The Cambridge Debates 2013

Genevieve Vaughan - The Cambridge Debates 2013

The Cambridge Union Society - This House Believes a Society of Giving is Impossible

In recent years many new projects have arisen that practice the gift economy in one way or another and many new books have been written about it. The fantastic progress made by these innovators must be celebrated but they have, not surprisingly, left aside the maternal gift economy. This distorts the analysis and limits the movement, making it less radical.

While these books and projects are excellent, some fundamental points are missing:

1.They do not acknowledge mothering/being mothered as the basis of the gift economy in every life

2.They do not usually reference indigenous matriarchal societies and gift economies and if they do, they tend to understand them through a Western anthropological perspective.

3. They lack a perspective of nurturing as material communication and language as verbal gift giving.

The idea of homo donans, gifting ‘man’, instead of only homo economicus: economic 'man' or homo sapiens: thinking ‘man’, unites humans in an identity based on satisfying needs rather than on greed or intellectual superiority. The model of the Great Mother for all humans can create the paradigm shift necessary for us to move towards societies of peace and abundance in alignment with Mother Nature.

Most of these important new projects have been started by men. Here are some explanations of the gift economy by a few of them:

Nippun Mehta, founder of

Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics

Mark Boyle, The Moneyless Mann,

Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia

Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift, Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World and Common as Air- Revolution, Art and Ownership

More Videos

Videos: Many women speaking on the gift economy.

View: 2004 Conference - A Radically Different World View is Possible

View: 2009 Conference - A Mother World is Possible

Additional videos