Thursday, May 13, 2010

Monetizing Good Behavior Cheapens It

This is a point that I have been noticing from other studies of paying people for gifts, but was clarified for me by David Halpern in The Hidden Wealth of Nations.

The economy of regard is a vast gift exchange of labor, respect, and love. If we tried to reduce the many gifts that we give to family, friends, and fellow citizens to the cash economy, we would stop doing those good acts. The economy of regard runs on trust - the trust that in the not-too-long run, what you give will come back to you, and probably several-fold. The cash economy exists for those situations with low trust.

Yet trust is the foundation on which functional social life runs. We try to turn mere cash relations into personal relations all the time - which makes the cash relations work better. The hidden wealth of happy nations is trust. Reducing social relations to cash economies reduces the very social wealth that makes nations happy.

1 comment:

Francisco Ortega said...

Very interesting. Congratulations.

Axiological human values and good behavior: perhaps, a new theory of economical value.

A complementary currency electronic and local about this.