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Re: [ox-en] Maussian ideas and Free Software

* Ref.: »[ox-en] Maussian ideas and Free Software«
*        Stefan Merten 	(2003-12-13  00:35)


As far as I understood Mauss made some studies of indigenous
people and found out that they have some sort of exchange.
However, this sort of exchange is oriented towards the social
relationships which are fostered by this type of exchange.
Matthias thinks that one of the main reasons - if not *the*
reason - for participation in Free Software is that people want
to give back if they have received so much. One key argument is
that people feel indebted if they only receive without giving
anything back. As a result there is some sort of gift exchange.

I have the impression that this is all a problem of words or

- "some sort of exchange" -- do they have a concept of exchange,
  or does this just mean, we cannot think of calling it anything
  better than "exchange" because we are so used to that term?

- "people feel indebted" -- same question: what does indebted
  *actually* mean (for them)?

We had quite some discussion about that point. After all in Oekonux we
see Selbstentfaltung as the main reason and at the moment I have no
idea how feeling indebted can be thought of as being a part of
Selbstentfaltung. ...

<example class=silly>
Somebody makes you laugh and you enjoy.  You answer the same way,
making him laugh...  In the end, the two of you just enjoy
themselves in laughing about things.  But observer A says: you
are having an exchange there: he 'gives' you something, and you
give something back 'in return' etc. Observer B says: this is pure
Selbstentfaltung of two people enjoying themselves together. Who
is right?


Of course I'm very sceptical about all that because it sounds very
much like just another attempt to declare exchange as some kind of
"natural" thing. 

This is called "conceptual imperialism": you choose a concept
that you like, view the whole world through those glasses, and
you are able to explain the whole world with one concept (and a
bit of wittiness)!

On the other hand IMHO it can't be denied that some
sort of non-economical exchange, - well no - some sort of flow of
things actually seems to be part of the human mind set. I mean for
instance children offer things sometimes if they want to get your
attention / friendship / whatever. 

I'd simply boil this "part of the human mindset" down to
'interaction'.  It is, indeed, possible, easy and quite common to
interprete all interaction as exchange, but I doubt that such a
view enhances the adequacy of our picture of the world (or the
'human mindset').


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