≡ Menu

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 148 of Paul Seabright’s superb 2004 book, The Company of Strangers (link added):

However we feel about modern markets, it is important not to exaggerate the degree of spontaneity in the interactions of our ancestors. The anthropologist Marcel Mauss argued in his book The Gift that in what he called “archaic societies” gifts are “in theory voluntary, in reality given and returned obligatorily,” and that the gift exchange constitutes the major mechanism of circulation of goods in society…. The impression that prices have become more central to familiar relationships in the modern world might be due simply to our failure nowadays to be realistic about the nature of relationships in traditional societies.

Next post:

Previous post: