The Gift Oeconomy

For several years I’ve been thinking about gifts as the essential partner to market exchanges. Basically, we haggle and buy and sell to make money to give to our nearest and dearest to show our love and invite theirs; and we do good market business by giving our customers or employers more in terms of what they want than they are giving up to us. “Gifts” is the word we use for the human talents that create the arts and ideas that nourish our economies; and the Humanities are the disciplines that deal with those gifts. In this spirit one might check out George McCully’s Catalogue for Philanthropy and Lenore Ealy’s blog . (Oeconomy is an old spelling of the word that reminds us that it literally means “the rules of the home”.)

By Frederick Turner

Professor, poet, lecturer, black belt, and more.

5 replies on “The Gift Oeconomy”

My mother wrote this to me:

“Fred was the first to publish “The Gift” in the Kenyon Review[…] And then, Lewis Hyde was hired at Kenyon after we left, and then he got a MacArthur genius grant, etc., etc. “The Gift” has been a big hit in the UK, nearly thirty years after Fred first published it!”

While I certainly believe in the gift economy, I have yet to figure out how my own gift-creating is to pay the bills!

Still writing plays. Just finished a new one. “Markson’s Generosity.” Write it shortly after finishing “The Cain Apocalypse,” about Cain and Abel. Before that, “K(no)w” and “Vice.” Plays just keep coming to me!

Or just “running the home,” really. Not necessarily any rules about it. This solves the paradox of anarchists in power, I suppose.

Could I simply say what a help to search out somebody who actually realizes what they may be sharing on the internet. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and allow it to critical. Even more people should study it and understand this particular section of the story. I can’t believe you are not very popular because you positively have the gift.

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