Monday, 10 October 2011


Over the past 50 years money affairs have become a far more private matter as people turn away from their neighbours and communities and towards the ever-consuming, self-absorbing task of growing their own personal money tree/s. This has evolved a culture which is consumer-driven; a culture where individualism and competition are king and the trust and connectivity that we rely on for fulfilling human relationships undercut.

We, the people on the ground, are all part of this ever-evolving culture. With each pattern of action we make, we create the culture around us and affect the culture of our community.
Here in Lyttelton we are developing a strong culture around localised economics; we no longer try to convince people it's a good idea, local people know about it and are part of the change.
Here are just 3 examples:
> the Timebank now beats at the heart of the community; people use it alongside and instead of the monetary system.
> the Harbour Pool, a collective of households who pool their savings to share with others in the group at no interest, is expanding as the concept becomes more known by a wider range of households.
> as networks are strengthened, gifting - choosing to give away goods rather than receive monetary gain from them - becomes something that we do more often.
The cultural shift happens as we depend less on the market economy and turn back towards each other.
The cultural shift happens as the values that underpin these strategies also become the values of the community.  All of these strategies build trust and cooperation in the members and therefore provide platforms upon which reciprocity is supported. As we nourish these non-competitive alliances, the culture as a whole becomes more connected and concerned for others well-being.
And so this local cultural shift in Lyttelton turns away from individualism and competitiveness and promotes the common good.
It feels good to reclaim the agency that we have in our lives and remember the bigger picture. When I receive a gift I am not just saying thanks but also undermining the market economy that rips the heart out of local economies and people's lives.
It feels good to be part of positive cultural change.
What's exciting you about your community's cultural shift?

written by Jacinda, also at

1 comment:

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