gift culture

Gift Culture – OK, there is still time to vote for Doc. He deserves it; his willingness to rationally reconsider a blogger’s sacred topic like incestuous Google links is reason enough. But what is it with this need to associate everything with a “gift culture”? “Gift Culture” isn’t really my experience of ham radio culture (my call sign is KB8ZRL). Ham radio culture is about self-reliance, making do with limited resources, working together, and duty to your community. More like the boy scouts than the communist party — sorry to say so, Doc. Ham radio gatherings even have their own style of capitalistic flair, usually featuring fellow hams offering all sorts of accoutrements of the hobby for sale. The computer shows used to be the same, before the arrival of the self-righteous idealogues. Thank God nobody is calling the ham radio manufacturers to GPL their products (you can have this transistor for free, but you have to give away for free any products you ever make that use it). Plus, radio operation didn’t have all of the glamorous IPOs and promise of lurid wealth, so ham radio didn’t attract so many politicians.

This tuesday, most of us on my team brought in food dishes to share. We put them all in a conference room and had a good time. We got to see the Russian technique of opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew, eat horse meat, vegetable tamales, and some really good Indian tamarind pickles. Tons of great food, and I think most people actually enjoyed sharing their favorite dish with the others. Well, does that make Microsoft a “gift culture”? I mean, nobody was in it for financial gain — should I feel guilty, like a bad American because I enjoyed the food in what was a “from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs” exercise? I feel like a communist already! And I bet my ancestors participated in a barn raising or two — please don’t tell the authorities!

If Ham Radio is “gift culture” then so is everything else…

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