Thursday, 15 September 2016

Gift Economy - Rethinking GDP and productivity

Reading a very enlightening article about the "gift economy". The most common example is the donating of blood for free. That is not part of the "market economy".

In African terms this also refers to our caring for our relatives by paying for their studies, giving them room and board, etc. We have a more neighbourly approach to our community in which we share or give to others when they do not have.

It does not mean giving when I do not have, but rather haring when I have surplus.

"When a parent cooks for their family that is just as productive as a chef cooking for customers in a restaurant, but no cash changes hands in payment."

 In economic terms, when we give to our friends and neighbours it reduces GDP (Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced in a period)

In today's world we need to rethink the measurement of our nationals wealth by only using GDP.

"We should think of the economy as an interacting mix of market and non-market practices"


Community is woven from gifts. Unlike today's market system, whose built-in scarcity compels competition in which more for me is less for you, in a gift economy the opposite holds. Because people in gift culture pass on their surplus rather than accumulating it, your good fortune is my good fortune: more for you is more for me. Wealth circulates, gravitating toward the greatest need. In a gift community, people know that their gifts will eventually come back to them, albeit often in a new form. Such a community might be called a "circle of the gift."

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