We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Venturesome travelers use the Web to create an international gift economy of hospitality.

from On the Commons. 
Couchsurfing has become so popular in some locations that there are local groups who host visiting Couchsurfers. The connections often persist over time, and grow into a new sort of international network of friendship, pleasure and trust. What’s amazing about Couchsurfing is how quickly it has scaled and how durable and trustworthy it generally is. It just goes to show that a gift economy can grow to international scale, thanks to the Web, and be every bit as satisfying as the Holiday Inn, and cheaper.