File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 314


To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 06:27:24 -0800
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Gift Economy


I'm not trying to pile on here, but most of the "freebies" or gifts  
that you mention here are what would be called, in the language of  
sales, loss-leaders. Even the corner heroin dealer knows what a loss- 
leader is. No one in sales would consider developing an economy around  
loss-leaders.

-Bill Elston

On Nov 18, 2008, at 11:36 PM, Michael Moynihan wrote:

> If I gave the impression that the Gift Economy that I advocate exists
> now, I must apologize for the astonishingly inarticulateness and lack
> of clarity of my writing.
>
> My world, our world, is dominated by a hyper capitalist Exchange
> economy. The present economic meltdown that harms all but the wealthy,
> their paid speculators, gamblers and servants is not sustainable. It
> has never been sustainable. When the great depression of the 20th
> Century happened, it was a warning, sign and inevitable. A variety of
> corrections were available, even though severely limited by
> nationalism and technology. The USA's way out was a world war.
>
> The present worldwide fiscal chaos could lead to a rethinking, re-
> visioning of the economy. But the Gift Economy I advocate will, even
> under the best conditions, will take decades if not longer. I
> certainly will be gone  before the Gift replaces Exchange. My hope is
> that the seeds I plant will improve my children's world and their
> children's.
>
> But even in the depth of this mess there are glimpses of change away
> from the old rules that have dominated the world exchange economies.
> Example, between 1971 and 1989 a standard 17-cubic foot refrigerator
> declined in price by a third while becoming 27% more energy efficient
> and adding new features, such as ice-making. In 1988 Radio Shack sold
> a cell phone for $1,500. Ten years later they list a better one for
> $200. Now an even better one, sometimes with a camera, is less than
> $50 or even offered free as a come-on for a cell phone plan. Here in
> Milwaukee, Cricket Communications is setting up and offering prices
> for phone and broadband that are giving Ameritech and Time warner a
> run for their money. Many if not most people under 30 do not even have
> a wired phone, just a cell.
>
> In California, Apple wanted to give computers away free to students
> because they knew the money was in software and OS upgrades. The state
> would not let them. Someday the state will get out of the way, maybe.
>
> - moynihan

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