Episode 58 – What is a Gift Economy?

What is a gift economy?What exactly is a gift economy and how does it work?

In this podcast gift economy aficionado Frederick Malouf joins me for a discussion about a different kind of economy, not based on money. Gift economies eschew both bartering and money in favor of a system that runs on abundance rather than scarcity.

The Gift Economy and Creativity

A gift economy runs on the assumption that doing what you love can benefit others and yourself.

As Frederick says, money may not be abundant but creativity is, and gifting makes use of this creativity.

As I’ve come to understand the concept, a gift economy runs on social capital.  When you give to others, you build a sense of gratitude and a desire to respond in kind. This is what’s known as social capital.  Those who give the most build up the most social capital and this social capital enables them to get things or services they want or need from other members of the community.

Frederick explains how this system can be scaled to work in larger more modern communities.

Gift Economy Resources

If nothing else, I hope this discussion spurs inquiry and consideration of this and other economic systems because our current system, as it stands, is not sustainable.

For more information about gift economies you may want to check out the following links.

Sustainable Human

Sociocracy 3.0 – a decision making platform

World Cafe


The Gifters – Frederick’s Facebook group

You may also want to check out my interview with Perry Gruber about another alternative economic system, Copiosis.

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