The most important act of transition we can take to an Open Economy is to begin the practice of sharing and cooperating in our daily lives today. A Community Sharing Circle is a perfect way of enacting a moneyless, cooperative system on a local level, creating prosperity, efficiency, and cementing community bonds.
The idea is very simple: Invite people in your community to join a ‘Sharing Circle’ where each member agrees to freely share and cooperate with other members. Members of the Circle can then gift and receive goods and services freely among other members.
The Sharing Circle is not a barter or time exchange system. It is unconditional sharing, where no accounts or tallies are kept, but with the important proviso that Circle members are not obligated to offer free goods and services to other members. It is simply encouraged as an act of community.
How it works
Members join the Circle by signing an annual pledge (Sample Pledge). The pledge sets out explicitly what is expected of Circle members and binds them in trust.
It is recommended to renew pledges annually to keep members active and information current.
On signing the pledge, members notify the organiser(s) of any special skills, attributes or useful resources they may have, if they are able-bodied, and/or if there are any specific activities that they cannot participate in.
A directory of this information is then made available to all members including members’ contact details. Members can then use this directory to request assistance or anything else they may need.
Each member receives a membership card (eg. top of page) and window disc sticker (fig 2) to show that they have taken the pledge and are participating in the scheme.
It is recommended to ask all new and returning members to ‘seal’ their membership by requesting a service or resource from other members. Past experience has shown that people are quicker to offer than they are to receive, so this is a way to offset that and get people into the habit of receiving.
If desired, the organiser can request a small membership fee to cover material costs.
- Everyone can participate, regardless of wealth, status, resources or skills.
- It encourages socialisation and community bonding.
- It is free to operate.
- It doesn’t require any accounting, regulation or oversight.
- It demonstrates the unconditional generosity of the human spirit.
- High activity encourages growth in membership.
- As a pilot program, this can be tried for a limited period with little or no time or cost investment.
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