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Give First Economics

The next economic revolution

It is better to give – and people are using that fact to thrive.

Have you ever met someone that brings out the best in themselves and others, someone you can’t help but like and admire? If you pay attention, you’ll notice that people like this all have one thing in common – they are all unselfish with their time and energy. They give their time in support of great causes, they give their financial support where it can make a difference, and they give without demanding – without the promise of something in return.


Taking, exchanging, and giving

There are those that take, those that exchange, and those that give – the ones that give are poised for the greatest success.

At the basic level – foragers take things

It is easy to understand the mind set of a foraging civilization – move from place to place and take what you need. But even in this type of society, members of the group may have personal possessions that others in the group would not consider taking. But human nature being what it is, there are elements of every society that think otherwise. These people feel that an acceptable path to obtaining money / land / valuables is simply to take them from someone else. In response, societies develop laws (and systems for enforcing those laws) to provide a framework where the “taking” of things from others will not be the normal mode of operation.

While our laws and customs help keep it in check, there is (and may always be) an element of society that thinks nothing of taking what they want – from you, from me, from someone on the street, or from anyone or any place they can. It might be a misrepresentation, an elaborate scheme, or an outright theft. The end result is an unfair re-distribution of resources.

A fair exchange supports both parties

Society’s standard for fairness is an equal (or relatively equal) exchange of value without undue compulsion. One person provides one thing of value to another, and receives something of relatively equal value in return. Consumer goods, housing, transportation, employment – these are all things that we exchange. Certainly money makes these exchanges easier – the veterinarian doesn’t have to worry about what to do with 5 chickens used to satisfy a farmer’s bill – but it is still an exchange of value.

A fair exchange is based on a set of conditions where neither party fears that the other will purposely get the better of them. This loaf of bread is worth that piece of fish – in the case of barter, or some amount of money – if that is available.

By specializing, the baker can create many more loaves of bread than needed for personal consumption, and the fisherman can haul in many more fish than needed. In a common marketplace the additional inventory is sold or traded for other items that are not otherwise harvested / mined / hunted / fabricated.

The ones that give are poised for the greatest success.

Some people brag about what they have “taken”, others about what they have “earned”. The ones that are poised for the greatest success are those that plan to give away as much as they can.

People that want to thrive will stretch further, and make their transactions more than equitable. They will give to the other party above and beyond what they feel is a fair exchange. They will sometimes also give their part before an agreement is reached. And in the event an agreement isn’t reached, givers know that in the long run, what they give out will be more than reciprocated.

This is the basis for Give First Economics.

In order to receive, one must give. And in order to start the cycle, one should give first.

Theory is fine, but…

Let’s suppose that at this point you have a tenuous, but clear understanding that giving first is a great theory, and that if more people gave things away the world would be a better place.

And you come back with “but”…

“But – I can’t do that, other people will take everything I have and leave me to die.”

In one sense, we are still in a global fight against the end of “Take what you want” economics – and as long as others feel it is their right to take what they want from you, the fear expressed is very real. So no, it isn’t a good idea to stand on a street corner and hand out all your money to people passing by…-)

The “Give First Economics” kick-start program.

Not everything you give away has a cost. After giving a compliment away, do you really have anything less? What’s the cost for a pleasant word, or a smile? To be able to give first when others are still interested in exchanging or taking, you have to give that which leaves you with more after the giving – love.

What is the cost of friendship, or kind words, or smiles?

Taking the time to listen to someone else – what does that cost.

Walking with a friend, reading aloud for someone, helping with a task – these all can show you care.

The point is not that you offer to give away your personal possessions, but that you offer to give of yourself.

Friends give to each other

If you needed help tonight at 3 in the morning, who could you call? No, I’m not talking about a problem where you need the police or fire department, I’m talking about something where you need a hand, and it is important enough to tap a friend in the middle of the night. That is the kind of relationship that works because you give freely with each other. I’m not suggesting that you become the doormat of everyone you know, but I am suggesting that you give first, and offer your hand in friendship, so that your network of giving is as wide as possible.

You’ll be in good company

The idea of giving isn’t a new one; it’s been recognized, talked about and practiced by great people and average ones alike throughout the ages – probably for as long as people have scurried across the Earth.

As you consider this thought and continue on with your day, please think about what some of them have had to say:

  • “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
    – John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963); US Democratic politician
  • “Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”
    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882); US poet
  • “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
    – Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965); British politician
  • “You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for others – something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.”
    – Albert Schweitzer (1875 – 1965); French philosopher & physician
  • “When you have given nothing, ask for nothing.”
    – Albanian Proverb
  • “Anything that is of value in life only multiplies when it is given.”
    – Deepak Chopra
  • “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
    – Morrie Schwartz, Tuesdays With Morrie
  • “What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you.”
    – Oprah Winfrey (1954 – ); US actress & television talk show host
  • “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
    – Maya Angelou (1928 – ); US author & poet

2 thoughts on “Give First Economics

  1. Great Article and the Sequel too, I have used some of your article on my website, as this is exactly what I have in mind with “Give first sell second.”
    Love it ,
    thank you,
    warm regards Graham Hyndman.

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