Matching Resources to Needs: Learning to Receive through Participating in “Money Piles”

Miki Kashtan describes a practice called “money piles” which is a powerful tool for distributing shared money

Ever since patriarchy, and especially capitalism, we’ve lived in the horror of no longer being able to receive, without exchange or debt, just because we have a need. We only experience it, and only partially and imperfectly, early in life. This is what I am committed to restoring: a flow from where resources exist to where they are needed, based on wholehearted willingness. I want all of us to be part of this web.

Even “fairness” is conceptual, as is the socialist slogan “from each according to their ability to each according to their need.” This is why I emphasize, in all my work, willingness, which is internally measured and thus unenforceable, rather than notions of ability or fairness, which invite external measures and thus, by necessity, an implicit external authority that will decide.

The basic format of the money pile is that all those who are requesting to receive money collected at an event gather together and dynamically decide how to divide the money.

If we look at this like a game it’s rules are simple. Money is put in the middle and each person around the table has two moves, push money (to the middle or toward someone else) or pull money (toward themselves). The game is over once no one has any other moves.

The remainder of the article dives into some touching stories of the money pile in action.





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