Traditional societies dominated by gift exchange were small in scale and geographically remote from each other. As states formed to regulate trade and commerce within their boundaries, market exchange came to dominate. Nonetheless, the practice of gift exchange continues to play an important role in modern society. One prominent example is scientific research, which can be described as a gift economy.
The expansion of the Internet has witnessed a resurgence of the gift economy, especially in the technology sector.[according to whom?] Engineers, scientists and software developers create open-source software projects. The Linux kernel and the GNU operating system are prototypical examples for the gift economy's prominence in the technology sector and its active role in instating the use of permissive free software and copyleft licenses, which allow free reuse of software and knowledge. Other examples include: file-sharing, the commons, open access.
 HistoryContrary to popular conception, there is no evidence that societies relied primarily on barter before using money for trade.[not in citation given] Instead, non-monetary societies operated largely along the principles of gift economics, and in more complex economies, on debt.[better source needed]When barter did in fact occur, it was usually between either complete strangers or would-be enemies.[not in citation given]
Lewis Hyde locates the origin of gift economies in the sharing of food, citing as an example the Trobriand Islander protocol of referring to a gift in the Kula exchange ring as "some food we could not eat," even though the gift is not food, but an ornament purposely made for passing as a gift. The potlatch also originated as a 'big feed'. Hyde argues that this led to a notion in many societies of the gift as something that must "perish".
The anthropologist Marshall Sahlins writes that Stone Age gift economies were, as evidenced by their nature as gift economies, economies of abundance, not scarcity, despite modern readers' typical assumption of abject poverty.
Gift economies were replaced by market economies based on commodity money, as the emergence of city states made money a necessity.
 CharacteristicsA gift economy normally requires the gift exchange to be more than simply a back-and-forth between two individuals. For example, a Kashmiri tale tells of two Brahmin women who tried to fulfill their obligations for alms-giving simply by giving alms back and forth to one another. On their deaths they were transformed into two poisoned wells from which no one could drink, reflecting the barrenness of this weak simulacrum of giving. This notion of expanding the circle can also be seen in societies where hunters give animals to priests, who sacrifice a portion to a deity (who, in turn, is expected to provide an abundant hunt). The hunters do not directly sacrifice to the deity themselves.
Many societies have strong prohibitions against turning gifts into trade or capital goods. Anthropologist Wendy James writes that among the Uduk people of northeast Africa there is a strong custom that any gift that crosses subclan boundaries must be consumed rather than invested. For example, an animal given as a gift must be eaten, not bred. However, as in the example of the Trobriand armbands and necklaces, this "perishing" may not consist of consumption as such, but of the gift moving on. In other societies, it is a matter of giving some other gift, either directly in return or to another party. To keep the gift and not give another in exchange is reprehensible. "In folk tales," Hyde remarks, "the person who tries to hold onto a gift usually dies."
Carol Stack's All Our Kin describes both the positive and negative sides of a network of obligation and gratitude effectively constituting a gift economy. Her narrative of The Flats, a poor Chicago neighborhood, tells in passing the story of two sisters who each came into a small inheritance. One sister hoarded the inheritance and prospered materially for some time, but was alienated from the community. Her marriage ultimately broke up, and she integrated herself back into the community largely by giving gifts. The other sister fulfilled the community's expectations, but within six weeks had nothing material to show for the inheritance but a coat and a pair of shoes.
 Pacific islandersPacific Island societies prior to the nineteenth century were dominated by gift exchange. Gift-exchange still endures in parts of the Pacific today; for example, in some outer islands of the Cook Islands. In Tokelau, despite the gradual appearance of a market economy, a form of gift economy remains through the practice of inati, the strictly egalitarian sharing of all food resources in each atoll. On Anuta as well, a gift economy called "Aropa" still exists.
There are also a significant number of diasporic Pacific Islander communities in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States that still practice a form of gift economy. Although they have become participants in those countries' market economies, some seek to retain practices linked to an adapted form of gift economy, such as reciprocal gifts of money, or remittances back to their home community. The notion of reciprocal gifts is seen as essential to the fa'aSamoa ("Samoan way of life"), the anga fakatonga ("Tongan way of life"), and the culture of other diasporic Pacific communities.
 Papua New GuineaThe Kula ring still exists to this day, as do other exchange systems in the region, such as Moka exchange in the Mt. Hagen area, on Papua New Guinea.
 Native AmericansNative Americans who lived in the Pacific Northwest (primarily the Kwakiutl), practiced the potlatch ritual, where leaders give away large amounts of goods to their followers, strengthening group relations. By sacrificing accumulated wealth, a leader gained a position of honor.
 MexicoIn the Sierra Tarahumara of North Western Mexico, a custom exists called kórima. This custom says that it is one's duty to share his wealth with anyone.
 SpainIn place of a market, anarcho-communists, such as those who inhabited some Spanish villages in the 1930s, support a currency-less gift economy where goods and services are produced by workers and distributed in community stores where everyone (including the workers who produced them) is essentially entitled to consume whatever they want or need as payment for their production of goods and services.
 Information gift economiesInformation is particularly suited to gift economies, as information is a nonrival good and can be gifted at practically no cost. In fact, there is often an advantage to using the same software or data formats as others, so even from a selfish perspective, it can be advantageous to give away one's information.
 ScienceNon-commercial scientific research is often considered to be a gift economy; scientists perform research and publish their findings in journals and talk about their work in conferences without remuneration. Though authors do not enjoy profits from publishing, subscribing to the journals themselves can be expensive and thus publishers limit access to these intended communal gifts of information. The open access movement makes research available online for far lower costs than traditional publishing. By avoiding prohibitively large subscription fees, this increases the circulation of knowledge and further draws it away from market exchange. Other scientists freely refer to other's research. Persons and institutions with access to these articles can therefore benefit from the increased pool of knowledge. The original scientists receive no direct benefit from making available their research, except an increase in their reputation. Failure to cite and give credit to original authors (thus depriving them of prestige due) is considered improper behavior.
 FilesharingMarkus Giesler in his ethnography Consumer Gift System, described music downloading as a system of social solidarity based on gift transactions. As Internet access spread, file sharing became extremely popular among users who could contribute and receive files on line. This form of gift economy was a model for online services such as Napster, which focused on music sharing and was later sued for copyright infringement. Nonetheless, online file sharing persists in various forms such as Bit Torrent and Direct download link. A number of communications and intellectual property experts such as Henry Jenkins and Lawrence Lessig have described file-sharing as a form of gift exchange which provides numerous benefits to artists and consumers alike. They have argued that file sharing fosters community among distributors and allows for a more equitable distribution of media.
 Open-source softwareIn his essay "Homesteading the Noosphere", noted computer programmer Eric S. Raymond said that free and open source software developers have created "a 'gift culture' in which participants compete for prestige by giving time, energy, and creativity away". Prestige gained as a result of contributions to source code fosters a social network for the developer; the open-source community will recognize the developer's accomplishments and intelligence. Consequently, the developer may find more opportunities to work with other developers. However, prestige is not the only motivator for the giving of lines of code. An anthropological study of the Fedora community, as part of a master's study at the University of North Texas in 2010-11, found that common reasons given by contributors were "learning for the joy of learning and collaborating with interesting and smart people". Motivation for personal gain, such as career benefits, was more rarely reported. Many of those surveyed said things like, "Mainly I contribute just to make it work for me", and "programmers develop software to 'scratch an itch'". The International Institute of Infonomics at the University of Maastricht, in the Netherlands, reported in 2002 that in addition to the above, large corporations, and they specifically mentioned IBM, also spend large annual sums employing developers specifically for them to contribute to open source projects. The firms' and the employees' motivations in such cases are less clear.
Members of the Linux community often speak of their community as a gift economy. The IT research firm IDC valued the Linux kernel at $18 billion USD in 2007 and projected its value at $40 billion USD in 2010. The Debian distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system offers over 37,000 free open-source software packages via their AMD64 repositories alone.
 WikipediaMillions of articles are available on Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, and almost none of its many authors and editors receive any direct material reward.
 Other examples
 Free shopsGive-away shops, freeshops, or free stores are stores where all goods are free. They are similar to charity shops, with mostly second-hand items—only everything is available at no cost. Whether it is a book, a piece of furniture, a garment or a household item, it is all freely given away, although some operate a one-in, one-out–type policy (swap shops). The free store is a form of constructive direct action that provides a shopping alternative to a monetary framework, allowing people to exchange goods and services outside of a money-based economy. The anarchist 1960s countercultural group The Diggers opened free stores which simply gave away their stock, provided free food, distributed free drugs, gave away money, organized free music concerts, and performed works of political art. The Diggers took their name from the original English Diggers led by Gerrard Winstanley and sought to create a mini-society free of money and capitalism. Although free stores have not been uncommon in the United States since the 1960s, the freegan movement has inspired the establishment of more free stores. Today the idea is kept alive by the new generations of social centres, anarchists and environmentalists who view the idea as an intriguing way to raise awareness about consumer culture and to promote the reuse of commodities.
 Burning ManBurning Man is a week-long annual art and community event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, in the United States. The event is described as an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. The event outlaws commerce (except for ice, coffee, and tickets to the event itself) and encourages gifting. Gifting is one of the 10 guiding principles, as participants to Burning Man (both the desert festival and the year-round global community) are encouraged to rely on a gift economy. The practice of gifting at Burning Man is also documented by the 2002 documentary film "Gifting It: A Burning Embrace of Gift Economy", as well as by Making Contact's radio show "How We Survive: The Currency of Giving [encore]".
 Blood donationVoluntary blood donation is also a form of gift economy. During the 19th century, Dr. James Blundell discovered that blood could be medically transfused between people which led to the development of blood donation and transfusion practices. Although there are strict regulations concerning who can and cannot participate in the giving of blood, those who can donate blood do so on a voluntary basis in which no rewards are expected in return. The donor provides a "gift of life" to those in need, without knowing who those people are. In his classic study of the topic, social policy research Richard Titmuss showed that voluntary donation resulted in a better blood supply than paid donation, and this led to new rules in the U.S. regulating blood banks. Blood donation creates social bond between the donor and "strangers," contributing to social cohesion and civic belonging.
 Religious gift giving
 BuddhismIn Southeast Asia, Theravada Buddhists continue to sponsor "Feasts of Merit" that are very similar to potlatch. Such feasts usually involve many sponsors and occur mainly before and after the rainy season.
 HinduismBhiksha is a devotional offering, usually food, presented at a temple or to a swami or a religious Brahmin who in turn provides a religious service (karmkand) or instruction.
 IslamZakāt, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is the giving of a small portion (commonly referred to as 1/40 or 2.5 percent) of one's wealth to charity, generally to the poor and needy, every year. The number 40 in Middle Eastern culture represent an estimate, or many of something.
 JudaismAccording to the Hebrew Bible, tzedakah is a religious obligation that must be performed regardless of financial standing. It is considered as one of the three main acts that can annul a less than favorable heavenly decree.
 Social theories
 MaussFrench sociologist Marcel Mauss argues that a gift, a perfect example of 'total' social phenomenon, is essentially never "free". They not only entail the obligation to reciprocate presents received, but also "supposes two other obligations just as important: the obligation, on the one hand, to give presents, and on the other hand, to receive them". According to Mauss, while it is easy to romanticize a gift economy, humans do not always wish to be enmeshed in a web of obligation. Mauss wrote, "The gift not yet repaid debases the man who accepts it," a lesson certainly not lost on the young person seeking independence who decides not to accept more money or gifts from his or her parents. And as Hyde writes, "There are times when we want to be aliens and strangers." We like to be able to go to the corner store, buy a can of soup, and not have to let the store clerk into our affairs or vice versa. We like to travel on an airplane without worrying about whether we would personally get along with the pilot. A gift creates a "feeling bond." Commodity exchange does not. The French writer Georges Bataille in his book La part Maudite uses Mauss's argument in order to construct a theory of economy: to his point of view the structure of gift forms the presupposition for all possible economy. Particularly interested about the potlatch as described by Mauss, Bataille claims that its antagonistic character obliges the receiver of the gift to confirm a subjection; the structure of the gift can refer thus immediately to a practice that bears out different roles for the parts that undertake an action in it, installing in this act of donating the Hegelian dipole of master and slave.
 HydeFor Lewis Hyde, the gift is an object that must continuously circulate throughout a society in order to keep its gift qualities. In this way the gift perishes for the person who gives it away, even though the gift itself is able to live on precisely because it has been passed on. He calls this the "paradox of the gift": even though it is used up, it is not extinguished. This gift exchange is responsible for establishing connections and emotional ties between people which in turn serve as a basis for community and social cohesion.
Hyde pays particular attention to the gift associated with the creative process and art as a whole. The artistic gift is not acquired or purchased; it is bestowed, even somewhat mysteriously, upon the artist. He distinguishes between two types of artistic gifts: the inner gift and the outer gift. The inner gift of the artist is the inspiration and the actual creation of the work, while the outer gift refers to the finished work that is given to an audience.
Hyde also argues that there is a difference between a "true" gift given out of gratitude and a "false" gift given only out of obligation. In Hyde's view, the "true" gift binds us in a way beyond any commodity transaction, but "we cannot really become bound to those who give us false gifts."
Hyde also addresses the issue of the gift of art within a market dominated society. He argues that when a primarily gift-based economy is turned into a commodity-based economy, "the social fabric of the group is invariably destroyed." Much as there are prohibitions against turning gifts into capital, there are prohibitions against treating gift exchange as barter. Among the Trobrianders, for example, treating Kula as barter is considered a disgrace. Hyde writes that commercial goods can generally become gifts, but when gifts become commodities, the gift "...either stops being a gift or else abolishes the boundary... Contracts of the heart lie outside the law and the circle of gifts is narrowed, therefore, whenever such contracts are narrowed to legal relationships." He concludes, however, that a market economy and a gift economy are not wholly irreconcilable if rationalization is introduced into the sphere of the gift and if spirituality and emotion are brought into the sphere of the market.
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Kropotkin argues that mutual benefit is a stronger incentive than mutual strife and is eventually more effective collectively in the long run to drive individuals to produce. The reason given is that a gift economy stresses the concept of increasing the other's abilities and means of production, which would then (theoretically) increase the ability of the community to reciprocate to the giving individual. Other solutions to prevent inefficiency in a pure gift economy due to wastage of resources that were not allocated to the most pressing need or want stresses the use of several methods involving collective shunning where collective groups keep track of other individuals' productivity, rather than leaving each individual having to keep track of the rest of society by him or herself.
 BellThe economist Duran Bell postulates that exchanges in a gift economy are different from pure commodity exchange in that they are mainly used to build social relationships. Gifts between individuals or between groups help build a relationship, allowing the people to work together. The generosity of a gift improves a person's prestige and social standing. Differences in social rank are not defined by differences in access to goods, but rather by "his ability to give to others, the desire to accumulate being seen as an indication of weakness."
Various other recent social theories concerning gift economies exist. Some consider gifts to be a form of reciprocal altruism. Another interpretation is that social status is awarded in return for the gifts. Consider for example, the sharing of food in some hunter-gatherer societies, where food-sharing is a safeguard against the failure of any individual's daily foraging. This custom may reflect concern for the well-being of others, it may be a form of informal insurance, or may bring with it social status or other benefits.
David Bollier takes the position that in a gift economy, "one’s ‘self-interest’ has a much broader, more humanistic feel than the utilitarian rationalism of economic theory".
 GraeberAnarchist anthropologist David Graeber in his 2011 book Debt: The First 5000 Years argues that with the advent of the great Axial Age civilizations, the nexus between coinage and the calculability of economic values was concomitant with the disrupt of what Graeber calls "human economies," as found among the Iroquois, Celts, Inuit, Tiv, Nuer and the Malagasy people of Madagascar among other groups which, according to Graeber, held a radically different conception of debt and social relations, based on the radical incalculability of human life and the constant creation and recreation of social bonds through gifts, marriages and general sociability. The author postulates the growth of a "military-coinage-slave complex" around this time, through which mercenary armies looted cities and human beings were cut from their social context to work as slaves in Greece, Rome and elsewhere in the Eurasian continent. The extreme violence of the period marked by the rise of great empires in China, India and the Mediterranean was, in this way, connected with the advent of large-scale slavery and the use of coins to pay soldiers, together with the obligation enforced by the State for its subjects to pay its taxes in currency. This was also the same time that the great religions spread out and the general questions of philosophical enquiry emerged on world history - many of those directly related, as in Plato's Republic, with the nature of debt and its relation to ethics.
 In literatureThe concept of a gift economy has played a large role in works of fiction about alternate societies, especially in works of science fiction. Examples include:
- News from Nowhere (1890) by William Morris is a utopian novel about a society which operates on a gift economy.
- The Great Explosion (1962) by Eric Frank Russell describes the encounter of a military survey ship and a Gandhian pacifist society that operates as a gift economy.
- The Dispossessed (1974) by Ursula K. Le Guin is a novel about a gift economy society that had exiled themselves from their (capitalist) homeplanet.
- The Mars trilogy, a series of books written by Kim Stanley Robinson in the 1990s, suggests that new human societies that develop away from Earth could migrate toward a gift economy.
- The movie Pay It Forward (2000) centers on a schoolboy who, for a school project, comes up with the idea of doing a good deed for another and then asking the recipient to "pay it forward". Although the phrase "gift economy" is never explicitly mentioned, the scheme would, in effect, create one.
- Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003) by Cory Doctorow describes future society where rejuvenation and body-enhancement have made death obsolete, and material goods are no longer scarce, resulting in a reputation-based (whuffie) economic system.
- Wizard's Holiday (2003) by Diane Duane describes two young wizards visiting a utopian-like planet whose economy is based on gift-giving and mutual support.
- Voyage from Yesteryear (1982) by James P. Hogan describes a society of the embryo colonists of Alpha Centauri who have a post-scarcity gift economy.
- Cradle of Saturn (1999) and its sequel The Anguished Dawn (2003) by James P. Hogan describe a colonization effort on Saturn's largest satellite. Both describe the challenges involved in adopting a new economic paradigm.
- Science fiction author Bruce Sterling wrote a story, Maneki-neko, in which the cat-paw gesture is the sign of a secret AI-based gift economy.
 See also
- Brownie points
- Giving Circles
- Money-free economy
- Reciprocity (cultural anthropology)
- Post scarcity economy
- Pay it forward
- History of money
- Cheal, David J (1988). "1". The Gift Economy. New York: Routledge. pp. 1–19. ISBN 0415006414. http://books.google.com/?id=o-wNAAAAQAAJ&pg=PP1&dq=Cheal,+David+J.+%27The+Gift+Economy%27. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- Bollier, David. "The Stubborn Vitality of the Gift Economy." Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth. First Printing ed. New York: Routledge, 2002. 38-39. Print.
- R. Kranton: Reciprocal exchange: a self-sustaining system, American Economic Review, V. 86 (1996), Issue 4 (September), p. 830-51
- Lewis Hyde: The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property
- Hagstrom, Warren (1982). "Gift giving as an organizing principle in science". In Barry Barnes and David Edge. Science in Context: Readings in the Sociology of Science. MIT Press (Cambridge, MA).
- Mauss, Marcel. 'The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies.' pp. 36-37.
- "What is Debt? – An Interview with Economic Anthropologist David Graeber". Naked Capitalism. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/what-is-debt-%E2%80%93-an-interview-with-economic-anthropologist-david-graeber.html.
- David Graeber: Debt: The First 5000 Years, Melville 2011. Cf. http://www.socialtextjournal.org/reviews/2011/10/review-of-david-graebers-debt.php
- Graeber, David. 'Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value'. pp. 153-154.
- Hyde, Lewis, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, 8-9.
- Hyde, op. cit., 9.
- Marshall Sahlins cited at Hyde, op. cit., 22.
- Sheila C. Dow (2005), "Axioms and Babylonian thought: a reply", Journal of Post Keynesian Economics 27 (3), p. 385-391.
- Hyde, op. cit., 18.
- Wendy James cited at Hyde, op. cit., 4.
- Hyde, op. cit., 5.
- Carol Stack, cited at Hyde, op. cit., 75-76.
- Crocombe, Ron & Crocombe, Marjorie Tua’inekore, ed., Akono'anga Maori: Cook Islands Culture, 2003, ISBN 982-02-0348-1
- Huntsman & Hooper, Tokelau: A Historical Ethnography, 1996, ISBN 0-8248-1912-8
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- National Geographic Magazine, March 23, 2009
- [Augustin Souchy, "A Journey Through Aragon," in Sam Dolgoff (ed.), The Anarchist Collectives, ch. 10]
- Mackaay, Ejan (1990). "Economic Incentives in Markets for Information and Innovation". Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 13 (909): 867–910.
- Heylighen, Francis (2007). "Why is Open Access Development so Successful?". In B. Lutterbeck, M. Barwolff, and R. A. Gehring. Open Source Jahrbuch. Lehmanns Media.
- Hagstrom, Warren (1982). "Gift giving as an organizing principle in science". In Barry Barnes and David Edge. Science in Context: Readings in the Sociology of Science. MIT Press (Cambridge, MA).
- Markus Giesler, Consumer Gift Systems
- Suehle, Ruth. "An anthropologist's view of an open source community". opensource.com. http://opensource.com/life/11/1/anthropologists-view-open-source-community. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- "Free/Libre and Open Source Software: Survey and Study". International Institute of Infonomics, University of Maastricht and Berlecon Research GmbH. 2002. http://flossproject.org/report/Final0.htm. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- Matzan, Jem (5 June 2004). "The gift economy and free software". http://archive09.linux.com/feature/36554. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- D. Anthony, S. W. Smith, and T. Williamson, "Explaining quality in internet collective goods: zealots and good samaritans in the case of Wikipedia," THanover : Dartmouth College, Technical Report, November 2005.
- Anthony, Denise; Smith, Sean W.; Williamson, Tim (April 2007), "The Quality of Open Source Production: Zealots and Good Samaritans in the Case of Wikipedia", Technical Report TR2007-606 (Dartmouth College), http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/reports/TR2007-606.pdf, retrieved 2011-05-29
- John Campbell McMillian; Paul Buhle (2003). The new left revisited. Temple University Press. pp. 112–. ISBN 978-1-56639-976-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=U_Ohks41z2IC&pg=PA112. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Lytle 2006, pp. 213, 215.
- "Overview: who were (are) the Diggers?". The Digger Archives. http://www.diggers.org/overview.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-17.
- Gail Dolgin; Vicente Franco (2007). American Experience: The Summer of Love. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/love/index.html. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
- "What is Burning Man? FAQ - Preparation" Retrieved 10/5/11
- "How We Survive: The Currency of Giving (Encore)" Making Contact, produced by National Radio Project. December 21, 2010.
- Burning Man principles include Gift Economy
- Gifting It: A Burning Embrace of Gift Economy - documentary on IMDB
- Titmuss, Richard, The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy (1970). Reprinted by the New Press, ISBN 1-56584-403-3 (reissued with new chapters 1997, John Ashton & Ann Oakley, LSE Books)
- Kammerer and Nicola Tannenbaum, Cornelia Ann (1996). MERIT AND BLESSING: In Mainland Southeast Asian Comparative Perspective.. New Haven (Connecticut): Yale University.: Southeast Asia Studies (Monograph 45).. ISBN 0-938692-61-5.
- Salim, Arskal (2008). Challenging the secular state: the Islamization of law in modern Indonesia. University of Hawaii Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-8248-3237-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=pnUI036m3tUC&pg=PA115.
- Mauss, Marcel. "The Exchange of Gifts and the Obligation to Reciprocate (Polynesia)." The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Trans. W. D. Halls. New York: W. W. Norton, 1990. 13. Print.
- Marcel Mauss cited at Hyde, op. cit., 69.
- Hyde, op. cit., 67.
- Hyde, op. cit., 68.
- Hyde, op. cit., 56.
- Hyde, op. cit., 70.
- Hyde, op. cit., 15.
- Hyde, op. cit., 61, 88.
- Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1955 paperback (reprinted 2005), includes Kropotkin's 1914 preface, Foreword and Bibliography by Ashley Montagu, and The Struggle for Existence, by Thomas H. Huxley ed.). Boston: Extending Horizons Books, Porter Sargent Publishers. ISBN 0-87558-024-6. Project Gutenberg e-text, Project LibriVox audiobook
- Duran Bell, Modes of exchange: Gift and commodity, Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 20, Issue 2, Summer 1991, Pages 155-167, ISSN 1053-5357, doi:10.1016/S1053-5357(05)80003-4. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053535705800034)
- David Bollier: The Cornucopia of the Commons] (link), yes! magazine, June 30, 2001
- Marcel Mauss (1925), The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, ISBN 0-393-32043-X Originally published as Essai sur le don. Forme et raison de l'échange dans les sociétés archaïques. Lewis Hyde calls this "the classic work on gift exchange".
- Lewis Hyde (1983), The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, ISBN 0-394-71519-5 Especially part I, "A Theory of Gifts", part of which was originally published as "The Gift Must Always Move" in Co-Evolution Quarterly No. 35, Fall 1982.
- Gifford Pinchot III (Summer, 1995), "The Gift Economy", Business on a Small Planet (Context Institute): pp. 49, http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=3775a
- Peter Kropotkin (1902; this edition 1987, 1993, 1998), Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, Freedom Press, ISBN 0-900384-36-0
- Charles Eisenstein (2011), Sacred Economics : Money, Gift & Society in the Age of Transition, North Atlantic Books, ISBN [[Special:BookSources/1-58394-397-7|1-58394-397-7]]
 Further reading
- Gift giving - a welcoming act in rural India
- The gift economy (Genevieve Vaughan)
- The Gift Economy, Anarchism and Strategies for Change
- The Moneyless Manifesto
- Moneyless World