Giving, Taking and Kiva

No one is altruistic, not even Adam Grant. While he would classify himself as a “giver” every thing he does he asks himself; “How will this task benefit the recipient?” Everyone doing some good in the world in one way or another does it because they want something out of the experience. It could even be they want the experience of helping someone, but the act is done for a reason, not just for nothing.

Mr. Grant has done all sorts of studies that point to the fact people will work harder if they know they are helping others or society as a whole. Mr. Grant identifies this in himself with something as simple as checking his email. If he approaches the 200 emails he receives every night as just, answering emails, then the task is not rewarding for him, or those he is responding too. If he changes his perception and frames the task as helping people with questions, then he is more willing to spend the time helping his colleagues out.

So if selfless does not exist, how do funding platforms like Kick Starter and economic systems like Kiva generate positive outcomes for people? Economies like those are based in this giving and taking platform, highlighted in Grants new book. Based off of Grants theories, it would seem that fundraisers where there is a constant feedback loop between giver and taker would create the most interest. If there is constant reinforcement that your money is helping someone then are you more likely to keep donating to other fundraisers? Answering these questions on the psychology of giving could lead us to new economic models. In the mean time, keeping in mind that your own perception of “gooddoingness” can increase your production. Beginning to frame responsibilities in new ways that incorporate group benefits can be just what people need to improve perception and economic output across the country.

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