What Can We Learn from Gift Economies?
Feb 02, 2010, 07:33 (2 Talkback[s])
[ Thanks to ql for this link.
"Wikipedia gives a number of examples of historical
gift economies. Within "modern" society, there are many places
where the gift economy is operative today, even as the exchange
economy (capitalism) goes on as well.
"One of the big areas where the gift economy operates is within
the home. A mother generally takes care of her children, without
any particular reward in return. Often a mother does quite a bit of
the housework as well. Before the expansion of capitalism in recent
years, women did even more than they did today--staying home to
care for children, rather than sending them to day care, and often
taking care of grandparents as well.
"Another place where we see the gift economy is sharing of
information over the Internet, including sites like The Oil Drum
(which is a volunteer organization) and Wikipedia, which is mostly
volunteer. Peer to peer file sharing and free software are other
examples of the gift economy. The giving of professional papers at
conferences might also be considered part of the gift economy.
Another form of gift giving is the huge remittances sent to home
countries by those working in the US and Europe.
"Matriarchal societies are gift economies according to the Gift
Economy Conference, most likely because with motherhood and
household chores, women tend to think in terms of a gift economy.
In comparison, Capitalism is sometimes thought of as