The mindset of business is changing from pursuit of cash profits to a pursuit of the greater good
GIFTS TO HUMANITYGiving without expectation, receiving without judgement
W hat do Wikipedia, a cafe in Ahmedabad, a social architect from San Francisco, a musician from Mumbai and the potluck ritual have in common? It’s a revolutionary model of economics called gift economy. Not too far back we felt the turbulence of a quavering economy across the globe. With the current greed-based economy model suffering a major stumble, attention has shifted onto the more altruistic give-based gift economy. In a family, the typical model of exchange is based on giving.
In a greed-based economy we operate from the rootthought of lack, we feel that there isn’t enough to go around and that we are in need. Obviously what follows is the creation of such an environment. When shifting to a give-based economy, the root thought is helping others, abundance and goodwill, and what follows is the creation of an abundant environment.
Physicist-turned-social architect from San Francisco, Alpha Lo, understands that to grow closer and wiser as a community, the concept of giving is essential. “I think what powers the gift-giving is the community, and also when people come in with a spirit of gratitude and caring,” says Alpha, as he builds a small but strong community through giving.
Vinod Sreedhar, who says his work is self- and ecology-awareness, was part of a programme called Random Acts of Kindness through which he helped others out. Wanting to apply this in all areas of his life, Vinod started accepting whatever remuneration clients gave him for his work. This took him from being just a musician, to being a writer, photographer, web designer and facilitator for trips to Ladakh and Kashmir as well. Letting his clients valuate his work without any negotiations has helped him drop stress, concentrate better on the task at hand, given him clarity in his life, and helped him align or avoid what does or doesn’t suit him. Vinod says, “Work should be something unique you offer to the world, without the expectation of being paid back.” There are times he has been paid handsomely, or barely anything, but his satisfaction comes from what he can give, not get. The Seva Cafe in Ahmedabad does not have fixed prices on its menu. Patrons pay whatever they find suitable, and even volunteer to help out in the daily running. This is a natural extension of our age-old custom of offering food to anyone who asked for it, without charge.
Potluck, originated from the term ‘potlatch’ which was a ceremony among groups and tribes on the northwest coast of the US and Canada. At these gatherings, a family leader hosted guests and held a feast for them. The main purpose of the potlatch is the re-distribution and reciprocity of wealth.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is the largest collection of shared knowledge in human history, and the people who support it are united by their love of learning, their intellectual curiosity, and their awareness that we know much more together, than any of us does alone. Expecting to raise more than $ 10 million by the mid of this year, Wikipedia could have easily gone the commercial way and sought sponsors. But what founder Jimmy Wales believes in is to let this knowledge pool be self-sustaining, free from the vice of advertisers.
Bestselling author Paulo Coelho runs his own pirated website where he puts up his latest books. He claims this has helped boost his sales considerably!
SO GIVE, AND AS THE GOOD BOOK SAYS, YOU WILL GET!
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