Is it hard to give away money?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe
  • I don’t know
  • Can you repeat the question?
0 voters

Please share any thoughts, experiences, stories, theories, books… that helped you answer this question.

I will start by sharing this book, initially recommended by @jolene and (maybe? I am not sure) @socrates1024: [1999] The gift

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I think it’s also very relevant the research they are doing at givedirectly:

I find easy to give away one dollar to someone on the street. It’s hard to give away a more interesting amount typically because of selfish reasons. Sometimes it’s because I know that the other person would not accept it or might feel offended. Other times it occurs naturally.

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I’ve chosen “maybe”, haven’t thought much about it. Some elements that make it hard: in a permission-less system people can show up repeatedly to take money. That seems unfair. In general, being fair when giving away money seems hard. There is some kind of adverse selection even sometimes (think airdrop famers). On the other hand, giving away money to friends or good causes is pretty straightforward to me. Now that I think about it, the most complicated part of giving away money is to find who needs it the most. But maybe that is the wrong objective all together. Just finding somebody who needs money more than I do should be good enough.

Another element of the question is how you source the money that you give away. Is it yours, do you print it, is it somebody else’s? That makes a difference.

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I don’t think it’s hard, just give money to people. I think it’s only hard when you have something you expect them to do with it

I’ve been reading “Banker to the Poor” which is more about lending in a way that encourages productive and accountable use

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Thanks for sharing @sergio @Christoph and @socrates1024. This topic fascinates me.

I hear it gets hard with optimization problems, like who needs it the most, and when the amount is big, and how to align your expectations with the other.

I’ve been questioning if money is the right technology for gifts. Just as a thought experiment, because currently we need to use money to rebalance. I think this is related to what @Christoph points out about whose money is it.

There are a lot of related threads that we can open when we talk about food. This is very personal because now I see so clearly that I am what I eat, so I observe a lot my food and her story. Food has no owner, it’s the gift of the great spirit. In the post capitalist philanthropy webinar Rupa Marya says that food must not be sold, food is to be shared: [2023] Post capitalist philantorpy webinar - #5 by chayoterabit

Play with me.

How does it feel different when you give a cake as a gift, instead of the 10$ that it costs? How does it feel different to give $100 to somebody who will use the money to buy food, instead of any other purpose? How does it feel different to give $10000 to somebody who we expect will multiply them and end up with many people having enough money to feed themselves?

Would we design our systems in a whole different way if everybody who participates in them received the gift of beautiful food?

@socrates1024 please share more about the book once you are done, I would like to read that.

Some say it’s even harder than it seems: [2312.02752] Airdrops: Giving Money Away Is Harder Than It Seems (

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Hello @kakia, thanks for coming.

This one is very interesting. It finds hard for people to keep the coins for a long time, to use them to vote, or to help increase the price in dollars. The action of giving away requires technical details, but even a fancy scheme sounds easy.

The airdrop metaphor itself is interesting. In a war airdrop they would give away food, pharmaceutical drugs, propaganda, sometimes even guns :scream: I doubt they’ve ever gifted money.

What would happen in Venezuela if they get an airdrop in dollars? What if they get it in bolívares? What if they get it in ether?

With the airdrop of new tokens, for people outside of the organic community to keep the tokens I guess they have to be already wealthy, so they don’t have any economic pressure. But maybe not too wealthy, so they are tempted by the bet of unexpected multiplication of the profit. If they are very wealthy, maybe they would tend to optimize by investing in things they already know to be profitable, instead of a bet somebody else is pushing them to take.

Another interesting question that comes to me is why to drop so much money all at once, instead of a smooth allocation closely tied to community growth.

@kakia I see you answered yes in the poll. Would you like to share more about what’s on your mind? :slight_smile: