“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside”
In one sense our global economic environment is like dinner time in a large family.
Mom brings out pumpkin pie and sets it down. The pie is cut up with a huge piece for her and for dad and smaller pieces for all the kids. The children who have been around for a while, and who have some skill, can feed themselves. They quickly fill their plates with much more than they can eat, but the smaller children, the ones who need the most help, who don’t have the skills to feed themselves, or who are last in line for the pie, end up with too little to eat. There is nothing left for the baby.
Mom says the secret is for everyone to work as long and as hard as they are able. To go out and fight and compete and in doing so steal food from the table of another family. The lesson is that If we are to have more to eat then someone else must go hungry. Over time Mom says this will mean she can bake a bigger pie for the family…and this is our economy. The pie is never, ever big enough. As the pie gets bigger there should be some crust left over for the youngest kids, but there isn’t. Mom and Dad and the eldest child each take even bigger slices. At some point their slice is essentially big enough to feed the whole family. They eat their fill then horde the rest.
The principles of the economy are pure fiction when it comes to how a single family behaves. In times of need we share and we help each other. In reality some of the older children would decide that instead of stuffing themselves silly they will share their portion with their less fortunate brothers and sisters. Dad or Mum may give up their food entirely so that his baby and toddlers are kept well. Ultimately parents would die so their children may live.
Our neighbours and friends will hear of our plight and will bring gifts of food to help us through the tough times. There will be love, sharing and care within the family and from others. Sharing, mutual aid and mutual support is very natural. It is the secret that allowed small bands of humans to tame the wilderness and build a life.
Unfortunately, what is natural is distorted by what is the economy. The real is destroyed by the idea…the monetary myth that we have all ascribed to. Our economy has been deliberately set up to actively discourage sharing, help, care, or love. Isolated, helpless fearful individuals are model consumers. The things that come naturally to every living human being have been redefined and marginalised by economic policy.
The cynical me says it is economists and their policies that foil our sharing instinct. Sharing is such a powerful force that it could distort the power base of our world. The very rich feel entitled to horde all of the pumpkin pie that there ever was, is, or will ever be. To satisfy such greed all sharing must be discouraged. Things must be bought, owned, burnt up, thrown away, but not shared. Never shared.
Through accepting simple living we can step outside the economic framework. We see the inequity. The environmental destruction. The starvation and the poverty. The endangerment of species and the global waste of resources.
We appreciated that all of these problems are somehow interconnected.
We must embrace our natural inclination to share our pumpkin pie, to help others, to create, to produce, to live lightly on this earth and to leave something behind for our family that are still waiting in the wings (the unborn).
Sharing and helping is an enormous part of the solution. Sharing has been such a positive experience in my life. It has enriched me in ways that owning all of the world never could. It fills me with hope with possibility.
Sharing, caring and helping is very pleasurable, yet the economists, marketers and business tycoons do all they can to prohibit, discourage and restrict our ability to experience the pleasure from sharing. Sharing and mutual aid are then two of the most potent ideas for social reform on this planet.
We have long since passed the age when we manufactured goods to meet our desires. We are now in a world hell bent on manufacturing desires to sustain the production of unnecessary goods. Ownership is a myth. We own nothing. What we do have is the right of storage, use and disposal. Nothing more. By cultivating an ownership illusion we support violence (or the threat of violence) for if someone were to use our supposed possession we can call in men and women with guns to get it back for us. Without this threat of violence, real or implied, ownership would not be possible. But why deluding ourselves. Let’s recognise the illusion and begin to appreciate the reality. We are all interconnected. Sharing is good. At a personal, societal and global level sharing is very, very good.
We are deceived to believe that it is right to buy, but wrong to borrow. Looking wisely we you should have a level of discomfort with buying and a feeling of comfort with sharing. The exact inverse of how the world is…
Our family has welcomed the sharing economy into our lives. It strengthens our links with our friends and the community. There is a very warm feeling when we lend to a good friend. Increasingly I feel the same vibe when I borrow.
Lend, borrow, share, love.
Make Mom proud. Share your toys!