200701080026-1Rob Walker's NT Times Magazine column on Sunday Jan 7th looked at the idea of unconsumption. Rob, in post festive-deluge mood, wondered whether it could feel better to give things away rather than receive them. He examined the success of Freecycle - a site and community that lets people find stuff that other people want to get rid of.

Rob Walker's NT Times Magazine column on Sunday Jan 7th looked at the idea of unconsumption. Rob, in post festive-deluge mood, wondered whether it could feel better to give things away rather than receive them. He examined the success of Freecycle – a site and community that lets people find stuff that other people want to get rid of.

Whatever attracts people to join, part of what keeps them involved, Beal says, is something they probably didn’t expect: the moment when someone thanks you backward and forward for giving him something you planned to throw away. “There’s a sort of paradigm shift in your brain: ‘Wow, that feels really good,’ ” Beal says. “That’s what I think is fueling this absurd amount of growth we’ve had.”

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