• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • Joylynn Hardesty
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • James Freyr
  • Burra Maluca
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Ash Jackson
  • thomas rubino
  • Carla Burke

Life without pimping yourself out as a commodity

 
Posts: 3
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've done maintenance, professional massage, made herbal concoctions, grown food, raised animals, learned doula support, business management, fiddled with natural fermentations, and formed cheese... I've even put on an army uniform for a few years.

I've spent the bulk of my adult years in school, whether online, traditional college,  trade school, or at my own hand (привет, anyone? Bonjour!).  My next big leap was meant to be ayurveda, just to round me out, but with COVID hanging around, it's up in the air. That was meant to be my last big educational step before heading out of the country for the 4th time.  I feel like there's something big out there for me, and I just have to get there to understand it. But, I digress.

But the more I'm learning about natural subjects, the more I think we never should have lost it... The more I think, everyone should have this information... And the more I think about this, the less I want to charge money for it.  

All these things I can do, it's all online or in a few excellent books. Anyone can find the information I have. I know, I've searched for it. I've heard that if you have a few good friends, there's no need for a therapist (generally speaking). I feel that way about providing support as a doula, about asking someone to pay me for food that grows with almost zero input from me, things that basically grow themselves. All this is out there, if only we had had that elder to teach us, or to support us (doula) with information. It's nature, it's natural. And nature doesn't have a coin slot.

I consider a few hundred years ago, before margarine and standard shoe sizes, how did people live without a 9-5? It's rhetoric, of course; I've seen James Townsend and sons, read Little House on the Prairie, and I understand bartering. Enamored, yes. How the hell do I get back there?

How can I live without asking for cash? Reduced spending will help, absolutely. That's easy. Grow your food, make your clothes, go off-grid and live simply.

But how does a person live in this world without pimping out the body or the brain with payable tasks?  I detest the idea of being just another commodity.
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 5486
Location: SW Missouri
2375
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have no answer for you, but I want to see what you come up with. My CV looks as complex as yours (and similar, with complications) and I have been been wrestling with similar questions.
Welcome to Permies, this may be a great place for you, lots of similar minded folks here :D
 
Posts: 44
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think another side to this is that a lot of people prefer to go through someone else rather than hunt for the knowledge. Maybe they don't have the time, or maybe not a clue what to look for, or even not sure what is valid info, or what is hype.
 
Posts: 4
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Using cash, which is really just a representative of something else of actual value, is just a convenience in a world of many people and interests. There is nothing wrong with it. It just makes trade easier.
But to go further than that, ...a story.

An old Elder once said to me, "Why do these folks bring me so much tobacco? I have tobacco coming out of my ears. Sometimes cigarettes, sometimes American Eagle in a pouch. I appreciate the gesture. They are trying to do a Spiritual thing. But don't they realize I have bills to pay also? Sometimes I like to go to town and buy a sandwich. Sometimes I would like to put gas in the truck. That costs money." He went on to say, "The tobacco is a sacred gift, but sometimes I wish they might also think of what I might need other than what they think I might want."

It's a hard thing. Many of us would like to live pure lives, lives of abundance and lives to self-sufficiency. But the Gov't likes their taxes. The chain saw likes its gas. And once in a while, my wife likes flowers in the middle of winter. The none of us "pimp ourselves out" by accepting money for goods or services we provide. We only behave poorly if we misuse the money we give or receive, or take advantage of others when engaged with them. Live your life well. Live honestly. Give and receive, as you would receive and give from others. Then the exact mode of exchange doesn't really matter.
 
Posts: 131
Location: Prairie Canada zone 2/3
47
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

teresa quintero wrote:I think another side to this is that a lot of people prefer to go through someone else rather than hunt for the knowledge. Maybe they don't have the time, or maybe not a clue what to look for, or even not sure what is valid info, or what is hype.



This is very true.  I have done plenty of self-directed learning, but there are times when I am happy to pay someone to spoon-feed me knowledge, even when I know darn well I could go track down the same knowledge on my own.  It's faster to have an expert hand it to you in a structured way, versus finding bits and pieces and having to sort through the BS by trial and error.  Sometimes I just need to learn the thing quickly, and will pay for someone else's assistance with that.  
 
gardener
Posts: 2698
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
993
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

teresa quintero wrote:I think another side to this is that a lot of people prefer to go through someone else rather than hunt for the knowledge. Maybe they don't have the time, or maybe not a clue what to look for, or even not sure what is valid info, or what is hype.

Maybe it's because for many thousands of years, humans learned not from books, but at the elbow of an elder? We would have learned to help a woman give birth by watching the women of the village support a woman in birthing, or before that  a cow in calving.
 
gardener
Posts: 533
Location: Central Texas
194
hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My feelings are mixed with this topic, so apologies in advance for the long post.
On one hand, I have always liked to barter when it comes to things I produce/have from the farm/homestead. While money is valued by the dollar, the things we produce may have a greater or lesser value to us than to the person we barter with. For instance, I was planning to buy a rabbit from a fellow breeder to use in one of my genetics projects in my rabbitry. To me, her rabbit is worth paying money for, because it has the genetics I need, and was produced by a breeder I trust. Knowing I grow plants for market, she texted a couple days ago asking if I had any hardy hibiscus plants with the "dinner plate" blooms, (rare in this area) which she wanted to trade the rabbit for a plant or two. It just so happens that I have a bed with a dozen established plants that produce tons of seeds each year, so I have about a hundred of these "rare" plants in pots around the greenhouse (since corona ruined spring market) with 3-4 plants per pot, with more growing in the field. So, basically, I probably value the plants less than the nursery pots they're growing in. At the same time, my friend doesn't see the value in the rabbit's genetics as I do, just because she has a barn full of rabbits with those genetics. For that reason, I will gladly take her a dozen of these plants in exchange for the rabbit she considers a cull.  Ultimately, it's like we both win.

On the other hand, as I get older, I often find myself being more willing to pay cash for something, just because it's a "cut & dry," quick transaction that requires little time & energy. There's also times when someone wants to buy a plant or rabbit (my main 2 products), and I just give a monetary price for them to take or leave. Sometimes that's because I need money to buy something else that I can't barter for or to pay bills. Then, we can't forget the price of convenience. The only reason Bonnie Plants is in business is because people are willing to pay for the convenience of an established transplant; despite the fact that they can buy an entire pack of seeds to grow many plants, for less than the cost of the one transplant. To me, that's foolish; but I can't judge anyone considering I will gladly pay a mechanic to change the oil in the truck, even though I could browse YouTube and find dozens of free tutorials.

I know this is different from "pimping" yourself and your skills, but I feel it's the same principle of having goods (or services) that someone else wants; and most people who seek out your goods/service are usually willing to pay for it.

One more thought, and I promise to quit rambling:
After I got sick in 2013, I went through some mental/emotional issues where I started to see myself as inferior, and lacking value as a person. This resulted in me viewing the products from my hard work as also having little value, which was reflected by me undercharging/giving away things, despite the need for money to pay for necessary things. Sometimes I didn't even try to market them, simply because, subconsciously, I decided it was worthless since I produced it. Finally, towards the end of last year, I realized that frame of mind was wrong, and my body's health issues don't make me inferior to the general, "perfect" health population. It's been a challenge to keep this new mindset after 7 years of putting myself down more than anyone else could ever do, but I try to remember that part of valuing myself is valuing my skills and products of my work. Now, I have started to ask a fair value for the plants and rabbits people enquire about, and the self- value is reinforced when they agree to pay the price. Furthermore, I now move out more products than I did when I was giving them away for free or cheap.( I assume that's because people felt they were inferior products since the producer didn't even think they were worth paying for). I only bring up this embarrassing info because think it's important to remind people that they are valuable and everyone has something special about them, which makes the things they contribute to society/the world, valuable.

So, despite the information, etc. being out there, free for the taking to anyone willing to seek it out; maybe consider the value of the years you spent to become knowledgeable and skilled enough to effectively teach/serve others who haven't/won't invest that time to get the knowledge themselves. Time equals money, and money equals the goods & services we need to survive in today's world. Even if you do accept alternate forms of payment in lieu of money for your services (bartering), I feel it's absolutely appropriate to ask for money or the things you need in exchange for the convenient "shortcut" you provide them when you share the products of the years of work you did to get that knowledge.

Hope this all makes sense.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 307
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
119
dog
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I totally get it...cash as a medium makes you uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, without cash the basics are unobtainable (land, taxes, transportation etc.).

By all means give everyone the opportunity to barter and/or trade for your services, and utilize this as much as possible. Then remind yourself, cash was created to fill the void of need vs supply when there was no mutually beneficial option for barter or trade. Because, at the end of the day, that is all money is a convenient substitute when I have nothing you want or need but I am in need of your knowledge and/or skill.

The fact that your skill set is readily available in a "few books" is, frankly immaterial. Feel free to educate folks, point them towards resources, but also realize that many do not or can not do the work you have done. For them, it is more valuable/cost effective to "hire" you and have a personal instructor or professional worker - for which they have chosen to trade your skill and/or knowledge for goods, services or cash - whichever medium works best for the situation, both parties, and that provides adequate compensation for the work you have done.

I will digress, now. I think this may be more of an internal issue, one I relate to, feeling, for whatever reason, not worthy. If taking a compliment is hard for you (if you can't simply say "thank you, and instead downgrade what you were complimented for " oh, that's nothing....") this might be an area to look into for personal growth. Simply learning to say thank you when complimented is still a huge struggle for me, and although in my 50's I still feel like a "fraud" as an "adult"!  
 
pollinator
Posts: 497
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
101
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think, especially with your varied skillset, you should be able to get by on barter just fine.

A friend of my parents' just recently used his artistic skills to make a sign for a dental clinic in exchange for some work on his teeth. I think he does that sort of thing quite a bit.

My grandma has, off and on, always had people living on her land in exchange for doing various things around the place: snow removal, tree removal, earthworks, construction, general chores, personal care now that she's getting older.

My in laws are getting older as well, and one of their tenants often gets a month of free rent here and there for doing some of the bigger jobs they can't do so well anymore.

I know someone who gets a carton of eggs once a week in exchange for doing minor bookkeeping and a yearly income tax return.

My husband exchanged the RV we used to live in for a welder and a few miscellaneous tools.

You just have to be creative and not afraid to suggest it to people.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1227
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
180
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like all those answers. <g>

One more way to look at it: We all live in many worlds at the same time. In some of those money is big, in others not so much. All those worlds have significance, need to be respected and it's good if we can move in them adequately.

Another thought rephrased from above posts: Money is a tool of commerce.

Commerce entails people relating to people. (Good, that, right?) Commerce also allows people to exchange things they have in abundance for things they need - often a _lot_ more easily than having to rely on barter. And, anyway, you _can_ barter (haggle) in money. An economy with money, of all and various types, is a functioning ecosystem, a thing of great complexity and nuance. It is a virtual organism (you can't see it with your eyes), but not at all necessarily digital.   We have built it piece by piece, many years, and it is one of the structures the allow and shape this and most other civilizations. From certain perspectives, an economic system is something of huge and magical beauty, something awesome well beyond the sum of its parts and beyond the full understanding of any person or group.

Also, money provides ways for people to work together that doesn't rely on guns, whips, chains. If you say, those tools of domination give rise to money or vice versa, I beg to differ. The need for commerce gives rise to money.

And here is one I think will be germane for years and years:
https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/02/15/131934618/the-island-of-stone-money

You have worked many ways. I'm pretty sure you have noticed that while you might not be god, you have something to offer, at that time and that place, that is important to people and that they're not getting anywhere else. Remember to allow the other person to have their say in what is worth it and important to them.  They may know more than you in some cases...


Regards,
Rufus


 
Lindsay Bair
Posts: 3
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you, everyone.  This is the perspective I needed.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2002
Location: 4b
448
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Rufus Laggren wrote:I like all those answers. <g>

One more way to look at it: We all live in many worlds at the same time. In some of those money is big, in others not so much. All those worlds have significance, need to be respected and it's good if we can move in them adequately.

Another thought rephrased from above posts: Money is a tool of commerce.

Commerce entails people relating to people. (Good, that, right?) Commerce also allows people to exchange things they have in abundance for things they need - often a _lot_ more easily than having to rely on barter. And, anyway, you _can_ barter (haggle) in money. An economy with money, of all and various types, is a functioning ecosystem, a thing of great complexity and nuance. It is a virtual organism (you can't see it with your eyes), but not at all necessarily digital.   We have built it piece by piece, many years, and it is one of the structures the allow and shape this and most other civilizations. From certain perspectives, an economic system is something of huge and magical beauty, something awesome well beyond the sum of its parts and beyond the full understanding of any person or group.

Also, money provides ways for people to work together that doesn't rely on guns, whips, chains. If you say, those tools of domination give rise to money or vice versa, I beg to differ. The need for commerce gives rise to money.

And here is one I think will be germane for years and years:
https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/02/15/131934618/the-island-of-stone-money

You have worked many ways. I'm pretty sure you have noticed that while you might not be god, you have something to offer, at that time and that place, that is important to people and that they're not getting anywhere else. Remember to allow the other person to have their say in what is worth it and important to them.  They may know more than you in some cases...


Regards,
Rufus




I gave you one apple for your post, and another for that cool article.  Thank you.
 
Tick check! Okay, I guess that was just an itch. Oh wait! Just a tiny ad:
100th Issue of Permaculture Magazine - now FREE for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/45/pmag
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic