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What is a gift economy? - Alex Gendler


13,241 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

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What if, this holiday season, instead of saying "thank you" to your aunt for her gift of a knitted sweater, the polite response expected from you was to show up at her house in a week with a better gift? Or to vote for her in the town election? Or let her adopt your firstborn child? Alex Gendler explains how all of these things might not sound so strange if you were involved in a gift economy.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Having trouble understanding gift economy? Love the thought of common collaboration and sharing of ideas? Read The Gift Economy: A Model for Collaborative Community then scroll to the bottom for more articles on this topic. Does the Burning Man Festival spark your interest? Find out where you can go to this festival and read more about the ideals behind it here.

Watch the TEDx Talk by Tom Tresser on the gift economy. What gift do you have that you can share? Is it a product, a service? Could the idea of a gift economy lead to a moneyless world? Musician Amanda Palmer has a TED Talk: The Art of Asking and is part of a group of open source developers. Watch and get her unique opinion about this topic. Read an interview with Ms. Palmer about the topic at Shareables.

What would a world without money look like? Visit How Stuff Works and get some ideas. Learn about five economies that survive without money exchange. Then visit the Moneyless Manifesto site! Check out the Moneyless Man book and read it for free online. How would your life change without having to think about money?

Confused about what potlatch is? Visit the Peabody Museum virtual exhibit about Northwest Coast Potlatches. What was the significance of gift giving between tribes at Potlatches? Potlatch 20 has more information about these elaborate and important celebrations.

Check out these TED Talks on ideas about gift economy!
Designing for Generosity: Nipun Mehta
The Case for Collaborative Consumption: Rachel Botsman

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Director Avi Ofer
  • Narrator Pen-Pen Chen

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