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The Freecycle Economy

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Posted on : 4:01 PM | By : Nic | In : ,



I have had a busy day, and I will have an even busier weekend with two field trips, but I wanted to expound on the merits of Freecycle. It's not barter... it's not even trade. It's gifting. I've been using Freecycle for a while but Burning Man just ended which brought it to my mind again. During the event no money is allowed and therefore everything inside the festival perimeter is free, and there's quite a lot. They call it a gift economy.

Freecycle is the same thing, but in real life and with your old junk. You simply find your local group, which is usually hosted on Yahoo! groups or some other kind of email list, and people post what they offer and other people can post what they want. In the end, most people get what they need. I recently got a very nice double stroller, and I give away a bunch of stuff. I could garage sale it... or take it to the thrift store... or sell it on eBay.

But I have chosen to give away books and kitchen items and children's stuff and all kinds of lovely things. Why? Because it's just stuff. Getting a $1 at a garage sale isn't worth the effort, and thrift stores are pretty cool - I usually give old clothes to them because that is where I shop for clothes so I like to support that system. But for other items gifting them to people who come to my house and take it is a much easier way to recycle. I am a paranoid person so I hardly even see the people - I leave the thing on my front porch and never open my door, lol.

There is another reason these things were on my mind. Allow me to quote a history: "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need." This describes a group that was considered a cult during its time, a radical bunch of communists selling their stuff and sharing everything? It's surprising to me that they grew to become the Christian believers of today, so hell-bent on capitalism. I am not even saying I am for or against either system - it just boggles my mind to see such an opposite. I suppose that's why I don't even try to get involved in the health care debate, especially when the group decrying the evils of Socialism used to be so darn... socialist. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Also have you experienced the thrill of scoring something for free on Freecycle? If not, you should try it.

Comments (5)

I love Free Cycle, most of the time :) I've had a lot of great experiences and absolutely fully support the concept. It's not without its flaws, just as any system it has its bugs and kinks. It was nice to give a load of stuff away today to someone who really needed it, and so nice to see it not go in the landfill (demolition materials from our house). It makes no sense to me to throw it away and then see someone go and buy it new :/
But I have a good friend who has moderated the local free cycle for a long time and she has some crazy stories, people can somehow get really angry and aggressive even in this positive system! Today someone was annoyed with me because I couldn't pick up something I'd claimed because Kale has been throwing up all day.... they told me to come and get it anyway because they didn't want it taking up space in their small space over the weekend (it was a kids' game). I tried really hard to step out of my story and judgment and see it from my point of view... Hard to do though when it has to do with a sick kid... Anyway..... that's my free cycle story for the day :)

That was supposed to say "see it from their point of view". I'm sure you got that though :)

That's crazy! I'm sorry Kale is sick... people can be really loony sometimes. Sometimes where my husband works they get customers who just aren't worth having because no matter how far they bend over backwards the customer still isn't happy. There are people who walk in irate before they've even bought anything. I think that somehow there are people out there who are perpetually angry, which is hard for me to comprehend. I always tell myself that maybe someone in their family died, because that's the only way I can see justifying it.

I love the look of your blog! I keep up with you through Google Reader, so it's been awhile since I've seen the page. Love it!!

Freecycle is the best! It's so good to give to others!

You know, I agree with you that there's a lot of backwardness in Christianity today. "We" want to hoard our possessions away just like other's do. I love giving things away to others who need it. However, I disagree with the idea of socialism. It's different than the church in Acts (in the Bible), which gave freely from their heart. Socialism rapes the things away from people, but that's not what generosity is. Generosity is given freely, and that's what I am all about. ;)

I am curious where you get your ideas and concepts of socialism. Rape is a fairly powerful word. I myself live in a 'semi' socialist country and I am genuienly interested in how you get your idea of what socialism is...

Usually people prefer not to get raped but I have never been opposed to any of the government run services in my country. That puts me in quite an odd spot.