There was once a law about not selling certain goods on Sunday. (There still are restrictions). Though selling fruit was allowed. People got round this by selling an orange, say, for an overly high price and giving away a free spanner, or whatever else it was that was banned.
The interesting thing about this is that THERE ARE NO LAWS FOR GIVING. All the laws are attached to selling things. Anything bought or sold attracts a huge amount of legislation to protect the consumer, supposedly, or protect the seller, supposedly, or protect society, supposedly. Things have to have date stamps, and other labels. They have restrictions on what times or days they can be sold. Cars have to be registered. There are inspectors to enforce environmental health laws. Electrical goods can’t be sold at Jumble Sales. The list goes on and on.
A famous example of selling restrictions is the greengrocer who refused to sell bananas in kilos, and stuck to pounds and ounces. He was subjected to the law because he was SELLING bananas. If he gave them away, maybe free with an expensive paper clip, he could have set up his own rules.
With the old fashioned full spectrum light bulbs being phased out, I was wondering if the same selling loophole could be used. Maybe I could buy a paper clip for £1.20 and get a free light bulb! The same may apply to all the herbal remedies being phased out by new EU rules.
It is interesting that if you give money to charity, you can reclaim tax. This is another useful way of bypassing some of the rules. Another loophole is that gifts from abroad are not subject to import duty as imported bought goods are.
It is said that “possession is nine tenths of the law”. Buying and selling implies possession, and I wonder if there would be much law left without it.
If you buy something with money, you pay for it with money you earned, money that was used to buy you. If you pay for someone’s services, you temporarily own them and tell them what to do for that time. The energy of ownership and possession passes round with the money. I think this is one reason we get attached to things that we buy, because they represent the exchange of our labour for someone else, on someone else’s agenda. The money represents that sacrifice, and we do not want to feel we have sacrificed ourselves for nothing, we want something in return, something to make us feel it was worth it.
If something comes as a gift (a true gift, where hidden conditions are attached), we are more likely to pass it on as a gift, and it has no subliminal symbol of sacrifice attached to it.
We are being driven towards a choice, as always. If we let go of the money, we can shake off the laws and regulations that control us and all the products and food and services we buy. If we stick with the money, we are stuck with the laws, or with constantly fighting against the laws.
(See also: The Gift Economy, Stuff, Taxing, The Cost of Money, Shelf Life)