Thursday, 13 January 2011


'Just give me money (that's, what I want)'
(Bradford and Gordy Jr.)

I said that I was somewhat subversive, and I like to think of myself as being so.  One way is my approach to payment.

First of all, let me give you the way in which I expect the most of you will pay.  Through money.

A workshop for individuals will cost 50 złoty.
For pairs 80 złoty in total.
For three to five people, 150 złoty.
For more people, we'll have to come to a deal depending on the number of people.

Conversation course: 30 złoty per hour for individuals, or 20 złoty per hour each if it's a pair.
Proof-reading: 5-10 złoty per page, depending on how much corrections I have to do.

NOW, let me tell you that part of me is not so happy with the monetary system of payment.  I've had period in my life when I was unemployed, and know that money can be a barrier to having good things, like, for example, my workshops.  That's why I consider my prices to be not very high.  I'll say that openly.

Another thing is the topic of commodification.  Do you know that word?  According to Wikipedia it means, the:

transformation of goods and services (or things that may not normally be regarded as goods or services) into a commodity.

As someone who is also involved in peace activism and work against discrimination, I know that the process of commodification can cause problems.  I mean, let's look at my work, is it possible to ascribe monetary worth to the things that you shall gain from it?

Let's say, communication skills.  You can make money out of them if your communication skills lead to a promotion at work, or they may help your relationship with your partner and thus you'll save money on a divorce.  Even so, not everything that you'll gain from a workshop about communication can be given a monetary value.

Same with singing.  How will you make money out of that?  No, you're paying for the feeling of confidence you'll get from the class.  Can a feeling be given a monetary value?  I'd say not.

Of course, I have paid for my own singing lessons, so I would be getting some money back that I was paying out for my classes.  Even so, I wasn't doing the classes to make money.

The thing is, if we were to follow the chain of dominos, we'd have the situation where financial values are given to everything, such as feelings, confidence, relationships and peaceful relations.  I don't agree with that.  Furthermore, we see in history how the measurement of people and what they financially contribute to society can lead to the discrimination and persecution of disabled people.  (Forget Godwin's Law, this point is valid).  We see it now where the inflow of immigrants is being measured purely by how much they can contribute to the country financially.

The person is more than their monetary worth.

So why do I charge money, then?  Well, I need food on my table.  I am not financially reliant on my workshops for money, but it always helps.  It's the way the system is, that people get paid for the work they do.

Ideally one would be able to pay via other means, such as, if you were a farmer, you could pay me on potatoes or eggs.  If you had an allotment, you could pay me in flowers.

Chances are, though, that you are not a farmer, and don't have an allotment.  The system of production is such now that the old system whereby one could buy good directly from the one who produced it has largely been eradicated.  That's why we pay money to each other, to enable us to buy things produced by other people, who we have no contact with.

The cool thing with Poland is that the networks are closer, and people help each other out in different ways: they get a friend to drive them to the airport instead of a taxi, or a mother-in-law looks after the baby rather than a baby sitter outside of the friends and family circle.

Outside of this network, however, is little chance to pay in ways other than money.

I, then, offer you the following: Perhaps you have access to food from your parents, or you grow your own.  Perhaps you have a skill, such as you are a qualified hairdresser, or you are a qualified masseur (my wife would like that); perhaps you have a car and could transport me somewhere, like to the train station or airport, perhaps you occasionally go on a trip to somewhere like Karkonosze, perhaps you have some old clothes you can get rid of, or have some baby ware you don't need, or you know how to make a good pastry with wholemeal flower (something I cannot do yet), or perhaps you're good at finding a good flat to live in, or perhaps you brew your own alcohol, or make your own tea, or have some old books in English or DVD's of Polish classics like Pan Tadeusz with English subtitles and you'd be happy to give them away.......there are many ways in which you could pay without using money.  This could be done by an arrangement.  You could also help to publicise my blog.  Deals can be made.

Or perhaps you would want to pay with money.

(I appreciate that by taking money I am contributing to commodification, but I didn't say I was totally subversive, did I?)

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