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The Gift Relationship: the emergence of a non-market economy in the management of vacant property Quintin Bradley Leeds Metropolitan University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Gift Relationship: the emergence of a non-market economy in the management of vacant property Quintin Bradley Leeds Metropolitan University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Gift Relationship: the emergence of a non-market economy in the management of vacant property Quintin Bradley Leeds Metropolitan University

2 ‘Meanwhile space’ (Locality 2011), or short- notice free lets to the voluntary and community sector in the commercial property market Vivid indication of how minimal growth leads to expansion of reciprocity in times of market failure Transformation of the role of voluntary and community sector in exporting a model of precarious labour to the formal economy

3 Property slump : 16 per cent of all commercial property vacant (RICS 2011) Short-notice or ‘meanwhile leases’ to charities reduce liability to business rates ‘Meanwhile’ suggests indefinite suspension of normal market operations, And increasingly precarious existence of many place-based voluntary and community groups

4 Austerity measures of Coalition Government sliced £3bn from voluntary and community organisations (Kane & Allen 2011) Move to commercial property has significant effect on role of third sector in eyes of public agencies, property companies and charitable organisations themselves

5 Hammond Associates, consultants most active in networking commercial property companies with charities across the north of England Developed own short-notice tenancy agreement which provides charities with free office space and a donation towards costs, while still reducing liabilities for the landlord by 70 per cent Landlord receives mandatory business rates relief, pays the reduced rates for the tenant & provides them with a donation

6 East Street Arts (Leeds) leases 40 vacant commercial spaces through Hammond Associates on behalf of its membership of artists Received 252 per cent increase in Arts Council funding as reward for developing new private sector partnership Donation from commercial landlords plus license fee it charges its members has been enough to employ three new members of staff

7 Leeds council’s local strategic partnership approached Hammond to find office space for voluntary and community sector whose council funding cut NHS also promoting to health groups Voluntary movement by groups with secure funding to vacant short-life property

8 Four vacant floors of West Riding House, a 20 story office block in Leeds city centre Two floors due for renovation in early 2012 let to 15 community organisations, including church groups, community development agencies and social enterprises, Two floors that had already been renovated were let to arts groups as exhibition space

9 Two weeks’ notice to quit, but leased another vacant building near city centre

10 Role of arts organisations in opening up ‘meanwhile space’ Symbolic role as the exemplar of immaterial, or ‘affective’ labour – the switch to service economy in the West (Hardt 1999) Domestic and neighbourhood care as the template for precarious labour (Mitropoulos 2005; Tari & Vani 2005)

11 The resilience of non-monetary economies: reciprocity, redistribution and production for need (Gibson- Graham 2006) Confinement of reciprocity to territory of community where served an essential role in the ‘double movement’ of neoliberal strategies (Polanyi 1957) Community associated with unpaid caring work traditionally, and still typically, carried out by women in domestic labour and social reproduction in families, friendships and neighbourhoods

12 ‘Informal care was given by many to others who could themselves give little or nothing in direct return, because the donors had a deep sense of debts of care they had incurred to quite different people in different contexts and often in the quite remote past’ (Bulmer 1986: 10)

13 Substantial exclusion of women from the formal economy perpetuates relations of reciprocity Domestic and neighbourhood care provide unacknowledged subsidy to the market economy ‘The community is the other half of capitalist organisation, the other area of hidden capitalist exploitation, the other, hidden source of surplus labour’ (Dalla Costa & James 1980: 162)

14 Place-based voluntary and community associations prized as agents of exchange for their ability to convert reciprocity into a tradable commodity Allocated responsibility for mitigating the ill effects of the uneven development of capital accumulation Th ose abject communities become the exceptional subjects of sovereign punishment

15 Characteristics of work under neoliberalism modelled on the gendered economy of reciprocity (Huws 2001) ‘A generalised seepage into the working world of the kind of informal and mundane degradation formerly confined to the corridors of labour without value, labour without sociality, labour without end: domestic labour’ (Vishmidt 2005: 3).

16 With opportunities for capital growth restricted in the medium term the non-monetary economy is now central to the production of value Neoliberal strategies focused on extracting maximum value from unpaid labour (Coote 2010) Role of the third sector has gone from purveyors of enterprise to neighbourhoods, to providers of dispensable reciprocity to market-leaders

17 Coote, Anna (2010) The Great Transition: social justice and the core economy. London. New Economics Foundation. Gibson-Graham, J.K. (2006) The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It). Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. Hardt, Michael (1999) Affective Labour. boundary 2. Vol.26. No.2: 90 – 100 Huws, Ursula (2001) The Making of a Cybertariat? Virtual work in a real world. Socialist Register. Vol. 37. [Internet] Available at: Accessed on 20 February 2012 Kane, David & James Allen (2011) Counting the Cuts: the impact of spending cuts on the UK voluntary and community sector. London. National Council for Voluntary Organisations Locality (2011) Meanwhile Project. [Internet] Available at Accessed on 16 February Mitropoulos, Angela (2005) Precari-Us? Mute. Vol.29 [Internet] Available at Accessed on 16 February 2012 Polanyi, Karl (1957) The Great Transformation. Boston. Beacon Press. RICS (2011) UK Commercial Market Survey Q4: Sentiment in the commercial market eases further. London. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Tari, Marcello & Ilaria Vanni (2005) On the Life and Deeds of San Precario, Patron Saint of Precarious Workers and Lives. Fibreculture Journal. Issue 5 [Internet] Available at Accessed 20 February 2012 Vishmidt, Marina (2005) Precarious Straits. Mute. Vol.1. No.29 [Internet] Available at Accessed on 16 February 2012


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