We just got back from Mexico City, one of the largest cities in the world, where we were surrounded by 25 or so million strangers.
In transactions between strangers, cash scales. We paid a cab driver to take us to the airport. Cash enabled us to interact with people we don’t know and probably won’t see again.
In environments built on personal interaction and trust among intimates, like in the little town where we live, transactions based on money don’t increase efficacy, they degrade it. We’d never pay a friend to take us to the airport, nor would we consider charging friends for taking them to the airport. In small groups, money corrupts.
It’s a big world and cash helps us operate among people we don’t know. But if you want to build an intimate circle that lives on favors and gift exchange, don’t bring cash. Bring generosity.