Dow Slides, Gift Economy Steady…

Everyone is thinking about the economy these days. There’s Wall Street and Main Street, and there are tens of thousands of people facing being put on the street because of losing their jobs or homes. There are billions of dollars moving from public coffers to businesses that have weak balance sheets and CEOs with weak ethics. This is being called a rescue, a bailout, a scam. You pick.

There is another kind of economy in America … always has been and always will be. It’s called the gift economy, and it’s the economy based on what people do for one another voluntarily without money changing hands. The gift economy depends on people doing right by one another, rather than defining themselves and others as being “to the right or to the left.” As the capitalistic economy declines, doing right by one another is what keeps the fabric of our community stitched together.

For more than 30 years, people in Savannah have made contributions to one another in the gift economy via Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy. Our “investment vehicle” is a simple question: What can people come to mean to one another?

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