Gift Economy Mentality

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From each according to his wishes -- to each according to his friends.

— Robin Upton, 2011

The above summary succinctly summarises what might be called Gift Economy Logic, a pattern of thinking applicable to the giving of gifts. In 'developed societies', which typically have a high degree of monetization is often appealed to, but rarely articulated.

Gift Economy Mentality.jpg

Moral Justification[edit]

Anthropological evidence suggests that gift economy mentality is innate, at least within 'in groups'. Eschewing the market mentality's impersonal credit tokens, the fairness of letting people dispose of the fruits of their labor is pretty widely accepted. The record of history shows that the few thousand years during which market mentality has been applied to distribute resources have resulted in a very inequitable distribution, as opposed to the much longer (mostly largely unrecorded) history, in which presumably gift economy mentality prevailed.


While gift economies are the main form of resource allocation within smaller communities in which a considerable amount of time is devoted to personal relationships, it remains to be seen how effective it could be in much larger communities which doesn't give such an importance to personal relationships, such as the groups of people found online.