[rumori] potlatch.net

From: Steev Hise (steevATdetritus.net)
Date: Sun Dec 31 2000 - 10:02:04 PST

Fri, 29 Dec 2000 found Jim Carrico writing:

>I've recently been involved in trying to define and develop a system of
>voluntary payments for music and cultural products in general, as I feel
>pretty strongly that this is the way out of the current "intellectual
>property" impasse. I'm using the term "potlatch network" to describe a new
>economic structure based on gift exchange - see http://www.potlatch.net

hi Jim, welcome.
I like this project. I've always liked the idea of Potlatch,
and it's fitting that your project is based in the center of
where the original (Native American/First Nations) potlatch
cultures were.

One interesting thing about the original Potlatch was that,
as I understand it, the receiver of a gift was expected to
give a gift back that was better. In other words
everyone had to keep outdoing each other. In some cases,
I've read, this continued to extremes, like someone burning
down his own village as a gift to another chief.

But it seems like Potlatch.net is about voluntary
payments, payments in regular money. Right? A tipping

I think that's great, but the Potlatch reference seems to
suggest more. In an art-oriented gift economy everyone would
be an artist and give each other art, wouldnt they? This is
truly exciting. To advocate that society could be different,
could be something other than divided between "the gifted
artists" and "non artists" would be a great message.

>We're convinced that if it was easy and convenient to give artists small
>amounts of money, many people would do so - enough to make it worth doing.

This reminds me of a study done on Gnutella. I wish I
could find the url about it but basically someone found that
only a very small (like 15%) portion of Gnutella users were
actually giving, i.e. offering files to be shared from their
hard drives. Most were only taking. I found that very

So, this is just one of several cases that implies that it's
not at all certain your statement is true - at least in our
present social climate. The truth of your hypothesis
depends on a few things: the definition of "worth doing";
the definition of "small amounts of money"; and the
definition of "easy". A lot also depends on re-educating
people - people are so used to paying for everything (and
paying too much) that the few things that involve voluntary
payments are just seen as a chance to get something free,
some kind of mistake or luck that they need to take
advantage of and grab, "cuz dammit we've been cheated so
much already"... But i think this attitude could change.

More on "worth doing" - if "worth doing" means "enough to
make a living", then the art of almost NO artist is "worth
doing". But there are other motivations, luckily...

Anyway, I'll be interested to see how potlatch.net develops.
Keep us posted, Jim.



Steev Hise, Technical Thug
steevATdetritus.net http://detritus.net/steev
"I declare a permanent state of happiness"
                -Grafitti, Paris 1968

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