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Donarism: The Gift and Sharing Economy

The end of communism and capitalism

The communist civilizations era collapsed with the Berlin Wall in 1989. Our economies being increasingly fragile, capitalist civilizations will not be eternal either. The excessive accumulation of capital by a tiny part of the population exacerbates tensions day by day. During recent years, Oxfam started to make a lot of noise by yearly issuing two warnings that are explicitly showing the sense of urgency.

A handful of rich people own more than half of the planet

First, Oxfam calculated that in 2010, the combined wealth of the world's 388 wealthiest people was equivalent to the world's poorest half of the world's 3.5 billion people. The most prosperous men's and women's assets growth was tremendous over the next four years. Such that in 2014 it was only necessary to group the 80 wealthiest assets to obtain the 3.5 billion most poor people combined wealth equivalent. And five years later, by 2019, only 26 of the richest were needed to match the bottom half of the world's population with the least resources 1 .

1% richer than 99%

Then, along the lines set out by the Occupy movement, Oxfam projected figures on the wealth growth of the richest to the rest of the world. They calculated that the combined wealth of the 1% of the richest among us should surpass the combined wealth of the remaining 99% of the world population by 2016.2 . That showed the accuracy of the popular movement's slogan. Some also wanted to calculate the 1% versus 99% exact threshold in practical terms, whether relating to the world or one's country. The former figure ($32,400) is used by the conservatives to reassure the West's middle class. On the contrary, the income needed to count among the United States 1% wealthiest ($421,926) is much more alarming regarding economic unfairness. 3 .

Growth and wealth concentration

For centuries, our capitalist economy stands on uninterrupted growth. Several voices are rising today, even among the richest, to sound the alarm. Indeed, despite the laudable efforts of this movement towards "sustainable development," we are close to reaching the practical limits of this economy based on consumption growth and wealth accumulation by a tiny number of individuals.

Donarism: the sharing and giving economy

Matriarchies present a more sustainable economic system in the long run. It is the sharing and giving economy (or "Gift Economy"). We call it "donarism" (from the Latin "donare": give) as opposed to other well-known economic systems such as capitalism, communism, or socialism. Donarism means the equitable sharing of livelihood resources within the population primarily. Then, community members kindly offer other goods and services among themselves. That helps build lasting bonds between the inhabitants.

Offer gifts to one another

Offering a good or service as a gift without requiring anything in return, is a very effective marketing technique, already commonly used in commerce to ensure consumer loyalty4 . By generalizing this approach to the entire local economy within the community, the experience of matriarchies demonstrates that it maintains healthy relationships among community members. Furthermore, this system of circulation of goods and services based on gift-giving allows establishing a sustainable development genuine marketplace.

Already a reality in ICT

This type of gift economy already exists very concretely in ICT. The free software world has established an efficient and widespread system of values that has created a reputation based economy. The relationships stand on people's self-esteem as well as the prestige and recognition that comes with having certain activities succeed5 .

Fair sharing of livelihoods

On the other hand, the sharing of livelihoods is still far from being a reality in our prosperous societies. In 1989, the shameful existence of Canadian children's poverty was a fact that the Federal government unanimously promised to eliminate by the year 2000, for the beginning of the third millennium. We are now thirty years later, and twenty years passed the solemnly committed deadline. And there is still one in five poor children in Canada, according to the Campaign 2000 latest report6 . No child or even no citizen deserves not to be able to lodge, clothe, and feed properly. Poverty must be eliminated immediately, for all.

Universal basic income

A guaranteed minimum income is a possibility mentioned earlier. The formula has refined in recent decades. Many prefer to speak today about a universal basic income (UBI)7 . Finland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had plans to implement a basic income8 . Last year, there were results coming out from experiments in Finland and Canada.

The amount that will be granted to all unconditionally varies greatly depending on the proposals. Indeed, UBI is an idea that seduces leaders from the entire political spectrum. Progressists see the possibility of eliminating poverty, finally. But liberals and conservatives are also looking at UBI positively. They see it as a way to reduce the massive and inefficient state bureaucracy. Another concern of the ruling class is to prevent social turmoil, knowing very well that profound economic disturbance is in the short term forecast.

Not surprisingly, at this point, the results of UBI experiments did not fully satisfy the majority of observers9 . Although there are more than enough benefits from the past forty years of trials, to implement UBI on a global scale10 . Whatever the chosen formula, it must ensure that no one remains below the poverty line. That is the minimum objective to be achieved.

Eliminating children's and seniors' poverty and isolation

In our asset-building society, a large number of parents and children begin their lives in an isolated nuclear family. Without the benefit of guidance, adequately equipped housing, or sufficient financial resources. Just at the time of their life when they would need it most. At the end of this ordeal, a golden retreat supposedly dangles before us, a dream far from materializing for everyone. Letting that many children start their lives in an inadequate environment and that many elders end up miserable and isolated is not acceptable.

The pleasure of offering others what we do best

Our matriarchy’s matriages will naturally offer better conditions of guidance and housing to young children as well as to the elderly. But in terms of financial resources, the universal basic income is for us the first stage of economic donarism. That will ensure the entire population can feed, clothe themselves, and find adequate housing. Digital communications will facilitate the pooling of our resources and our energies. A multitude of new networks will emerge. Genuinely original goods and services will circulate free of charge. These new economic exchanges will be animated above all by the rewarding pleasure of emancipating through what we do best, and that we can offer to others11 .

Our societies well equipped to become the world leaders of the digital revolution

The political aviacracy, our families in matriages, and the economic donarism will allow our societies to become the world leaders of the digital revolution (DR). The breadth and geographical stability of our families will allow us to develop our civilization rather than expand it. Ultimately, we will be able to put a brake on continued growth. And to focus instead on developing more effective ways and techniques to take advantage of our skills and share our knowledge.

Put an end to the spread of our populations

The sprawl of our suburbs swallows horrendous amounts of energy and resources. These will finally serve much more collectively exciting projects. Examples include revolutionary commuting alternatives, food self-sufficiency, local renewable energies’ production, and distribution, as well as artistic performances more original and impressive than ever before.

Protect ourselves from attacks or cataclysms

It is necessary to add a vital aspect concerning the DR. It generates locally produced energies distributed using a point-to-point network, just like the Internet. But the Internet network technology was initially designed by the US military, to guard against a possible enemy attack. Indeed, at that time, it would have been enough to target some neuralgic points of a telecommunication network, then centralized, to completely paralyze it.

Our electricity distribution network suffers from the same weakness today. And two very present threats weigh on it: a climatic catastrophe and a terrorist attack. There was a foretaste of this severe risk during the 1998 North American Ice Storm. Fortunately, at the time, the tragedy was avoided because the prolonged breakdowns were limited to a relatively small area. The surrounding communities were, therefore, able to organize effective relief for the people in distress.

What if the ice storm had a much more significant impact?

Imagine what could happen in the future if the electricity grid throughout Ontario, Quebec, and the Northeastern United States was completely disabled for a very long time. That could happen if the whole of this area suffered a climate catastrophe of a much larger scale than that of 1998, something very seriously announced by our scientists. Or if a terrorist attack succeeds with few very well targeted means, to entirely paralyze the electricity network without being possible to set it up again within a reasonable time. With the events of recent years, the seriousness of the terrorist threat does not need to be justified.

A decentralized energy network thanks to local and shared production

The most exceptional quality of the Internet is to allow information to flow from one point to another without knowing in advance the path that it will take. It is virtually impossible to prevent the flow of information without destroying the entire network.

With large matrilocal families grouped in matriages, resources will be stable and numerous. Our communities will quickly be able to set up a distributed network of electric power-sharing. Indeed, with lower prices and anticipated power gains, each family will gradually be able to produce their electricity locally. Our matriarchy will then have a way to put back its energy sharing network on foot much faster in case of catastrophe12 . Besides, it would discourage any terrorist attack that could target this great weakness.

Develop technological know-how that will be of great value

By becoming the world leader of the DR, our communities will be able to experiment and develop technological know-how that will be of great value during the transition from capitalism to donarism. Several existing or newly created technology companies will be able to take advantage of these skills. They will offer this know-how to countries that have not yet chosen matriarchy so that they did not have the opportunity to take as much advance than us.

Unusual economic pillars

In every community, it will be crucial to identify the existing organizations that could support the transition to matriarchy. In the Canadian province of Quebec, the Desjardins Cooperative Group and the Deposit and Investment Fund are of great interest. They will play a critical role in the transition to economic donarism, serving as bulwarks against economic upheavals. Indeed, we can expect capitalism to fight hard not to lose its hegemony.

Public electricity grids ready for sharing

There are many public electric utilities in Canada. They serve millions of customers with the most extensive grids in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. It will most probably be necessary to review fundamental aspects of their hierarchical and centralized operations. But the fact that they are already public gives a step ahead when radical economic changes will occur. Already among the largest hydroelectricity producers in the world, many of these companies are world leaders in renewable energy production. Their organizational model will not harmonize seamlessly with the collaborative network that will emerge in the coming years. However, the fact that many are already public-owned companies may facilitate the use of their facilities for the new local energy sources sharing and distribution.

The rich experience of existing cooperatives

Finally, the cooperative organizational form will play a significant role in this DR. The very nature of the cooperative model corresponds directly to the essence of the emerging collaborative movement. Existing cooperatives will serve as models for many new flagship cooperatives that will naturally promote the transition to this new form of sharing economy that is donarism. For example, we will need networks of local, regional, and national cooperatives to organize domestic production and sharing of energy and food, as well as for 3D production of various objects and buildings. And to extend and generalize electrified collective and individual transportation, without forgetting, of course, a universal, open and free access infrastructure to a wireless Internet.

References

1 « The wealth of these 80 individuals is now the same as that owned by the bottom 50% of the global population [...] the number of billionaires men and women who have the same amount of wealth as that of the bottom half of the planet has declined rapidly over the past five years. In 2010, it took 388 billionaires to equal the wealth of the bottom half of the world's population; by 2014, the figure had fallen to just 80 billionaires. » (p. 4)
Wealth: Having it all and wanting more, Oxfam issue report, January 2015 and
« ... last year 26 people owned the same wealth as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, down from 43 people the year before. » (p. 5)
Public good or Private wealth? Oxfam briefing paper – January 2019
2 « If this trend continues of an increasing wealth share to the richest, the top 1% will have more wealth than the remaining 99% of people in just two years, as shown on Figure2, with the wealth share ofthe top 1% exceeding 50% by 2016. » (p. 2)
Wealth: Having it all and wanting more, Oxfam issue report, January 2015
3 « Interestingly, Americans do not have to be extremely wealthy, in order to claim a spot among that 1%. According to the Global Rich List, a $32,400 annual income will easily place American school teachers, registered nurses, and other modestly-salaried individuals, among the global 1% of earners. Contrarily, the top 1% of wage earners strictly in the United States must pull in at least $421,926 to make the cut, according to a 2018 report by the Economic Policy Institute. »
Daniel Kurt, Are You in the World's Top 1 Percent?
Investopedia, September 25th, 2019 (visited February 17th, 2020)
4 « Gift giving has been the interpersonal glue of human society for thousands of years[...] Gift giving is now catching on with brands as a way to connect with consumers. »
Jim Taschetta, Why Gift Marketing Is the Next Big Thing
5 « Another peculiarity is the relative purity of the open-source culture. Most gift cultures are compromised – either by exchange economy relationships such as trade in luxury goods, or by command-economy relationships such as family or clan groupings. No significant analogues of these exist in the open-source culture; thus, ways of gaining status other than peer repute are virtually absent. » (p. 85)
Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar : Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary,
O’Reilly Media, 2001
6 « Of particular concern is the rate of preschool children under six which is higher at 19.6%, representing 462,360 children. »
2020: Setting the Stage for a Poverty-Free Canada
Campaign 2000 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada
7 « Basic income has a universal vocation. Replacing old programs is obvioulsly part of the goal [...] Let's think about social welfare. Indeed, all citizens would have guaranteed access to prime goods. Programs to help parents would also disappear because children would get a basic income from birth. » (loose translation)
Original quote: « Le revenu de citoyenneté a une vocation universelle. Il est évident que le remplacement des anciens programmes fait partie de l'objectif Pensons à l'aide sociale. En effet, tous les citoyens auraient un accès garanti aux biens premiers. Les programmes destinés à aider les parents seraient aussi remplacés puisque les enfants obtiendraient un revenu de citoyenneté dès la naissance. » (p. 79)
Michel Bernard et Michel Chartrand, Manifeste pour un revenu de citoyenneté
Éditions du Renouveau québécois, 1999
8 « ...this national basic income would replace all other benefit payments, and would be paid to all adults regardless of whether or not they receive any other income. The Dutch city of Utrecht is also planning to introduce a basic income [...] Switzerland is also considering introducing a national basic income. »
Adam Boult, Finland is considering giving every citizen €800 a month
The Telegraph, 2015-12-06
10 « Experiments have already shown us cash transfers make people happier, healthier, and free them to pursue what they are interested in. The myths about basic income have been consistently undermined, particularly the idea that it would decrease work in any meaningful way. More experiments will keep telling us that giving people cash is generally good in most of the ways we measure positive outcomes. »
Tyler Prochazka, Basic income’s experimental wave is over: Time for policies
Basic Income Eatrh Network, June 4, 2019 (visited February 18th, 2020)
11 « Now the zero-marginal cost revolution is beginning to affect other commercial sectors. The precipitating agent is an emerging general-purpose technology platform – the internet of things. The convergence of the communications internet with the fledgling renewable energy internet and automated logistics internet in a smart, inter-operable internet-of-things system is giving rise to a third industrial revolution. [...] Hundreds of millions of people are already transferring bits and pieces of their lives from capitalist markets to the emerging global collaborative commons, operating on a ubiquitous internet-of-things platform. The great economic paradigm shift has begun. »
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/31/capitalism-age-of-free-internet-of-things-economic-shift Jeremy Rifkin, Capitalism is making way for the age of free
theguardian / Economics, 2014-03-31.
12 « Even if the electrical transformers were to flame out, if a fully functioning Energy Internet were operational across every region of the country, local communities could go off-grid and continue to generate their own green electricity, sharing it with their neighbors and businesses on microgrids, keeping the power and lights on, at least long enough to keep society functioning. » (p. 294)
Jeremy Rifkin, The Zero Marginal Cost Society
St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2014

Created by admin. Last Modification: Friday March 6, 2020 11:56:37 EST by andre.