On growing a local gift economy

At Burning Man and Rainbow gatherings people feed each other and give each other stuff. Its a gift economy – there is no money or barter.

Is it possible to create a gift economy culture in a town or city? Or are these gift economies limited to festivals where people come to celebrate?

I think it maybe possible to grow a gift economy in a town….

The method would be to start out small. Create a petri dish, a prototype, a experimental place where people initially try out this gift culture.

And then you grow it bigger.

The idea is to use a gift economy circle. In this circle would gift each other services.

One way to do this is to have a circle where people write down on slips of papers services they would like to offer to the group – massage, graphic design, carpentry help, computer help etc. People can then grab from the middle what they like. People can also offer things into the middle.

So in addition to being a potlatch for stuff , it is also kind of like a potlatch for services. Its very similar to the local currency/economy circle discussed in the last blog with a twist that the services are now free and you don’t have to trade or barter for them. And you would grow it in a similar way, allowing the circle to attract more people and then adding more circles in a local area until you have a network of circles.


A video about how you can in general birth new social structures using circles and cells.


4 thoughts on “On growing a local gift economy

  1. the differences between the barter offerings circle and gift offerings circle are very subtle, indeed. another circle you could try would be a needs circle, wherein people write down their needs and throw them in the middle for other people to service. you might try a gift version of this and a barter version and see how what happens in the needs circles compares to what happens in the offerings circles.

  2. This is awesome alpha! Thanks for creating this. I’ll make sure to tweet it too! I’m looking forward to this weeks gift economy circle- have been really trying to meet writing timelines, and haven’t been able to make it the last couple of weeks.

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