“What Would Google Do?” keeps referring to “the gift economy,” where participants give away things of value to the shared benefit of the community. Think wikipedia, where people contribute their knowledge free of charge for the benefit of all.
It sounds like something I want to know more about. Naturally, I went to wikipedia:
…a gift economy (or gift culture) is a society where valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards (i.e. there is no visible quid pro quo). Ideally, simultaneous or recurring giving serves to circulate and redistribute valuables within the community. The organization of a gift economy stands in contrast to a barter economy or a market economy. Informal custom governs exchanges, rather than an explicit exchange of goods or services for money or some other commodity… Some consider the gifts to be a form of reciprocal altruism.
It’s generosity, but with the expectation that what goes around, comes around. It’s an economy — a system — not merely a virtue. I like this idea because it makes community life more fun.