File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 296


To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2008 18:32:21 -0600
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Gift Economy


I don't have any original ideas, never have.
But I have been fortunate enough to
1) learn to read; and
2) been exposed to brilliance of other people.

I am working on the asked "refrigerator question", but there are so  
many ideas it will take a bit of time to compose. It is much simpler  
to apply GIFT ECONOMY to the arts than to industrial product  
manufacture.
But I'll do my best (I type/key with 2 index fingers - it is a long/ 
stupid story as to why I never learned to type).

As far as human nature, it changes. In the 14th century most human  
beings could not even imagine being an "individual". The very idea of  
"progress" is a relatively new idea in human thought.

Our ancestors understood and lived in a Gift Economy. Later ancestors  
forgot it. Now as Information is the biggest Exchange Economy  
commodity we are moving back towards the Gift Economy, material things  
will get cheaper, better and finally free as our tools/technologies  
change how we think.

The idea of what defines "success" as a business or as a human being  
is, slowly, moving in the Gift direction.

Now we have the capacity to destroy most of the life on earth (which  
has already happened at least 5 times that we know of). So the race is  
on. Will wisdom and intelligence get us to the Gift or will ignorance,  
fear and greed lead us to the extinction graveyard.

Gift gets my vote, my effort.

"Most likely impossible" is a vote for species failure.

Part of the problem or part of the solution. Your choice.
As puppeteers, as storytellers, the job is to take the wisdom of  
mystics, make it understandable, and spread it far and wide.

What is art but a way of seeing?
Saul Bellow

I saw the short film WHY MAN CREATES  (Saul Bass) and it transformed  
my life. When I was a teacher I showed the film every semester.

 From the film: a cartoon snail sez, "Have you ever thought that  
radical ideas threaten institutions, then become institutions, and in  
turn reject radical ideas which threaten institutions?" to which the  
other snail replies "No." and the first says dejectedly, "Gee, for a  
minute I thought I had something."

- moynihan
large primate

On Nov 18, 2008, at 4:51 PM, Christopher Hudert wrote:

>   Seems to me that, in practice, a totally gift economy - like true
> communism - is most likely impossible. The theory is good, but leaves
> out several key components like greed, human nature, the need/desire  
> to
> get ahead and/or improve your lot in life, fulfillment of true needs  
> in
> a timely fashion, a geographically vast society, and so on.
>
>   It should be noted that elements of a gift economy do exist in most
> societies. Anybody that is non-profit should know that. But as noted
> below, even the idea of a gift economy is a bit off the ideal as the
> expectation of reciprocal gifts, whether given to the giver or passed
> on to others, contradicts the idea that there is no explicit agreement
> for immediate or future exchange. You are expected to give as well as
> receive, it's just not set exactly what that giving is or to whom.
> Exceptions apply (like organ donation).
>
>   For those interested, I've pasted below the first two paragraphs  
> from
> the wikipedia entry, FWIW. For more info you can go to gifteconomy.com
> or gifteconomy.net, or google "gift economy" and you'll come up with
> lots of stuff.
>
>   Most functional economies are based on some sort of supply and  
> demand
> - the most basic element of economics. This even applies to art and
> puppet shows. If no one wants it, it won't be of much value (though
> that may change). If not much of it is available (limited supply -
> there is only one of you and/or your show) and lots of people want it
> (you/your show) it can command much money or goods in exchange. Other
> market influences (such as if they can afford it, even if they want  
> it)
> also apply, but that is the root of the system most of us on this list
> work on.
>
> Christopher
>
> A gift economy is a social theory[1] in which goods and services are
> given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future quid pro
> quo. Typically, a gift economy occurs in a culture or subculture that
> emphasizes social or intangible rewards for solidarity and generosity:
> karma, honor, loyalty or other forms of gratitude.[citation needed] In
> some cases, simultaneous or recurring giving serves to circulate and
> redistribute valuables within a community. This can be considered a
> form of reciprocal altruism. Sometimes there is an implicit  
> expectation
> of the return of comparable goods or services, political support, or
> the gift being later passed on to a third party. However, in what is
> considered to be in the true spirit of gift economics, many times
> giving is done without any expectation of reciprocity.[citation  
> needed]
> The concept of a gift economy stands in contrast to a planned economy
> or a market or barter economy.[citation needed] In a planned economy,
> goods and services are distributed by explicit command and control
> rather than informal custom; in barter or market economies, an  
> explicit
> quid pro quo =97 an exchange of money or some other commodity =97 is
> established before the transaction takes place. In practice, most  
> human
> societies blend elements of all of these, in varying degrees.
>
>
> On Nov 18, 2008, at 1:24 PM, Michael Moynihan wrote:
>
>> The best understanding of a GIFT ECONOMY is to read Hyde's book.
>> (I also read his TRICKSTER book and have done several plays based  
>> upon
>> Trickster stories from around the world)
>>
>> There are many historical examples from around the world.
>> But here in the USA (where I live) there are mini gift economies that
>> we take for granted.
>> Blood Banks
>> Organ Donation
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