Today we live in a failing economic system where nearly every bit of nature has been productised, every relationship turned into a service, and almost every human exchange monetised. The core idea of ‘consumer’ has spread rapidly, becoming the central defining identity of people around the world. Trashing ecosystems along the way and numbing hearts and minds as we try and keep up with the endless pursuit of stuff.
The growth of the global consumerist monoculture has had significant impact on the breakdown of human communities. Where the ancient practice of gifting each other help and support has all but vanished. And the increasing demands of ‘modern’ life leave little time to give and look out for others. Alongside this, deep cuts to local services mean that there has never been more need for giving and gifting to help support, sustain and nourish communities. The problem extends to business, where new forms of restorative enterprise struggle for critical early-stage support with limited incentives to migrate talent seeking more meaningful work outside of the material-based growth economy.
But there is real momentum building around collaboration and sharing platforms, with new forms of generosity and gifting practices emerging.
Because happiness, creativity, well-being and a sense of community are some of the by-products of giving and participating that are being recognised as truly valuable. Things that money can never buy. The rise of the citizen is also underway, with more people seeking to be co-creators, producers and participants in the world not just consumers of it. Whichever way you look at it, a more beautiful world needs more evenly distributed wealth and resources. And it needs more balance. Where giving and participating are as highly valued as earning and consuming. (See Charles Eisenstein for more inspiration).
We are working on a number of projects with the ambition of growing the Generosity Economy such as:
Good for Nothing - a growing creative network across 25 cities and 6 countries who gift their skills to help accelerate the impact of change makers and social innovators. A generosity movement, if you will.
Open Labs - a project which brings skills and collective intelligence around medical and healthcare challenges.
Currently we use our own energy plus our friends' that we've made along the way but we are also seeking funding partners to develop tools, approaches and infrastructure to help accelerate the growth of the Generosity Economy. Making it simple, fun and awesome to be able to ‘give to life’ alongside ‘earning a living’.