Why Do We Keep Money and Community Separate?

This week has been an intense, emotionally exhausting week. I’ll have a full post all about my HB and I’s recent experience getting our first home inspection then bidding on our first house for Monday. But that’s not what I want to talk about in this post.

Today, I want to talk about money. Not in the usual sense of being financially responsible with it, but more questioning how we got to this place where money and community rarely mix.

The other day I went to this free author talk at the Toronto Public Library with my book club. The author was Miranda July, and although I’ve never read any of her short stories or her new novel, I loved her movies Me, You and Everyone We Know, and I am still trying to figure out her latest movie The Future (so good, but so damn weird).

Anywho, part of her talk was about money. She mentioned that at some of her stage performances she would take donations from the audience and ask the crowd who was in need of the pot of money the most. Then, whoever needed it the most at the end of the show would get it. Kind of an unusual concept, but also completely brilliant.

This was a simple way to use money as a community to do good. To help someone who couldn’t afford to pay rent or who just lost their job that only cost the individual audience members a couple of bucks. I feel in our society, money is itself very singular and not communal.

We don’t make it and save it up to help out others. We make it and save it to help ourselves, and if there’s a little bit leftover then maybe we’ll donate some to charity or give it to someone in need on the street. I understand that our First World society is all about survival of the fittest and taking care of ourselves and our families first.

But I really wish there was more of a community aspect to money. The most I’ve found is a community of other bloggers and blog readers who want to talk about money. But if talking about money is still somewhat taboo, I’m not sure how using money with more of a community mentality will become the norm anytime soon.

I mean, even when you are giving back and donating money to a charity, it’s not the same as giving money to someone in need person to person. There’s the barrier of the organization itself and it’s usually not personal in the sense that you know who that money is going to help.

Even when I used to have a sponsor child, yes I had the child’s photo and could write to her, but who really knows if she was real! I hoped she was, but all of my money and communications with her were funnelled through this big organization, so there was always a sense of detachment from the situation. Same goes for all of the those crowd-funding campaigns online.

Everything goes through a website, then a company, then eventually gets back to whoever started the campaign. But it all happens online, anyone could do it, and let’s be honest, most of the campaigns aren’t to help out members of the community (remember the potato salad Kickstarter campaign?)

Anyways, that’s just what’s been on my mind lately. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to start changing my money habits to be more community focused, but hopefully I’ll think of something.

Leave a Reply