Article Index


Promoting non-monetary
the economies of
Sharing &
Fingerbook version 0.1




A physicist, a chemist and economist are stranded on a desert island with food in cans and no way to open it. "If I climb the tree and throw the cans at exactly the right angle, they will hit these stones and break open", said the physicist. "I have much easier way" began the chemist, "if we put sea water on the top and boil it with sunlight through the economists thick glasses, the pressure difference will burst open the can." "I have an even easier way" boasted the economist "first we assume we have a can opener…"

This project assumes that the money system itself is central to the problems of industrial capitalism. The existing money based economies both permits and promotes resource consumption at an unsustainable rate and the inequitable distribution of wealth. Money permits the value of labor to be divorced from the actual product or service being produced and thus fosters unethical (though often legal) economic power relations. If alternatives to money based economies are not developed, the planets ecology will collapse under the materialist desires of our current culture.

What is it all about?

We plan to research, develop, promote and integrate three "traditional" economic concepts: barter, sharing and gifting.

Who is "we"?

The project is open. Several people from Twin Oaks community are involved. A European environmental youth network called EYFA (European Youth for Action) is involved. Maybe you will join?

Are there any resources?

The foundation for Deep Ecology has granted $3500 for this project and Twin Oaks Community's Movement Support has adopted the project and will sponsor it with hours.

Where do we start?

Barter: We plan to build on existing knowledge of barter systems, which are in practice on several continents through what are called LET Systems (Local Exchange and Trading). We will examine the common barriers these systems face and what causes their failure in an effort to inoculate future systems from these obstacles and threats.

Sharing: One of the institutions with the greatest experience with sharing is the intentional community. These groups represent the state of the art in sharing in industrial society. We will examine what makes a community successful and what sharing models can be exported those living outside of them.

Gifting: The most radical and least practiced of these concepts is economies based on gifting rather than markets. Imagine the fundamentally different value set people would adopt if instead of working for personal profit, they were working for the appreciating of their colleagues and their voluntary support of them. This project will seek out cultures (both contemporary and historic) where gifting plays a more central role in the economic system and will identify the factors needed to develop gifting systems. Further, new instruments for catalyzing gifting, such as Personal Sustainability Agreements, oriented towards people outside these money-less systems will be developed and promoted.

Possible specific outputs of the project could be:

  • A handbook on developing and promoting money-less economies
  • Workshops at community and barter system conferences in Europe and the US
  • Development and distribution of "Personal Sustainability Agreements"
  • Fostering a network of individuals and groups committed to promoting these ideas
  • Media work in promoting these ideas (to both mainstream and progressive media)
  • Analytical work on gifting systems and integration of other money-less systems

How do i get more info?

Contact: Paxus Calta
Non-monetary Economies Project
138 Twin Oaks Road
Twin Oaks Community
Louisa VA 23093

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.