been helped which I love to share when visiting. That's worth a lot for both business and spirit.

Keep up the good work.

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Thanks for the positive feedback and encouragement @ppmsilver :) That is great that you are offering gifts and bartering with your local community.

Gifting builds goodwill among people which means more than anything else.

Great point and observation! More goodwill is benefiting everyone around.

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It's not much, but hopefully my first 25SP delegated will help a bit

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Frankly inspiring. I've never been able to make up my mind as to whether I'll (very inexpensively) sell or give away the produce from my sharing garden.

A gift economy is an economy where items are given as gifts with no expectation for any direct value. Giving gifts with no expectation of anything in return is an act of letting go of control, an act of generosity and an act of giving towards the greater health of a community or society.

That paragraph convinced me that the value I'll receive in return will be the bonding over the food I produce and over the methods of production. Things produced in the area set aside for sharing will be offered for free, provided that the people that want it are willing to listen to what I can tell them about permaculture. Maybe it'll help sprout more seeds of change, or maybe not. But I'm gonna sow the seed.

Thanks for this inspiration. :)

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I love it! A food trade for receiving knowledge. Double gifting :)


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What a great post!!! Yes and I am witness to the gifting economy. I was so happy when I recieved my gifts, I could envision how much larger this year's garden will be!

On the recieving end, pure joy comes of it and a massive respect for the gifter for putting the thought and energy into it.

Ypu made my life better because of it for sure!!! Thanks again (you know who you are 😁).

Keep feeding the world your good vibes! I love gifting too and obviously to the right people. A little on a different note, I like to hand out socks to those who live on the streets in New York. It's cheap but super valuable...

Thanks for sharing

Ps: @Sagescrub, you're defenitely a community builder! Thanks for all you do.

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Hey @senorcoconut thanks for the encouraging words. I am glad you support this vision - it will be interesting to see where it leads :) That is very generous and thoughtful that you hand out socks to the homeless! It seems the world is reciprocating to you the generous acts that you have been making.

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Thanks @sagescrub, truthfully, I am not looking for the reciprocation but I'll take it with open arms 😁!

One of my gypsie cousins told me the best thing you can give a traveler is a clean pair of socks!!! So true.