In gift economies exchanges do not have the impersonal qualities of the capitalist marketplace

In gift economies, Mauss argued, exchanges do not have the impersonal qualities of the capitalist marketplace: In fact, even when objects of great value change hands, what really matters is the relations between the people; exchange is about creating friendships, or working out rivalries, or obligations, and only incidentally about moving around valuable goods.

As a result everything becomes personally charged, even property: In gift economies, the most famous objects of wealth - heirloom necklaces, weapons, feather cloaks – always seem to develop personalities of their own.

David Graeber on MAUSS.

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