File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 318

Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 11:34:59 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Gift Economy

Huh? You're pulling my chain, right?

These things you site are not examples of a gift economy, but rather a 
function of the supply and demand aspect of a market economy (not to 
mention Government regulation). It is cheaper to make lots of something 
from the same pattern/parts than to create an original one of a kind. 
And becoming more efficient and adding features were functions of 
trying to stay ahead of the pack of competitors to sell your product. 
Including something "free" usually means that it is no longer really 
expensive to add that (by virtue of the the increased demand and 
increased number being manufactured, etc) and/or because it costs 
relatively little to prorvide while it ties you to a particular brand 
or service. This sort of marketing technique (including the "gift") has 
resulted in lots of inferior products taking dominance like VHS over 
Beta, Windows, and so on. Certainly exceptions apply, but as a rule it 
is true.

I should say that I am not knocking the idea of a gift economy. I think 
we could all use a lot more of it, worldwide. I already participate in 
it as I can. I just don't see it as the practical dominant force of a 
modern economy. The isolated examples of things like freeware are not, 
IMO, a trend to a total gift economy, but are an enhancement and 
improvement on (dare I say a "market correction") a bloated system and 


On Nov 19, 2008, at 2:36 AM, Michael Moynihan wrote:

> But even in the depth of this mess there are glimpses of change away
> from the old rules that have dominated the world exchange economies.
> Example, between 1971 and 1989 a standard 17-cubic foot refrigerator
> declined in price by a third while becoming 27% more energy efficient
> and adding new features, such as ice-making. In 1988 Radio Shack sold
> a cell phone for $1,500. Ten years later they list a better one for
> $200. Now an even better one, sometimes with a camera, is less than
> $50 or even offered free as a come-on for a cell phone plan. Here in
> Milwaukee, Cricket Communications is setting up and offering prices
> for phone and broadband that are giving Ameritech and Time warner a
> run for their money. Many if not most people under 30 do not even have
> a wired phone, just a cell.

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