I never realised that at Seats2meet.com
‘sharing’ with our lounge-visitors the space, Wifi network, collaboration software, coffee/tea and the lunch is the manifestation of an archaic principle albeit in very modern form: the “Potlatch”. Potlatch
is a ceremonial feast that has been found to be an integral part of many archaic economies.
The gift as social connector.
The word itself comes from a native North American dialect meaning “to give away” or “a gift”. Anthropologists have always been fascinated with the potlatch because it is the corner stone of an economic system where the act of exchange does not take place in a space abstracted from personal relations. In our modern economies a transaction is sealed by paying a price, thus alienating the previous owner from the good or service. Paying the price, one might say, cuts off the previous owners bond with the object of exchange and also prevents the emergence of any social bond between the two parties of the exchange.
The potlatch in contradistinction is a form of exchange designed to establish a social bond between the parties engaging in the exchange. The gift is never alienated from the giver. Rather he or she enters into a relationship of asynchronous reciprocity
with the receiver of the gift. The exchange establishes a strong social bond between the parties involved in the gift exchange, obligating the receiver of the gift to re-pay his or her gift-debt. However, the reciprocity is asynchronous
, meaning that when and how the repayment takes place is left to the will and capabilities of the receiver.
How do I know this?
This text is part of our new book "The Serendipity Machine, doing business in Society30"
, a scientist of the University of Amsterdam, who researched our S2M concept, presently writes it and it will be published in the beginning of December 2012