Capitalism Is A Parasite On Motherhood And The Earth: The Maternal Gift Economy Movement, Video

About the Video

The video above is from the Maternal Gift Economy’s international gathering and online conference on November 27, 2020. Darcia Narvaez, PhD, presented in this conference, and video. Narvaez is a contributing editor to Kindred Media and the new president of Kindred World.

About the Conference

Drawing on Maternal Gift Economy theory, the suppressed wisdom of women, and the traditions and ethics of Indigenous societies, this integrated programme of presentations sponsored by the International Feminists for a Gift Economy Network will offer new insights, perspectives, and challenges to the underlying market-based mentality of the dominant world order. 

In this time of crisis and systemic upheaval, the model of the Maternal Gift Economy on which our survival depends at the beginning of life, is being revealed and celebrated. The interdependence of all living beings can now be made visible and honored. Mother Earth provides the model of an economy based on gifting that we receive as young children from our nurturers—before we are alienated into market exchange. We must make the transition from the exploitive Euro-American patriarchal/dominating and capitalistic ideology to a gift-based economy and culture grounded in the values of nurturing and care rather than competition and greed.

The conference featured Vandana Shiva (India), Darcia Narvaez (USA), Heide Goettner-Abendroth (Germany), Sherri Mitchell (Penobscot Nation), Mary Condren (Ireland), and Genevieve Vaughan (USA/Italy).

Moderated by Letecia Layson (USA)

About the Gift Economy

We are born into a Gift Economy practiced by those who mother us, enabling us to survive. The economy of exchange, quid pro quo, separates us from each other and makes us adversarial, while gift giving and receiving creates mutuality and trust. 

Two basic economic paradigms coexist in the world today. They are logically contradictory and conflictual but also complementary. They are connected with patriarchy, the construction of gender and the way we form our concepts. They permeate the culture.What we need to do is validate the one connected with satisfying needs and diminish the one based on the market, causing a basic shift in the values by which we direct our lives and policies.

From Genevieve Vaughan, “The present economic system, which is made to seem natural and too widespread to change, is based upon a simple operation in which individuals participate at many different levels and at many different times. This operation is exchange, which can be described as giving in order to receive. The motivation is self-oriented since what is given returns under a different form to the giver to satisfy her or his need. The satisfaction of the need of the other person is a means to thc satisfaction of one’s own need. Exchange requires identification of the things exchanged, as well as their measurement and an assertion of their equivalence to the satisfaction of the exchangers that neither is giving more than she or he is receiving. It therefore requires visibility, attracting attention even though it is done so often that the visibility is commonplace. Money enters the exchange, taking the place of products reflecting their quantitative evaluation.

“This seemingly simple human interaction of exchange, since it is done so often, becomes a sort of archetype or magnet for other human interactions, making itself-and whatever looks like it-seem normal, while anything else is crazy. For example, we talk about exchanges of love, conversations, glances, favors, ideas.”

Genevieve Vaughan (born November 21, 1939) is an American expatriate semioticianpeace activistfeminist, and philanthropist, whose ideas and work have been influential in the intellectual movements around the Gift Economy and Matriarchal Studies. Her support also contributed heavily to the development of the global women’s movement.

Read more about the Gift Economy here.

Read more about the Caring Economy here.

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