A Gift Economy

Will there be option to create a society based on gifts? Instead of having a market with money, I want my society to give gifts as a social norm.
Also I don’t think barter based economies are… realistic. It doesn’t mean I don’t want it to be an option. I want it to be an option.

How are they unrealistic when humans literally use them?

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I don’t mean barter in itself. I mean the whole economy based on barter.

Maintain basic barter without developing general equivalents? It is natural to develop money to facilitate trade. And the essence of all trade is commodity exchange. If it is given as gifts to each other, it is not trade and there is no market. What you said is more like paying tax in kind and then directly distributing supplies.

barter is not basic. It’s more like an exception used in rare situations. Barter based economy should be an unrealistic option that can’t be found in real life. I would prefer to call gift economies as basic.

Direct barter is the most primitive form of trade, and commodity exchange is the purpose of trade behavior. The emergence of general equivalents only facilitates trade, with currency as the medium for indirect barter.

The problem with a complete gift economy is that there is no mechanism to show the recipient’s needs to the donor. The gift is completely judged by the donor, which is prone to imbalance between supply and demand. In particular, the recipient often gives polite feedback. This kind of blindness may go far beyond the market economy, unless this organism has been maintained in one form.


Money did not come from barter but from debt

No, debt is a product of the development of the commodity economy to a certain extent, and money needs to be born earlier.

First, clarify your definition of money. Do you only refer to credit currency when you say money?

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If large enough population agrees that specific thing is used as default exchange then we can call it money.

that only happens when enough people get confused as to how much something is worth, standard currencies are born out of convenience, not population size

I think this idea fails a real world stability test. In that if this idea was attempted somewhere, it would quickly quickly collapse. For example due to selfishness issues as the scale goes up from really small communities to multiple villages, and also I think a game theory analysis perspective would like collapse this idea very quickly. As a result this is again an unrealistic idea that’s not fully thought out and I don’t think there’s any place for this kind of unrealistic idea in Thrive.

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I never looked into this, but from memory: there was a group of islands in Micronesia, I think, which were in a ring. Whenever the people on an island had a surplus of resources, they would give them away to the adjacent islands. Gifting on that scale was built into their culture, and formed a large part of their multi-island economy. I don’t think it was quite the same on an interpersonal level, and it wasn’t an economy entirely based on gifting, but I thought it was relevant.

On the subject of currency in relation to barter: I read a book about the economy of certain Islands in Polynesia (which was called Primitive Polynesian Economy). It was based on analysis of studies by anthropologists who were some of the first Westerners to go to these islands. The islands’ economy was focussed on coloured strips of braided plant fibres. Everyone knew how to make these, and they produced them partly for decoration, but also to use as currency. It seemed that the system evolved from barter.

Also, barter is the most basic form of exchange of goods. It is literally a direct exchange of goods. A gift-based exchange is in certain ways more abstract, even though in many circumstances, it would seem to be more basic. For instance, person A gives resources they have to a relative , B, who needs them. If A then needs resources which B has, B might feel they don’t have enough to spare, so A would have to wait, even if B does feel that A deserves to be given those resources. So the exchange of resources has extra steps in this case.

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