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Let’s bring back the practice of paying it forward

There has been much discussion on the White Paper on Population, but it is also time to look at ideas that are not framed by economics.

Sanjay Perera

There has been much discussion on the White Paper on Population, but it is also time to look at ideas that are not framed by economics.

As a means of building social cohesion, we can adapt an idea expressed by some as the Datti coin.

This is a “paying it forward” concept which involves a person giving something of use or value to someone else and also passing them a token; the person who receives then passes the token on when they, in turn, give something to someone else.

The token may even find its way abroad and it can become part of an international act of sharing and promotion of a gift economy, originating from Singapore.

It can be giving someone a bag of groceries or even a packet drink. Services can be part of a gift economy as well.

For example, someone could tutor a friend’s child and give them the token, and they then pass it on to someone else when they babysit for them.

There are many creative ways to use this idea and it is a good way of balancing out the material concerns many are obsessed with. It brings back the ancient practice of gifting among people before the advent of money as we know it.

This is merely one way to help us come up with different and constructive ideas to empower ourselves in our survival-of-the-fittest economy, where often people judge others based on earning power.

We need reminders that every person is worthy. We also need to remember important and universal human values that encourage us to help one another without expecting monetary reward. The token can be a reminder of the human connection as it accompanies acts of gifting.

We need more ideas to help nurture the social growth and maturity of the country without using cost-benefit analysis and its underlying utilitarian assumptions. Some of the good things in life can still be free.

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