My previous post Micropatronage: values, ethics and courage or would you pay for my postgraduate degree created a number of conversations for me both on and offline. Firstly thanks to all those that have contributed to this and a special thanks to Joanne, Marigo and Mick for their thoughtful comments which you can read here.
The micropatronage issue is a contentious one and seems to divide people or completely confuse them. I am one of those completely confused souls. I feel as if I am one of those characters in an animation with the angel and demon on each shoulder debating whether I should eat the chocolate cake or not. I don’t wish to reduce this to good or bad or even chocolate cake for that matter but as similarly to Mick’s comment, I can make justifications for both sides but when it comes to that moment of decision I can’t go through with asking others to contribute to something for primarily my personal gain. Sponsorship or a grant or a scholarship are much more comfortable.
Let’s face it – I should be here trying to convince the world of my cause – but I am not. In some ways for me the issue is need versus want. I want to do further study, in fact I really really want to do further study – but do I need it? No. I already have a post grad qualification (and in fact many have said skip it and do a PhD which is government funded – but I digress).
I definitely agree with Joanne that World 2.0 is much more than about financial value. It is awesome that we live in an economy of abundance and we can help each other out but there are many more who don’t live in the same abundance as we do and I feel more compelled to give to someone in genuine need. Not to mention refer others to give to that need also rather than my own.
There are other issues that arise for me once the micropatronage call is out as well – for example what if I don’t reach the amount I require to proceed by the given date? Do I give the money back? Do I give it away to a charitable cause? Do I just change the end date? More ethical questions.
But I think all my ideas partly come from my childhood upbringing. I have worked since I was 15 years old and have always been paid for my work in whatever organisation I worked for and from this I have what I have – nothing more, nothing less. If I were to open my own business I would flail at attempting to put a financial value on my services per hour. Increasingly there is a fine balance between what you charge for and what you give away freely as well, new business models in which micropatronage plays a role in some. It challenges me greatly. In this World 2.0 where full time, ongoing, 9.00 – 5.00 work is diminishing there is a role for micropatronage, I see it, I even understand it but I cannot reconcile myself to it where it involves me seeking contributions.
And so I have circled the three issues of value, ethics and courage again – I am no closer to a definitive answer but am grateful for the diverse perspectives and challenging conversation.