Saturday, 13 October 2018

Miki Kashtan: Recovering the Flow of Resources Part 1

Miki Kashtan
The way we distribute and accumulate resources affects all of our lives, from the personal and interpersonal to the global.  

In the first part of this blog series, Miki Kashtan explores how we can share resources in ways that encourage connection and are based on needs. 

When I was about five, I asked my mother why it was that we needed to pay to get our groceries. Why wouldn’t everyone just come and get what they need? My mother had no response for me, and no one has since. I still believe that money is entirely unnecessary. I still see it as entirely feasible and practical for each of us to receive what we need using available resources created by the generosity or willingness of others. I still see, easily, how this can be orchestrated through community relationships expanded to include the entire global human population. The result can simply be a globally coordinated and locally managed gift economy running entirely without money.

I believe that children often have intense experiences upon discovering the role of money precisely because of its difficult interaction with relationships. When my sister Inbal’s son was still quite young, he learned that some of the people he only knew as his adult friends were receiving money, and he became quite distressed. He recognized, I believe, that exchange undermines relationships. When Inbal was able to explain to him that if they didn’t give them money, they would need to go elsewhere and then have less time with him, he settled, because this explanation was an exit from the logic of exchange, and the relationships were restored for him.

I was well into my 30s when I understood, in a flash, why economics never made sense to me even though I was always very facile with numbers and managed to ace a macroeconomics exam. Economics, has never made sense to me because it is “the study of the allocation of scarce resources” to satisfy “infinite desires and wants.”1

Money has been a key instrument of supporting separation and scarcity, both of which are fertile grounds for both the everyday and intense forms of violence. Here’s how. Money facilitates exchange which reinforces separation: I give to you not because of my heart’s generosity or willingness; I give to you because I want something back. We are separate, and we “use” each other to satisfy our own desires. Similarly, money facilitates accumulation which reinforces scarcity: when I take more than I need to accumulate, I remove resources from circulation, and there is less available to others.

The logical conclusion for me has been to seek and experiment with as many ways as I know to subvert the logic of exchange and accumulation and to transform my relationship with money for the foreseeable future in which it’s here to stay. 

Stay tuned for this blog series.  

Miki Kashtan is a CNVC Certified Trainer, co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (BayNVC) and Lead Collaboration Consultant at the Center for Efficient Collaboration. Go here for her blog, The Fearless Heart.  



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