Slow Money? How About No Money?

This is a very interesting talk given by Dmitry Orlov at the Green Life Eco Fest March 2, 2011. Dmitry grew up in Russia and has witnessed the Soviet collapse and now the US collapse. He thinks we should be talking about a No money economy and gives some helpful tips at the end on how we can move back towards a more sustainable gift and barter economy.

Some notes on the talk, so you can get an idea what he has to say:

Various types of exchange (very shorthand, he has a lot more interesting things to say about them)

  • Trade – monopoly, money, social status, abstract units.
  • Tribute – Donations, charity. How much you give away (or if you are conquered
  • Barter – Take into account someone else’s needs. Not an abstract, impersonal exchange.
  • Gift – Presupposes reciprocity. You don’t give it never expecting it back.
  • Generosity involves a balance. Overly generous is bad, not generous enough is bad. Gift-based relationship

    “Growth is Over”

    “Every culture started as a gift economy. This type is well suited to survival.”

    The Gift Economy is the Normal Economy:

    Basic guidelines to a gift economy, although Dmitry Orlov think everyone should know these naturally, I have to confess I didn’t know all of this myself:

  • don’t give money (actually I like getting money as a gift I have to confess–oops!)
  • don’t give the same gift to everyone
  • re-gifting isn’t generally a good idea
  • selling/complaining (no,no)
  • boasting about gifts you’ve given
  • giving too generous a gift — onerous
  • reciprocation is expected
  • not a trivial item
  • not something you don’t like
  • we don’t usually keep gifts secret (not sure about this is this true?)

Gifts bring out the best in humankind and speak to our strengths.

Impersonal Gifts are Not Gifts At All:

Largess is not generosity. If the gift cannot be reciprocated. Charitable donations are not gifts. This type of giving does not give rise to gratitude. It gives rise to resentment, dependency and unjustified feelings of entitlement.

Charity immediately becomes an entitlement. A gift that can never be reciprocated becomes an abuse or insult…”crumbs from the master’s table…”

Myth: “The industrial economy can smoothly scale down to boutique size….
And just serve the super-rich.”

“Slow money? We need to talk about No money.”

“Nature does not respond to economic stimulous.”

“Money will Loose Respect”

“This economy is driven by gravity.”

2/3 of college students are moving back in with their parents.

Saying goodbye to the antipodes…(what you can do now)

  • don’t define yourself too well — say you are a freelancer or consultant etc
  • don’t get pegged down into mainstream categories
  • anything you can do for yourself, find a way to start doing it
  • create closed cycle systems
  • reduce dependence on institutions
  • shy away from monetary exchanges
  • move towards gift and barter exchanges

Want more from Dmitry Orlov? Try this article: Definancialisation, Deglobalisation, Relocalisation

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Sebastian Howard


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    Sebastian Howard

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