We were an artisan based culture once, wherein a skill or trade was learned intimately over a span of generations, the young apprentice dedicating his or her entire life to working tirelessly to learn each intimate nuance of the anvil blow, woodcut, brushstroke or planting technique. As the young novice through diligence and fortitude came into his or her own with them a deep pride was born in the art of making quality goods with one’s own hands, and in turn a respect by those that valued them. The creation of the steam engine and in turn spinning jenny created for the first time the need for unskilled laborers to do one task over and over. From this moment on advance came not in skill but wage and only after a historically ferocious battle. The rise in quality of life has been a double edged sword, coming at the cost of outsourcing reliance on resources first from urban to rural and then from the first to third world. Technology has done a great many things yet with it’s growth we have also seen the near extinction of heritage based cultural knowledge. On top of this the way we interact has increasingly moved from tangible to virtual interactions resulting in a deep loss of community often diagnosed as anything but.
We believe that this sense of community is imperative to fulfillment and that we must preserve cultural knowledge at all costs. Voluntary Value Exchange puts people in a position to reconnect in free public space and to forge connections between each other based on physical and educationally driven relationships. Everyone puts their name, skills or things they are good at/enjoy doing as well as those things they would like to learn and a way to contact them on “the wall” and we use it as a foundation on which to begin assessing what can be learned/exchanged based on the results. Everyone that lives has hobbies, things they do out of habit or fulfillment and often they think that they’re the only ones who could possibly have interest in them, yet the person next to you on the bus or in the grocery line could have always wanted to learn exactly that. They in turn might have a skill or knowledge that you have been looking for as well. We must re-establish our local communities, to take stock of what we enjoy and are able to do and begin rebuilding them side by side with those willing to do the same by the equivalent exchange of value, to insource and emplace our communties.