No Cash, No Credit, Only Karma

(CBS/Josh Landis)
Philip Kiracofe believes what goes around comes around. He just doesn't want to wait around.

Kiracofe (left) is running what may be the world's first "Karma auction" to inspire people to help others. He's selling computers worth hundreds of dollars, but he's not accepting money — the only bids accepted are acts of kindness.

"Every single one of those actions will start a chain reaction, however small, that makes a profound difference in the lives of people that I will never meet," Kiracofe said.

The idea surfaced when the recession sank his commercial real estate business. Out of a job and without an office, the 36-year-old former chief technologist found himself staring at a wall of a hundred computers in his home. That's when he had his epiphany: He could sell the machines to a liquidator, or he could use them to get others to "pay it forward."

"There are countless ways for people to help out those around them through random acts of kindness," Kiracofe said.

The former real estate broker had become a good-deed broker.

Kiracofe has tapped into a philosophy that could be called "Karmatocracy" — a system built around rewarding those who help others.

The recession may be breeding a new approach to philanthropy. A web site called "Karma Tube" documents selfless endeavors that change lives.

The rapper Ludacris recently gave away 20 cars to people who could pen the best essay on why they deserved new wheels.

According to the Center for Global Prosperity, "Whatever it is called – social entrepreneurship, philanthro-capitalism, venture philanthropy, or creative capitalism, the lines between business and philanthropy continue to blur."

Kiracofe believes one thing is clear: If enough people embrace the concept of his Karmic auction it could create a new economy of kindness.

"I can envision this becoming a ubiquitous service, as widespread as donations, garage sales, or online auctions," Kiracofe said.

By CBS News' Josh Landis

For more info:
Philip Kiracofe's Karmic Auctions
The Failure Club
  • Josh Landis

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