Collaborative Wealth: Why?

Collaborative Wealth: Why?

Community Wildlife Rangers engaged in access roads improvement, joining hands to uproot rocks on the road.

Collaborative wealth is a way to accomplish something hard to do by yourself. These are Community Wildlife Rangers engaged in access roads improvement, joining hands to uproot rocks on the road. Image by MugoMaina.

Collaborative Wealth

What is up with the idea of collaborative wealth?

It’s no secret: if you collaborate, you have more money and you spend less.

Why, then, is the very phrase “collaborative wealth” or “collaborative money” so totally weird-sounding? And not even hardly a search term. (Search and you’ll see what I mean.)

Why Collaborate for Wealth?

There are so many reasons to collaborate when it comes to wealth.

Everyone gets

  • richer
  • happier
  • more of what they want.

You may say: wealth is much more than money. True! Wealth = well-being. (Look it up.)I But it’s not like we collaborate well on any aspect of well-being or abundance. And money is certainly part of wealth.

Why Do We Not Collaborate?

Why don’t we tend to collaborate when it comes to wealth? Three guesses:

  • capitalism has rotted our brains
  • Darwinism makes us think competition is natural*
  • we aren’t paying attention to our own experience.

I think a big part of our problem is cultural. Capitalism and Darwinism are major forces in our culture. (They are deeply connected with Dr. King’s “three major evilsthe evil of racism, the evil of poverty, and the evil of war.”)

It’s interesting that to accompany this post, I chose an image of people who don’t look like they are working on a road in the US. (They might be, but it looks like Africa, from my experience there. But the image information doesn’t say where it was taken.) I didn’t do that “on purpose,” I did it unconsciously. I went looking for images of people “pulling together,” and thought I wanted a picture of people rowing–but they were totally uncompelling. This one felt like people building not just a road, but wealth, together.

I have a lot more to say about collaborating when it comes to money and to wealth, for that matter. But for now, I’ll pause…tantalizingly, to see what you have to say about the matter.

Other Posts in The Collaborative Wealth Series:




*See the information about Peter Kropotkin at that “Darwinism” link.


  • Pingback:Collaborative Wealth: How Do You Make It Happen? - RAISING CLARITY
    Posted at 20:34h, 01 May Reply

    […] why, what, how, and who of something I think I invented: “collaborative wealth.” The “Why?” post shared the concept. The “What?” post detailed it. Today, I want to explore how we […]

  • Pingback:Collaborative Wealth: What Is It? - RAISING CLARITY
    Posted at 11:11h, 12 April Reply

    […] am interested in collaborative wealth. So, it seems, are you: several people commented on last week’s post giving the “why” for collaborative wealth. I can see that […]

  • Jennifer Kahly
    Posted at 15:29h, 11 April Reply

    Good Stuff here. I like what Danielle says about living in proximity to share and help eachother. I have a similar set up with my farm and family. It is an AMAZING wealth to have childcare nearby, a father in law that seems to enjoy cutting out fire wood and mowing our lawn. I have more time to be attentive to their needs and other caring needs in my family. I hope my children choose to live close so i can give to them as much as I have received. It will also be much cheaper for them to live in “The family compound” than elsewhere.

  • Danielle Capillo
    Posted at 16:24h, 10 April Reply

    Yes in a gift economy I tend to give too much as well as under-accept or receive. I like a very clear exchange for that reason. For instance I currently trade childcare for bodywork. I am happy with this arrangement. Where as before we set the agreed exchange as swapping childcare but it turned out I didn’t need childcare as much as I need body work.
    In terms of what you don’t want I am not really clear what you mean. I am having a hard time envisioning a shared building of wealth but individual spending of wealth. Does this mean it is divided among those who help?
    I have heard of a common practice in several cultures is to set up a savings group. All the people in the group pool their savings over the year. At the end of the year one person gets the whole pot. And the next year the receiver rotates. this allows the individuals to save for things like a car, a medical procedure, etc. Is that an example of what you’re talking about?

    • Beth
      Posted at 17:07h, 10 April Reply

      Let me explore in an upcoming post what I’m thinking about. I find the questions very helpful, the past experiences very helpful in elucidating something that may be new.

  • Danielle Capillo
    Posted at 21:36h, 06 April Reply

    I was a member of a community with this intention – sharing resources to reduce our need for money. It was ideal in so many ways but when people started to want to do other things it fell apart. For some people it left very bad feelings in its wake. It has taken me a while to recover myself. I am not opposed to building wealth together and would do it again but I would have a very clear exit strategy built into the agreement. An exit strategy that makes it easy for people to join and to leave. We were kind of counting on everyone wanting to stay long term. The people I was involved with are very mature and the feelings were handled fairly well. The financial situation was the most difficult piece of the transition.
    I think I gained a lot of wisdom from that experience. It helped me to define some very clear boundaries.
    My family is another example of ways in which I have tried to build wealth as a group. I encourage my family to live close together and I offer my time, and assistance in ways that benefit us both. I like being surrounded by my family and friends and being interdependent. I like for money to pass hands or some kind of clear exchange rather than a general idea of fairness. When I know what I am trading my time and energy for I give more freely. And I am not left waiting for my return. I gravitate toward cooperative/collaborative endeavors but shy away from a gift economy. In a gift economy I tend to give too much and not recognize my own limits.
    Anyway I could probably go on. This is a conversation dear to my heart.

    • Beth
      Posted at 01:14h, 10 April Reply

      Danielle, thank you! This is a tenderly detailed exploration. It helps me see what I don’t mean, just like Mattie’s comment did, which I have also responded to here on this page. I think the one thing I don’t have a clear picture of in your response is what happens for you in the gift economy. To be honest, I’ve always been a bit suspicious of how a gift economy works, because like you I have a tendency to over-give (and in my case, under-accept, or receive, which it sounds like you may also have). Could you say more about that? Or anything else you felt moved to add. It is a conversation dear to my heart as well!

  • Mattie
    Posted at 17:27h, 05 April Reply

    Collaborating in wealth involves trading individual control for collective accountability.

    When 2 people own something, let’s say a vacuum cleaner, each of them can use it however they please…as long as the other is okay with that!

    • Beth
      Posted at 01:09h, 10 April Reply

      You may be right. But I remain unsettled with this vision of collaborative wealth. I want something each person involved “owns” more. Like wealth I help you create–and you “own,” and vice versa. More individual control, no collective accountability for use of the wealth, only for the raising of it. (Although I think there would be norms even for the use that would sort of stem from the raising of the wealth.) Great food for thought, thank you, Mattie!

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