edphil on Tue, 3 Jun 1997 03:54:10 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> orgies, Georgics, Gifts

We keep turning on those questions of work and livelihood and why the
hell are we here and what do we do with ourselves.

One of the things we, in particular, are doing is amusing ourselves with
this mailing list.

"What do Human Beings Really Want?" is the way Norman O. Brown put it in
"Dionysus in 1990." Do we want jobs, livelihoods, or something more?

The question of economy emerges as an exigency of the hour. Are we
seeking to acquire, to gain, or to lose, to give away?

Our assumptions, our views, and our desires, as well as our solutions
are so conditioned by our cultural and yes, "class," or subcultural
backgrounds, that it is more than hard for us to tease out another view.

A large portion of our "educated" publics is baffled by the "gift
economies" of these nets and mailing lists. What the hell, they wonder
are we doing here, writing for free. We are as incomprehensible to them
as the Potlatching Northwest Coast Natives were to the European

Is this play or work?

Ed Phillips

A reworked and new Gift Econmies piece I wrote is up at

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