The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Social Capital

EggsJoey posted about social capital yesterday, and the idea really caught my imagination.  Last year, we sold our excess eggs and produce, but this year we've taken to giving them away.  They seem to bring us more value in the latter situation since folks who are gifted with eggs think more highly of us and end up doing us favors in return.

Social capital isn't the same as bartering --- we don't give folks eggs and expect to get anything back right away (or even ever.)  Instead, we just give the eggs to people who can use them, mostly to empty out the fridge.  The social capital we garner is just an added benefit.

This boingboing article and the ensuing discussion raise the intriguing point that social capital is probably the most widespread economic system in the world.  I think the near-absence of a social capital system in modern America is part of what we're missing when we complain about the lack of community in our lives.  So, build up your social capital and reap the rewards!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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