Phil Graham on 25 Aug 2000 23:54:33 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> The New Culture? The New Economy!

Dear David,

At 01:17 PM 25/08/00 +1000, dteh wrote:
>please explain why a gift-exchange system is not an 'economy' in more

My original invitation to join this listserv was the result of a more 
in-depth critique of the "gift economy". P. Riemans posted it here. You can 
look for it in the archives if you are interested.

Mauss was not so careless as to equate gift giving practices with a whole 
economy. His book, eg, was called "the gift", not "the gift economy". The 
social anthropology and political economy literature is full of references 
to the role and significance of gift-giving in various cultures. It is a 
mode of exchange, not an economy as such. In any case, the mistake becomes 
quite clear when you equate a "gift-exchange system" with "an economy". The 
question, if it can be considered a question, should be the reverse: 
"please explain why a gift-exchange system *is* an 'economy'". Gift 
exchange is merely a *mode of exchange* within any number of economies, 
like the myriad forms of money we have. The reciprocal obligations tied to 
gifts _and_ money are always in the future tense; they are claims on future 
labour (meant here as any sort of human activity).

In no way whatsoever do I assume that the "knowledge economy" or whatever 
else you want to call it precludes production or materiality etc. Moreover, 
I have written plenty on the need to reconsider the term "production", 
"labour", etc, and their implications. I don't have time to explain 
political economy right now. You can either read my original post to this 
list, read a paper of mine called "hypercapitalism" in _New Media and 
Society, 2, (2), or get me to send you some attachments in word format - or 
you can do all three.


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