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Some Philosophy and Thoughts
The Vipassana Meditation I practice operates purely on gifting. Anyone may take the course for free, it is a gift. After that (and only after that) you may make a donation — not to pay for what you have received, but so that it can be gifted to others. Labor (including that of the teachers, cooks, etc.) is donated.
-- John Abbe
A gift economy is the exact opposite of capitalism. In capitalist economies, the object is for the individual to accumulate and hold on to as much wealth as is humanly (or inhumanly) possible. In a gift economy, as practiced by such cultures as the Kwakiutl and Tlingit Indians of the Northwest coast and the ancient Chinese, prestige and power are measured by how much you give away.
In our mundane world, the gift economy of course remains a Utopian ideal, impractical for meeting subsistence needs and unattractive to the culture of multinational consumerism.