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Philippe Bradley
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interesting to come across this on the same day as interviews with Second Life virtual citizens bemoaning the interference of Second Life's designers for stepping in and regulating the in game banks (which have been undergoing a run recently and people have lost their virtual savings, in other words, real money (you buy Linden dollars with US$)). They are facing the death of an anarchist (in the nicest sense of the word) utopia. Shame, really. Reality bites.
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Are they generous? What kind of a question is that?? The real questions are: are they self-aware, enlightened about the system they're in, and truly critical of the inequalities that it produces and the appalling human behaviour (materialism, jealousy, isolation, competition) that it promotes? Are they prepared to do something about it? If not, any 'generosity' is at best the purchase of absolution, no matter how sincere they (we? given elements of my background, it's perhaps hypocritical to say 'they') feel their actions are. The generosity of the rich is a vital crutch for a crippled system. So I feel bad kicking it, but mainly, I rail against the system. This crutch is educated and often intelligent - so why the self-deception from the realities of its role in the system and its potential for redressing it more permanently? Enough of the short term measures, the absolution - a system that over the past few decades (and centuries and millennia!) has tended to increasing the aggregation of wealth (in a world where money is so important) in a world where remaining resources are being stretched to unprecedented levels by increasing populations and the spreading of modern life to all corners of the Earth. This is about living sustainably, by thinking about the long term health of the system.
Toggle Commented Jan 23, 2008 on Are America's Rich Boors Generous? at Gift Hub
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Yawn. YASN [Yet Another Social Network]. Seriously, what value could these guys possibly add compared to a large, non-niche platform that allows groups to form, but more importantly, has others around not yet in the 'scene' that the for-good groups forming can attract. An isolated social network really isn't much good compared to that, and you could even make the argument that they simply dilute the environment and effort others put in, and waste the attention (a limited resource!) of activists, both current and potential. I wish people would stop developing web stuff out of boredom. Stop, think objectively about whether you're adding value, if no, then don't do it - save your resources and ours, for something more innovative.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2008 on UnLtdWorld at Gift Hub
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Dr. Dan McQuillan views this issue from a slightly different slant over at http://www.internetartizans.co.uk/seedcamps_for_social_innovation
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Sorry, I was being daftly pedantic about the overweight thing. I've always thought that obesity's growing prevalence is a knock-on effect of a society that consumes too much, alongside inactivity. If true, could Second Life have an impact on how we consume? Would it wean us off our consumption habits as we re-learn what it means to be part of a community (albeit online and virtual) that collaborates and entertains itself -- or will virtual commerce (the kind that's making virtual entrepreneurs real fortunes, as you mentioned) proliferate and turn us into even bigger consumers! As an aside: How long until a charity is setup to combat a virtual ill? Like online bullying, Second Life poverty, "illiteracy", etc...
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I think it's fantastic you're taking the risk out of the hands of the donor, who is already doing a lot in the relationship by shelling out and getting "just" feelgood in return (nothing material). I'm sure it'll work well as a marketing tool and may well boost GlobalGiving's margins to a point where this is a sustainable business model experiment -- for you guys. But could it really become the norm? Without the marketing benefits (because it's the norm), would it really work out for your rivals to take on that amount of risk? I can only see it being viable as the industry norm if one of two circumstances are, or become, true -- either your rivals' margins are already high enough to take on this risk to their bottom line, or making this the industry norm gives rise to a huge influx of donors (so margins grow and absorb the risk). Is either likely? I'm not sure.
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