Idea #36: Develop your own Karma Economy

by Van Bo Le-Mentzel

You can not solve the problems with the tools that caused them. This is what Einstein once said. So, when we talk about economical issues, we should try to look for some answers outside the economic box. We should not try to answer wages issues with more wages, unemployment issues with more employment or ressource issues with the creation of more ressources. We cannot fight fire with heat. We have to think out of the box. And this is why I like so much the idea of the Karma Economy. Is there something more out of the economical box than Karma? Karma is not a science, not measurable, there is even no universal definition for this term. Same like Buddhism, thanks to the fact, that buddhist people never wrote down what they think and feel or trying to convince others, there is not such a thing like a bible, a testament or a Qu’ran. Most of the Europeans know Buddhism from Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha) or from Richard Gere. And there are no straight rules. I have seen religious buddhists who eat meat. Actually there are only a few buddhist religious people who are vergetarians. Vietnamese buddhists for example. So Karma possibly can help us to get out of the vicious circle of economical megalomaniac.
The idea behind Karma Economy is simple: you give more, you receive more. It changes how you look at supply and demand, the backbone of every market economy, on a larger scale. To keep it short: the foundations of economics teach us that what is ultimately concerned is the availability of resources, and since resources are often limited, the relationship between supply and demand is illustrated by the price. Since money does not play a very large role in our case, Karma Economy can produce a majority and thus equilibrium:
Maximization of Use
Goods can be distributed, exchanged, and used again and again by those who need them.
Optimization of Time
People can spend their free time in a way that is fun and brings them recognition while simultaneously helping others.
New Distribution of Resources
Both the goods and the time that people have at their disposal are distributed anew in order to make best use of them.
Efficiency in Solving Problems
In order to solve the problems of others, people spontaneously contribute what they have in their hands or head—and often do so right away.
The Karma Rule of Giving
Danny Iny, the author of Engagement from Scratch! (2011), was one of the first to write about Karma Economy. In a blog, he explained an important rule for not being exploited when giving. It is not about blindly offering your help to every person. “Help the helpful!” writes Iny. And be generous with your help. But to protect yourself, make sure that your help calls for a minimum of time and money. And: your help should bring the people you help maximum benefit. This distinguishes us Karma capitalists from firefighters, who sacrifice their time and lives almost unconditionally. Karma capitalists are not heroes!
Lots of People Achieve A Lot
Many people ask me how I manage to be so productive in such a short period of time (this book was created in four weeks—and I have a full-time job). This is naturally not possible without the input of the Crowd. But how does one build a community from scratch? The following pages will be of particular interest for people launching brands, creating new fans, or simply looking for friends.
This text was written with the help of Regine Lin ans was partly published in the book “Hartz IV Moebel.com” (Hatje Cantz, 2012)

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