March 19, 2019 - June 20, 2019

Global Reciprocity Course

We envision this course as a way for leaders, educators, and the general public to gain a deeper understanding of the Long View of History and the roots of our current world problems.

See the last 10,000 years of human history through the lenses of reciprocity and community.

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We cannot solve our current problems without first accurately analyzing them. This analysis must go far beyond the past 200 or 400 years to encompass the last 10,000 years of human history. This is what we call the Long View of History. The Long View of History requires the systematization of history in ways that provide context for our current times and also offer new and emergent solutions. The purpose of the Course on Global Reciprocity is to do just that.

Specifically, the main objectives of the course are for participants to:

  1. Begin to understand the language of reciprocity and empire;
  2. Analyze and gain new perspectives on the state of their personal, communal, and global reciprocal relationships;
  3. Began to understand and feel moved by the process of Global Reciprocity and;
  4. Learn about the strategic and philosophical responses to the problems of modernity from the last 200 years


Key Details


Participants will engage in meetings twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6-8:30pm between March 19, 2019 and June 20, 2019. For participants local to Boston, our meetings will be in-person at the Ayni Institute in East Boston. We anticipate global interest in the Course, with various other hubs in cities across the world. All meetings will be broadcast live for access anywhere in the world with internet connection.

Training Format:

The general format of this course will be lectures on Tuesday evenings and questions and discussion on Thursday evenings. Participants will be expected to attend every meeting date and engage in the assignments and readings for those sessions.


The actual cost of the training is $1,000. In an effort to make this course as accessible as possible, we are accepting payment on a sliding scale in the following three categories:

Student or Community Member (Scholarship or Working Class) $450 (or 10 payments of $50)
General Tuition $950 (or 10 payments of $100)
Individuals with higher financial resources $1,800

Course Syllabus

Section Date Module
Understanding Community & Reciprocity March 19 and 21 Introduction to Reciprocity
Community and Collective Work
March 26 and 28 Traditions and Religions
The Gifts of Mother Earth
Continuity, Change & Breaking Reciprocity April 2 and 4 Dialectics of Continuity
April 9 and 11 Ego, Individualism  and Entitlement
The Hoarding of Wisdom and Market-Driven Education
History of Reciprocity and Empire April 23 and 25 Seeds of Empire–Fuedalism
April 30 and May 2 Empire, Colonialism and Industrialization
May 7 and 9 Multi-Nation Reciprocal Organization
Responses to Modernity Problems and Traditions of Change
May 14 and 16 Two Views of Life
Towards Global Reciprocity May 21 and 23 Reciprocity Today & the Pillars of Global Reciprocity
The Will to Live
June 11 and 13 The Will to Create
The Will to Act
The Will to Give and Receive
June 18 and 20 Reciprocity at the Local, National, and Global Level
Course Closing and Reflection


Module Details

Part 1: Understanding Community & Reciprocity

1) Introduction to Reciprocity 
Introduction to Modes of Exchange
This session will establish common language around reciprocity: what is reciprocity, what is weak versus strong reciprocity, and how reciprocity plays a part in social, political and economic relationships. We will use Kojin Karatani’s framework of Modes of Exchange, allows the comparison of the historical development and function of systems of exchange based on reciprocity versus those based on domination.

2) Community & Collective work
The story of our human tribe
This session dives more deeply into the social dynamics of how reciprocity manifests in our family, tribes and communities. We analyze how reciprocity has been organized in the last 200 years and discuss interpretations of collective work across time. This session will also establish common language around productivity.

3) Traditions & Religions
Culture & Organization
This module addresses a key component in understanding global reciprocity: how cultures come together. The goal of the session is to understand the basics of cultural development and organization including values, rituals, myths, and methods of communication. In this process, we will analyze some of the dominant and non-dominant cultures (traditions and religions) of the last millenia.

4) The gifts of Mother Earth
Her story & legacy
This session focuses on the major ecological processes that gave rise to life, and how we are connected as a species to those processes. This is critically important because our current dominant cultures negate Mother Earth and her role in our lives. Global reciprocity includes not only our responsibility to be in reciprocity with other cultures, but with all living beings, including Mother Earth and other species.

Part 2: Continuity, Change & Breaking Reciprocity

5) Dialectics of Continuity
Affirmation & Negation
This session will focus on how moments of crisis affect cultures and their development. This dialogue between people in a culture, with other people, with their environments and with their epoc is what we call the dialectics of continuity. To understand this framework we will be looking at the dynamics of how communities process difficult situations and the role of trauma. We will be using this module to understand the key negations of our time (of Mother Earth, the feminine, etc.), and the key affirmations we now need in order to deal with current moments of crises.

6) Ego, Individualism & Entitlement
We will look at the role of individualism and its effects on destroying reciprocal relationships. We will provide a historical analysis of the many myths of individualism and how they manifest today in modern society. Some of the topics include the relationship between rights and responsibilities, tribalism, and entitlement; and understanding the emotional and material supports of individualism.

7) The Hoarding of Wisdom and Market-Driven Education
Theory without practice
We will analyze how wisdom becomes accumulated instead of reciprocal and the birth of meritocracy. In the current dominant educational system the priority is learning theory over practice and taking action without consequences. This module focuses on understanding this gap and the academic educational cultures it has created. We will analyze the roles of wisdom, teachers, and apprenticeship in reciprocal and non-reciprocal educational models.

Part 3: History of Reciprocity & Empire

8) Seeds of Empire – Feudalism
The Sedentary Revolution
We will focus on how individualism and certain communities begin using plundering as a lifestyle and how the agrarian and sedentary revolutions contribute to that process. We will go through a political and economic analysis of feudalism and its development over the last 10,000 years. This is imperative in understanding the early stages of accumulation and, therefore, how accumulation happens today.

9) Empire, Colonialism & Industrialization
First and Second Industrial Revolution
We will explore accumulation over the last 1,000 years and how the different empires and colonial efforts have organized themselves, including comparisons of different empires in order to understand the true purpose of empire. We will also understand how empire’s quest for accumulation led to the creation of the first and second industrial revolutions, and the effects it has had on our economic and political lifestyles today.

10) Multi-Nation Reciprocal Organization
Not everything large was empire
In contrast to modules 8 and 9, we will be exploring the history of reciprocity during this session. In a lot of history books today, we have been told that reciprocity was not capable of growing beyond one community, but there are a variety of studies and examples where large reciprocal networks (federations) were formed in which multiple communities were sharing economic and political resources. Many of these stories have been hidden by the stories of empire and civilization and include systems like the Tawantisuyo, which was one of the largest federations in South America.

11) Responses to Modernity Problems & Traditions of Change
For thousands of years, there have been many responses to empire and crises related to empire. We will map these historical and current responses, or traditions of change. As we map them, we will understand the strategies they employ and the strengths and weaknesses of each one. We will also see what major traditions of change exist today and how these traditions and the status quo are responding to current major economic & political crises.

Traditions of change include: the anti-colonial struggle, marxism, religious movements, satyagraha (civil resistance). Status quo responses include: technologist, liberalism, fascism, etc.

12) Two Views of life
Epistemology of Reciprocity & Antagonism
We will seek to understand the epistemology of our current culture of antagonism and how it manifests while comparing it to an epistemology of reciprocity. We will seek to find the foundations of these two philosophies or ways of life and how they manifest. This module will support us in understanding how to build cultures of reciprocity that are intentional and are strong philosophically.

Part 4: Towards Global Reciprocity

The modules for Part 4 will be more emergent, as we are still in the process of developing this curriculum.