Creating a home: the gift culture (all blocks)

Talking about services earlier, we said that people do not want money, they want what money can buy. That is a truth with modification. People want things that money cannot buy too. They want to feel at home, they want to feel safe, they want to feel appreciated and they want to feel they can appreciate others. In short, a culture of giving, sharing and generosity is a more human culture.

One of the characteristics of today’s society is this storyline running through our culture:

There is not enough, more is better, and you are powerless.

The story of the commons community is:

There is enough, just right is perfect, and together we have the power

In a gift culture people feel secure that their needs will be met. When they are more than met, they offer that surplus to others. The beauty of a community around a commons is that a culture of gifting can easily arise the more trust that develops and the more people practice generosity.

This has massive economic benefits for the commoners. With increased giving and sharing in an atmosphere of trust the need for formal systems and payments are reduced. For example, a community might have a sports car. Based on trust, people can borrow the car for a fun outing and then put it back in the garage. Maybe some people will use it a lot and others a little. As long as the feeling of generosity is there – the cost shared among many is rather small for the enjoyment. The same can be said of other fun objects like canoes, trampolines, hermit huts etc.  The “not enough” story drives people to want to own objects which means their budget cannot stretch to other objects.

Stimulating a sharing culture requires some work by the commons community, because the sharing culture is partly about how you treat each other but also how you organize your structures, process and daily routines. You will need to find a starting point where no-ones limits are challenged. Then gradually you can work together to increase trust and sharing.

If you can find one thing that works on trust – like a simple payment system where people put money in a tin for communal food – and people see that there is always enough in it to buy food, this is an important cultural marker.

As you go through the canvas you will see various opportunities to support and stimulate the gift and sharing culture.


One of the major proponents of the gift culture is Charles Eisentein. See this video below or take a look at his new book.

“If you want a convincing account of just how deep the shift in our new axial age is and must be, look no further than this brilliant book by Charles Eisenstein, one of the deepest integrative thinkers active today.”
Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation

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