Friday, February 9, 2007

Gift Economy

The term "gift economy," some wonder what it means mean, while they do it several times a day. "A gift economy is an economic system in which the prevalent mode of exchange is for goods and services to be given without explicit agreement upon a quid pro quo (the Latin term for the concept of "a favor for a favor")." (, 2007). I find that personally I am a part of this on a day-to-day basis through the Fraternity that I am in. Not only do the brothers help each other out by giving the brothers that don't have cars rides, or giving a few bucks to a brother for lunch, but we lend our time to do local volunteer work as well. As stated by Kollock, 1999, "A gift is tied in an inalienable way to the giver." This is basically stating that the time that my brothers and I donate when we do volunteer work is a gift that we gave to someone else. That is an example of a gift economy on a small scale I would now like to talk about a gift economy on a larger scale. The New York Times a paper in which many of you have probably heard of, I believe to be a gift economy in the form of a public good. On The New York Times website you can find full news articles and they correspond directly to what you would find in the actual "Times" that you would find at your local newsstand. Meanwhile this does give "free-riders" the opportunity to not have to but the paper and well free-ride. The net in essence has really opened the gate for the "gift economy." "For most of its users, the Net is somewhere to work, play, love, learn and discuss with other people. Unrestricted by physical distance, they collaborate with each other without the direct mediation of money or politics. Unconcerned about copyright, they give and receive information without thought of payment. In the absence of states or markets to mediate social bonds, network communities are instead formed through the mutual obligations created by gifts of time and ideas (The Hi-Tech Gift Economy, December 2005)." In this statement I think Barbrook was trying to say that the way that the internet works is based on a honor system. Which as you can see has pretty much turned into a free for all. Sharing music over the net was intended for artists to be able to send their work to other artists and in due time the favor would be returned. However I do not think that p2p file sharing has had that dramatic of an effect on record sales, I do understand the record companies concerns with it.

1 comment:

Derek said...

Good post, but a little thin. You are on the right track -- develop these thoughts further. Where is your reference list?