Lily Cole's Impossible
Posted by Shephali Patel on Mar 25, 2014
My vision for Impossible – for what is possible – is rooted in the philosophy that underpinned my Cambridge thesis, “Impossible Utopias”, which was published this week. In it, I tried to retrieve a concept of utopia (etymology: “no place” / “good place”) as the ever-present existence of possibility by which we are all individually – collectively – empowered.
The first manifestation of this idea, for me, has centered around the gift economy, a concept written about mostly by anthropologists but that the British government understands as having a bigger presence in the UK than GDP. The difference between the gift paradigm and more typical exchange paradigms sits largely in the rumour of reciprocity. In exchange paradigms, return is quantified and direct.
In giving paradigms, reciprocity exists but it is generalized and not quantified. When something is done for “the other” – for the act of giving – a subtle bond is understood to be created between the two people. And that action is understood to trigger reciprocity. Imagine what happens at scale: social cohesion.