Acquisition Seeking (Low)

Possessions are literally a burden for Anthony, given how often he moves residences. “I think if you have too much things, you have too much baggage,” he says. Acquiring more would just make his life harder, not happier.

Anthony is a typical nongiver, someone who has such low personal orientations that it is not surprising he is not really able to turn his attention to improving the lives of others. Perhaps at some later point, if Anthony is able to further establish his own set of orientations, he may become able to give more to others. For now, he is focused on keeping his head above water and trying to get by.

Bringing Everyone Together

These case studies show how personal and social orientations are shaped by life experiences and fluctuate according to changes in resources and other life events. Anthony demonstrates that basic needs must be met in order for someone to even modestly participate in giving. Deon shows that even after gaining more affluence those who have lived in poverty can still be shaped by it. The shadow of scarcity experiences lives on in ongoing personal and social orientations. Tanika illustrates how dedication to one’s children can start the giving process, and that resources can constrain giving beyond the family circle. Linda shows that more generous giving is possible even with thinly stretched resources and a high-need family circle. The middle-class life trajectory of Jackie and Susan shows that more resourced positions allow personal and social orientations to turn outward in giving to others. Their orientations, life circumstances, and approaches result in varying degrees of giving participation. It is in considering all of these in tandem that light is shed on a more thorough picture of who gives and why.

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