The Generonomy

by nielskunze on June 20, 2014

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On Earth, and throughout the galaxy, the “economy” was eventually replaced by the “generonomy.” In relative terms, it was a rapid changeover. It is the task of historians to quibble about the exact precipitating incident which caused the actual pivot, but– much like the economy– historians had pretty much ceased to exist; they were no longer necessary. And should anyone ask– a child, for instance– a parent could usually come up with a suitable answer from a quick perusal of the akashic record.

“What’s money?” asked Angelica one bright sunshiny day.

“Wherever did you hear of that?” asked her father.

“Some of the kids at school were talking about the olden times and it kept coming up. I understood most of what they were saying… but money just doesn’t seem to make any sense. What is it?”

“Money was widely regarded as a convenience… as something universally accepted in fair exchanges of value. It was a placeholder for other things.”

“Hm, I see,” nodded Angelica, though she didn’t really. And then after a moment, “And what exactly do you mean by ‘fair exchanges of value’?”

“In the olden times, when a person wanted or needed to acquire something from someone else, they would have to provide something of equal value in exchange. They could make a direct trade, swapping one item or service for another, or they could provide the correct amount of money instead, for which the other person could then purchase whatever they might need for themselves in the future.”

“Why wouldn’t the other person just gift the first whatever they needed? I mean, when you see that someone is in need and you have exactly the item which can fulfill that need, it’s only natural that you should provide it, especially if you have extra.” It seemed rather simple to Angelica.

“But that wouldn’t be considered fair… in the olden times.”

Angelica furrowed her brow in puzzlement. “I don’t see that it’s unfair to give people things.”

“The people of that era,” began father’s explanation as he seated himself in the grass, “had a mental condition called deficit thinking. In those times, the movement of goods and services always involved something called debt.”

“What’s that?”

“Debt is like a hole that needs to be filled. And whenever an item changed hands or a favor was performed, a hole called debt was instantly dug. If I now give to you this flower,” he said, holding out a dandelion, “then as soon as you accept it, you’ve dug that hole called debt.” Angelica received the flower. “Now you owe me,” explained father.

“But… but… is it not a gift?”

“It is. But a mind habituated to deficit thinking cannot accept gifts without accepting too the debt of repayment. For every gift received, the hole is dug a little deeper.”

“But why?”

“It was all in the consideration of fairness. What was feared was that there would be those who received more than they gave away.”

“But then they would just have more to give in the future.”

“Yes, but what was truly feared was that they wouldn’t give any of it away… ever. They would become selfish accumulators. They were called hoarders of wealth.”

“But what would be the point of having more than you need? It would be bothersome, a burden… no?”

“For us it’s easy to see. But for those suffering from deficit thinking, surplus was generally seen as a source of happiness.”

“And was it?” asked Angelica dubiously.

“Of course not… but that didn’t stop them from pretending that it was so. The pretense endured, against all odds, for thousands of years. Deficit thinking was difficult to unseat once it had taken hold.”

“How did they finally get over it?”

Father closed his eyes and took a few even breaths before he answered. “There were occasionally those who could see right through the lie. They eschewed money, gifting wherever they saw needs they could fulfill. Through persistence and an almost militant kindness, their generosity eventually broke down the bulwarks of deficit thinking. It could only be achieved locally, in small pockets here and there, for the entire globe was truly in the fearful grip of deficit thinking. The Earth at that time was less a planet than a giant black hole… at least in the minds of her human inhabitants.

“The generonomy,” he continued, “is generally thought to have begun in the Year of Temperance– 2014, in the old reckoning. Some say it began in a mythical little place called Kalamazoo. It took hold on the solstice, the time of light… when one sweet human angel began with a moneyless exchange, a reciprocity whose heart welcomed all and said ‘It matters not what you give back… or even that you do… for this is love.’ And slowly the others began their understanding… and climbed out of their deficit thinking once and for all. The hole of debt was filled.”

“And here we are!” exclaimed Angelica, spreading her arms wide to the open meadow.

“And here we are.”

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