lunchtime quickie

Hmmm. At work on mundane things, but brain is also doing some thinking about solving social problems and increasing social interaction today. Check these out:

Structuring random social interactions. I’m thinking of making my student core team do some variant of this.

Read this interesting book on the gift vs profit economy this week. It was an oddly spiritual experience.

“I still believe that the primary commerce of art is a gift exchange […] I still believe that a gift can be destroyed by the marketplace. But I no longer feel the poles of this dichotomy to be so strongly opposed […] gift exchange and the market need not be wholly separate spheres. There are ways in which they may be reconciled […] there is little to be gained by a wholesale attack on the market. We can sometimes limit the scope of its influence, but we cannot change its nature. The market is an emanation of logos, and logos is as much a part of the human spirit as eros is.” – Lewis Hyde

Hyde goes on to talk about ways in which ‘artists’ (broadly applicable to anyone living for something that the market will not support) have reconciled themselves to a marketised world: by finding a patron, by taking second jobs, or by managing to commercialise their work without diluting it. Of course, some people will find that they just can’t bring themselves to live in this way, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who does is selling out. Lots of good thoughts.

Finally, speaking of the gift vs. market economy: Dan Pallotta has an interestingly radical take on marketising charity operations. Not sure I’d agree with all he says, but puzzling over whether that’s just because it’s so unlike what currently happens that it sounds shocking…see for yourself.

Enjoy your weekend, guys.

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