When it comes to exchange for services, products or assets, we often find it difficult to imagine any possibility other than that of a financial one. After all, money is currently the most universally accepted agreement of exchange that we use for meeting our needs. Money is quantifiable, tokenised & therefore adopted & embedded deeply within capitalist economics. Most of us have grown up using money as the primary method of accessing much of what need, & therefore we’ve never stopped to question that there might be another way.
A Radical Exchange abandons the idea that value can only be measured in monetary terms – & is both a political & practical way of subverting convention in aspiration of finding alternative solutions to meeting our needs. Ultimately, this means:
Moving beyond transaction, & towards connection / Sharing resources & de-mystifying ownership / Transcending economic barriers, guaranteeing equal access for everyone / Challenging social conditioning & creating new agreements of our own / Supporting each other to support each other
Here are some examples of forms of exchange that could be classed as a Radical Exchange:
• Material: Food, shelter, clothing, tools, property, land etc.
• Educational: A lesson, workshop, course or skill-share
• Service: Your skill, experience, qualification or time
• Financial: Cryptocurrency, sliding-scale, cash donation
Combination of any of the above!
Opening up the parameters of what is accepted as a means of exchange is by no means the final destination. The ultimate goal of radical economics is to establish a fully functioning Gift Economy – where sharing is practised so commonly that it becomes a reliable system of value. At this point, many forms of exchange would become unnecessary as many more of our base needs would be met. In a true gift economy there is no expectation or obligation of reward or exchange.
Unfortunately, we are not there yet! Most of us live under the oppression of capitalist infrastructure, meaning that so much of our lives are dependent upon money & money alone (e.g. for rent, power, food etc.). Because of this, there is an intricate balance between acknowledging where we are at & working towards where we want to be. We may truly desire to work for free for everyone, always, yet whilst under capitalist rule, we are forced to exchange exclusively with finance for meeting a large portion of our needs.
Lets start now! The Economics of Radical Exchange recognizes that there are other ways we can share our time & energy that might actually be worth more to us than the value of money alone.