Kula exchange

Topics: Sudan, Second Sudanese Civil War, Southern Sudan Pages: 11 (4243 words) Published: April 2, 2013
In cultural anthropology and sociology, reciprocity refers to non-market exchange of goods and labour; that is, "gift economic systems". It is the basis of most non-market economies. The concept was key to the debate between early anthropologists Bronislaw Malinowski and Marcel Mauss on the meaning of "Kula exchange" in the Trobriand Islands off Papua New Guinea during the First World War.[1] Malinowski used Kula exchange to demonstrate the apparently random gift-giving was in fact a key political process by which non-state political leadership spanning a vast archipelago was established. Gift-giving, he argued, was not altruistic (as it supposedly is in our society) but politically motivated. Marcel Mauss theorized the impetus for a return exchange as "the spirit of the gift," an idea most clearly developed by Annette Weiner in "Inalienable Possessions", her book on Trobriand Island exchange.[2] Generalized reciprocity is the exchange of goods and services without keeping track of their exact value, but often with the expectation that their value will balance out over time. (2010). [4] In industrial society this occurs mainly between parents and children, or within married couples.[citation needed] In advanced society social and economic assistance is moderated by treasurers.[citation needed] In other cultures generalized reciprocity can occur within entire clans or large kin groups, for instance among the east Semai of Malaya.[citation needed] Between people who engage in generalized reciprocity, there is a maximum amount of trust and a minimum amount of social distance.[dubious – discuss] The expectation that the giver will be repaid is based on trust and social consequences; that is, a "mooch" who accepts gifts and favors without ever giving himself will find it harder and harder to obtain those favors.[citation needed] In industrial societies this can be found among relatives, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.[clarification needed] Balanced reciprocity involves a moderate amount of trust and social distance.[citation needed] Balanced or Symmetrical reciprocity occurs when someone gives to someone else, expecting a fair and tangible return - at a specified amount, time, and place. (2010). [5] Negative reciprocity is the exchange of goods and services where each party intends to profit from the exchange, often at the expense of the other. (2010). [6] It also includes what economists call barter. Negative reciprocity can involve a minimum amount of trust and a maximum social distance; indeed, it can take place among strangers. Economist Steven Suranovic[7] argues that negative reciprocity occurs when an action that has a negative effect upon someone else is reciprocated with an action that has approximately equal negative effect upon another. If the reaction is not approximately equal in negative value, or worse, the reaction has a much greater negative effect upon the first person, then the reaction will likely be judged unfair. Negative reciprocity fairness requires that negative actions be reciprocated in kind; a “quid pro quo” type of response. To many scholars[who?], barter was the basis of all economies before the invention of money[dubious – discuss]. Others[who?] argue that before money arose, generalized and balanced reciprocity along with redistribution replaced simple exchange in most cases. (After all, barter is usually very difficult to arrange, requiring a double coincidence of wants.) In other words, institutions of community democracy, tradition, and command organized production and distribution, so that the distinction between the economy and the rest of society was hard to draw[citation needed]. These three kinds of reciprocity are the most basic forms of economic exchange; more complex exchange systems include redistribution and the market. ***In the commercial sector of the economy several types of money were in regular use. Small purchases were made with cacao beans, which had to be imported from...
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