22 November 2010

Subordinating material product to spiritual process

The essence of gift exchange is the subordination of the material product to the spiritual process. The material product becomes a token, a concrete instantiation, of the relationship that is being fashioned and devised and exercised, the reinforcement of which relationship is the objective of the transaction. 
Once a gift exchange flowers into a tradition, which includes third parties as part of the currency of duty and trust, the collective comes into view and the benefits of standards and practices and institutional structure begin to operate. Then the transaction in gift exchanges (or their institutional counterparts – tradita) ceases to be performed in mere token acts and can become a flood of transaction whereby the bulk of what is being passed back and forth within the society, within the economy and ecology, is flowing through the institutional media that are propelled by abundance rather than scarcity. 

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