gift economy

Popular Terms
An economy based on giving in the context of relationship rather than making transactions simply for profit or personal material gain. This is in contrast to barter or commercial economies which rely on exchange of goods or labor for money - or for goods and labor of equal monetary value. Altruism is sometimes viewed as the basis for spreading wealth throughout a gift economy. However, the individual giver actually benefits indirectly. For example, social status and support in times of need may be obtained by those who give to others in the group or community. Most economies rely on both commercial aspects such as paid work and gift aspects such as volunteer or unpaid work.

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