Life weaves itself on a web of mutual support, we can’t live alone. We need our friends, our family, our neighbors, colleagues, peers, ancestors and children. The vow of wealth acknowledges and celebrates this fertile social soil from which we grow from and that we enrich in return. I want fair relationships with my fellow brothers and sisters, based on generosity during every phase of our existence.
What difference exists between the gift economy and the market economy? Market implies a major condition, the one of an immediate counterpart: I give you this if, and only if, you give me that in return. Gift doesn’t need this symmetry. It implies an act of trust towards the universe and others. From a pragmatic point of view, the gift economy has more power and efficiency than the market economy because it frees itself from lot’s of restrictive conditions. But until now no one knew how to apply this principle to a large scale due to a lack of appropriate technologies made to regulate the exponential complexity it creates. Today this barrier does not exist anymore, except in our head.
So, do you see the difference between receiving $1,000 from a salary and $1,000 from a gift? Do you really think that in the first case you deserve it because of your productive work, and in the second case you don’t deserve it that much because you behave like a lazy parasite that lives at the expense of the others? Don’t you make gifts to people you appreciate and love? Do you consider them as useless and needy? I find very revealing these preconceived ideologies about utilitarism, that state what we deserve to earn or not. “Earning our living” has a very deep ground in the collective unconscious ideology of pyramidal collective intelligence. Gift economy definitely cuts off from these poisonous roots.
Hence the reason why I commit to offer – not sell – my skills and gifts. On this basis, I welcome generosity in return, even if it doesn’t come from a reciprocal exchange.
As for living off others, the current monetary system enables 1% of the human population to live off the other 99% (actually much worse than this)… So I don’t see how people immersed in the conventional monetary system can judge who lives off who.
Furthermore, the vow of wealth means to create wealth for all. It increases my capacity to contribute more than what conventional economy allows me to do.