Gift economies and inequality

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Jabrosky
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Aug 26 2012 13:37
Gift economies and inequality

I understand that libertarian communists generally support economies based on gift exchange rather than the current monetary system, but as much as I dislike money, I have a nagging concern about gift economies: they may not address the root evil of money. Money is evil because it creates socioeconomic inequality, often for unfair reasons, but couldn't a gift economy also disproportionately favor certain individuals over others? For example, people who earned more social capital or performed more essential services for society (e.g. doctors or food-producers) might earn more gifts than others.

Sorry for the newbish question, but although libertarian communism appeals to my morality far more than any other, I have a hard time justifying it to other people.

Spikymike
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Aug 26 2012 14:11

It might be more accurate (if still a simplification) to say that private property in the means of sustaining life and liberty and the dispossesion of the majority from such ownership and control such that we are reliant today on working for a wage (or scrapping by on benefit payments or charity) is what sustains an exchange based economy and the requirement for money. Calling money 'evil' misunderstands it's necessity in this society as a means of accumulating wealth for the minority class that monopolises the ownership of such private property and a means of survival for most of the rest of us if we're lucky! A society based on the principle of the 'gift', assumes no 'private (ie class) ownership' and no universal equivalent of exchange ie 'from each according to their abillity, to each according to their (self-determined) needs' - so no one can 'earn' a gift.

Have a look at the various discussion threads elswhere on the question of ' the abolition of money' or on Parecon and perhaps David Graeber's book on debt for a further exploration of these ideas - it's worth a search around on this site for more detailed answers to the issues concerning you.

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 26 2012 14:19

I don't think anyone imagines communism would be based on individuals giving gifts to each other.
Most things for everyday use would be produced collectively and then made available to those who wanted them.

Spikymike
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Apr 3 2019 12:58

Also this text in the library might be of use:
https://libcom.org/library/communism-points-consideration-linsecurite-sociale

RedHughs
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Aug 26 2012 19:47

Another thing that I think is important to consider is that communism would involve a lot of communal consumption.

There would be communal dinning halls, collectively organized singing festivals (or whatever) and a wide variety of collective activities offering each person a chance to be a part of the group.

I mean, you could take more than "your share" at the dinning hall but assuming sufficient food, there wouldn't be any obvious benefit and so it would be a rather rare phenomena.

And the distribution of luxury automobile and gold bling? We wouldn't have fricken' luxury automobiles but we'd make all fake-gold-bling anyone would want and there'd be a big heap where we'd throw it at the end of the day.

"Dinner at a fine restaurant?" All the food would be excellent but there'd be no restaurants.

Etc...

NannerNannerNan...
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Aug 26 2012 21:25

Jabrosky? Is that you?

Are you that weird guy with the colonialism fetish? You were made fun of by the Something Awful goons?

Sorry if this makes zero sense.

Edit:
to make this less shitpost-y,
I think the notion of "gift economy is the goal of anarchism" is a recent invention created by some plucky lifestylists cribing from a legitimate anthropological phenomena and making it their own because they love hunter-gathrer societies so damn much.

It doesn't seem "communist" in anyway, it's "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" not a "gift economy". Does communism count as a gift economy? Are they synonymous or completely different, because it seems to be? It seems like such a purposely vague concept that you could call Capitalism a "gift economy". In the technical sense, a gift economy refers to the political economy of very, very old tribal socieites. It being refered to anything but that is a recent invention.

In short, lifestylists ruin everything

I

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klas batalo
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Aug 26 2012 21:11

Thanks for just bringing this question up. I think it is a typical newbie question, sorry to say, but that is actually useful.

Also I think I see this type of question in the USA a lot either from mutualists or pareconists where they are like "Oh anarchist communism, doesn't Wikipedia say that means a gift economy? How does that work on a global scale? *zing*" And they totally miss the point, but think anarchists just want a small local based economy a la Really Really Free Markets or something. Totally hilarious.

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Khawaga
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Aug 26 2012 21:50
radicalgraffiti wrote:
I don't think anyone imagines communism would be based on individuals giving gifts to each other.
Most things for everyday use would be produced collectively and then made available to those who wanted them.

Well, to be fair gift giving is just not about individuals, it's about groups. And the whole point of gift giving is to create social ties with those you exchange, and to gain (temporary) superiority of status until the gift is reciprocated. I think that communist exchange would be a scalable form of gift giving, but one in which various federations, assemblies or communes (or whatever unit are tied together in a network through gift giving with the difference that the exchanges are impersonal or disseminative rather than personal and 'dialogic' (although it could also be both).

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Railyon
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Aug 27 2012 00:16

Why gifting when things belong to all?

Unless we speak of gifts in the purely intimate, personal gifting way one does when handicrafting something for your granny at x-mas, it (to me) implies a certain kind of property relation, because (say, between communities) you would not gift what another has already access to, and isn't that the point of communism?

I think inter-commune exchange would not be gift giving per se as this distinct separation of giver and receiver is still implicitly underlain by the separation of two interdependent entities, which runs contrary to 'access to all' in my opinion.

Also, didn't Mauss write in 'The Gift' that gifting may also take on an oppressive role by ways of the unspoken law of reciprocity, that you must always return the gift? Got the text on my shelf but never actually fully read it...

LBird
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Aug 27 2012 05:16

Isn't the notion of a 'gift economy' in direct opposition to 'communism', because democratic controls of production and distribution obviate the possibility and need for gifts, and indeed the notion of a 'gifter' and 'giftee'?

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Khawaga
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Aug 27 2012 09:02

First of all, I am not dealing with the level of individuals so please keep that in mind. Yes, personal gifting would be superfluous. And also, in gift exchange the distribution of goods is secondary. The whole point of gift giving is establishing or strengthening social ties, and it is that I am interested in.

Railyon wrote:
Also, didn't Mauss write in 'The Gift' that gifting may also take on an oppressive role by ways of the unspoken law of reciprocity, that you must always return the gift?

That's exactly the point. It's not oppressive through any external agent (like the state), but purely through norms, gossip etc. If you've received a gift you're 'flattened', a nobody because someone outdid you in gifting. To regain your status (or one-up) the giver, you have to reciprocate. Remember that the whole point of gifting is not about exchange, but about establishing, keeping or strengthening social ties.

The reason why I like thinking about the gift as an element of the post-capitalist economic unit is that we presumably would still have issues about trust, social cohesion etc. Why would one commune/fed at the other side of the world bother with a commune here? While it would be nice to think that we would all be lovey-dovery, global kumba-ya singing perfect lil' anarchos, we could very well see certain places refusing to distribute or produce because they would get everything. We do recognize that individuals could do this, so why not collections of individuals (let's say the Crimethinc is all about freeganing off other communes' labour). How then do we establish strong social ties between the various feds/communes? A form of gift giving could solve that.

However, I also think that the 'economic unit' would also have elements of the commodity form, such as impersonal, atomized exchanges (again on a level of communes or productive units rather than individuals).

Then again, I am also a pretty big techo optimist and believe that our logistical networks can be more or less automated and distribute the social product quite effectively without much human input (other than what we actually produce and consume (in the sense of a communist point-of-consumption data (the communist equivalent to the current point-of-sales (POS) data that is so extremely valuable at the moment for global supply chains).

But as I said to begin with, having figured out how we distribute the social product effectively does not necessarily mean that we would have strong social ties between communes. In essence, we are referring to the "free rider" problem on the level of federations. And I am also interested in what the essential 'economic unit' would be. I suspect it would have elements of the commodity (spec. impersonal exchanges), the gift (formally free, but an element of coercion through reciprocation) and the common.

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Railyon
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Aug 27 2012 10:17
Khawaga wrote:
The reason why I like thinking about the gift as an element of the post-capitalist economic unit is that we presumably would still have issues about trust, social cohesion etc. Why would one commune/fed at the other side of the world bother with a commune here? While it would be nice to think that we would all be lovey-dovery, global kumba-ya singing perfect lil' anarchos, we could very well see certain places refusing to distribute or produce because they would get everything. We do recognize that individuals could do this, so why not collections of individuals (let's say the Crimethinc is all about freeganing off other communes' labour). How then do we establish strong social ties between the various feds/communes? A form of gift giving could solve that.

(emphasis added by me)

So the underlying problem seems to be one of institutions in a post-cap society (as Bertholt Brecht once said, 'if the institutions are good, man does not need to be'). That opens quite a can of worms, I guess...

I don't actually see a particular problem in some places ceasing to take on a productive role, that is if we assume a post-scarcity society in which our direct material needs are covered (contrary to some other people here I see no problem in 'leeching' in this case). It does become a problem when our own reproduction as a human species gets threatened, which implicitly raises the question if socialism is compatible with some kind of human nature if we assume they wouldn't even take care of their own direct well-being were it not for coercive social relations... I for one would predict that there won't be any highly concentrated nexuses of production like today anymore but that it would be much more evened out geographically (like, all over the world) so it also weakens the 'incentive' (if we want to speak of it that way) to leech just because the other commune is some faceless alien to us. In a way one could speak of a social cohesion that is over-regional, but I feel that I'm still kind of missing a vital step toward the global interconnection of communes but I hope I got my point across...

I'm much more in favor of some kind of nested council planning, without wanting to sound like a technocrat I think supply chain management like it was spoken of in another thread can be a big step forward in that direction.

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Khawaga
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Aug 27 2012 11:50
Railyon wrote:
In a way one could speak of a social cohesion that is over-regional, but I feel that I'm still kind of missing a vital step toward the global interconnection of communes but I hope I got my point across...

I think this is the level I am thinking of as well. And I think having a gift-like economy could be an element of that, though obviously not the only one. But yeah, there are definitive missing links. It's all speculation, innit.

Railyon wrote:
I'm much more in favor of some kind of nested council planning, without wanting to sound like a technocrat I think supply chain management like it was spoken of in another thread can be a big step forward in that direction.

I don't disagree with this at all, though how do you ensure the cohesion between nested councils? In this the 'eros of the gift' could play a part. But I think planning could more or less be automated precisely by communist supply chain management.*

* following up on Dave B's comments in that science thread, I think I might interview developers of SCM software and inquire about the role that zero price could play in the system.

bzfgt
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Aug 27 2012 19:05
Quote:
All the food would be excellent

That has to be one of the best reasons to be a communist I've seen yet...

bzfgt
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Aug 27 2012 19:09
Quote:
All the food would be excellent

On second thought, this isn't so great...we may have to shoot my wife.

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klas batalo
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Aug 27 2012 19:35
bzfgt wrote:
Quote:
All the food would be excellent

On second thought, this isn't so great...we may have to shoot my wife.

no worries, we will all go through personal transformation as part of the social revolutionary process...i.e. everyone will be sent through the full communist iron chef re-education program.

Kambing
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Aug 28 2012 05:03

‘Gift exchange’ gets used for multiple different kinds of transactions/relationships, some of which can certainly be entangled in status competition and social hierarchies. While there is some use in the gift/commodity binary—especially when looking at things from within a social system dominated by the commodity—in terms of thinking about a post-capitalist society it’s probably necessary to be more specific. Most fundamentally, the kinds of exchange relations involved in competitive gift-giving—where you gain status from the dramatic presentation of (especially) luxury goods—can be distinguished from generalised reciprocity (eg. routine sharing of food within a kin group), but also from tributary relationships where high status individuals or group demand or expect ‘gifts’ from subordinates.

There can be status competition in the sense that groups or individuals can gain regard or even authority through being connected to more circulating goods and/or being able to draw on reciprocal service obligations, but this is a rather different form of social power than that gained through the accumulation of wealth. The key here is the importance of keeping 'gift values' in circulation. A classic example for competitive gift giving is the Melanesian/PNG ‘Big Man’, who secures his status as a powerful patron through mighty gifts of pigs and other valued goods. (See the classic ethnographic film ‘Ongka’s Big Moka’, where the titular Big Man declares to his rival ‘I have won, I have knocked you down by giving so much’). On the other hand, the pursuit of some kind of status through giving also motivates a whole lot of human creative and redistributive activity, which is not necessarily tied to such a clear sense of competitive power or authority.

As Khawaga has pointed out, a key element (by some accounts the defining feature) of gift exchange is the maintenance of ongoing social relationships. If the things/services exchanged are valued qualitatively rather than quantitatively and/or are exchanged in an indirect and asynchronous fashion, there is no final ‘balancing of accounts’ and so an open relationship of mutual indebtedness can be maintained. It may be preferable to substitute ‘recognition’, ‘gratitude’, etc for ‘indebtedness’ here, but it is worth keeping in mind that there are gift systems where this is experienced as a burden or compulsion.

Communism is typically imagined as a form of generalised reciprocity—from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs—but forms of status-enhancing gift exchange could well be a useful part of a communist system. That is, a particular collective would gain a certain status recognition or esteem from producing quality goods or knowledge and distributing them widely. I don’t think this is a bad thing, and is almost certainly necessary to develop a functioning commons regime on a large-scale.

The real danger would be if this became reduced to a quantitative measure of value (as with social networking site 'Likes' or academic citation counts/impact factors), especially if that then served to regulate access to resources. This then becomes a form of market exchange which could slide back into something like capital accumulation. But qualitative assessments of social value are a fundamental part of human relationships, and these necessarily get objectified in the products of human activity. So in this sense we can't really do without some aspect of gift exchange, IMO.

LBird
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Aug 28 2012 06:52
Kambing wrote:
So in this sense we can't really do without some aspect of gift exchange, IMO.

IMO, the presence of 'gift exchange' is inimical to Communism.

Gifting denies democracy.

And if Communism isn't the democratic control of the economy, the political control by humans of production, distribution and consumption by all humanity on this planet, what is it?

To have the power of gift-giving is to have a power uncontrolled by, or accountable to, those targetted by the gift.

Kambing
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Aug 28 2012 08:07
LBird wrote:
To have the power of gift-giving is to have a power uncontrolled by, or accountable to, those targetted by the gift.

Not necessarily; there are all kinds of social and personal controls on gift-giving. The power to refuse a gift can be devastating. The value of a gift is not fixed, it is open to contest or negotiation.

Anyway, I don't think we can ever get away from personalised relationships mediated by objects (gifts), nor am I convinced that we should want to. But that category is both distinct from commodities and broad enough to encompass a whole range of different kinds of relationship, some of which are hierarchical and some of which are not. Certainly I think that communism would require a great many goods and services being available in a generalised way, but more personal forms of exchange will still play a role in any form of communist society that I can both imagine and would want to live in.

It is now much easier to eg. upload music to file-sharing networks so that it can be exchanged in a more generalised way, and I can see communism taking advantage of this in a big way especially for 'immaterial'/reproducible art and knowledge, not to mention the possibilities of 3d printing and such. But, sometimes you might just want to play some music for some friends at a party. And maybe someone else will bring some tasty snacks, or beer, or recreational pharmaceuticals. Are you saying that under communism people won't ever give personalised objects to specific people? No giving toys to children, cooking meals for friends and family, giving clothes or items of personal adornment to a romantic partner, passing a book on to someone you think would like it?

Certainly, I don't think communism should fundamentally be described as a 'gift economy', as I don't think that such personalised gifts should or could be the dominant form of production and exchange, but they will still play a role in communist social relations. I mean, they are still quite important in capitalist society even though it is very far from being a 'gift economy'! I also think that, in a communist society where the dominant form of social organisation is neither monetarised nor hierarchical, we'd see a shift in such exchanges to emphasise more generalised relations of personal reciprocity, being attentative to the interests and pleasures of others, rather than eg. customary occasions for expected gift-giving focused mostlly on close kin. Sure, this will also lead to variations of status in the sense that some people will gain recognition and esteem for expending a bit more effort in meeting others' needs, but I'm actually fine with being friendly, generous and creative serving as the basis for prestige, so long as this prestige does not translate into the accumulation of wealth or institutionalised political power.

Humans are fundamentally social animals; communism is about harnessing and expanding on this, not denying it.

LBird
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Aug 28 2012 08:24
Kambling wrote:
Anyway, I don't think we can ever get away from personalised relationships mediated by objects (gifts), nor am I convinced that we should want to.

If, by your comments, you're discussing 'personal relationships', I think that there's no problem.

But I was under the impression, given the thread title, we're discussing 'Gift Economies'.

In that sense, 'gifts' won't exist.

I think that it's important that we specify whether we're talking about structural socio-economic relationships, which have political dimensions, or talking about giving our kids presents.

Let's not confuse the two; and indeed, given the thread title, we should be focussing upon the former.

As to the rest of your post on personal relationships under Communism, I'm very sympathetic.

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Aug 28 2012 08:40

LBird, please try to understand or read up on gift exchange. Again you're making assumptions before you've bothered to really try to understand what gift exchange is all about. For example, in quite a few gift economies (e.g. the Trobriand Kula-ring) what is being exchanged is essentially trinckets. "Useless" (from an economic "utility" point of view) necklaces and bracelets. The real use of these exchanges, just to re-iterate it again (because you seem to miss the point) is to initiate or validate already existing social ties. In a communist society I could very well see that between individuals, people would gift each other things that could be taken from the 'stores' anyway. This is what Kambing refers to as cooking someone a meal, performing a song, or, to go really down to a banal level, filling a stranger's glass with wine when you fill your own in order to establish contact.

And again, you also seem to miss where both Kambing and I say quite explicitly that a communist gift economy would be nothing like other gift economies. As I said above it will likely have elements of the commodity and the commons as well. Indeed, gift economies could be the basis of a communist version of competition. Again Kambing makes a really good point:

Kambing wrote:
Communism is typically imagined as a form of generalised reciprocity—from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs—but forms of status-enhancing gift exchange could well be a useful part of a communist system. That is, a particular collective would gain a certain status recognition or esteem from producing quality goods or knowledge and distributing them widely. I don’t think this is a bad thing, and is almost certainly necessary to develop a functioning commons regime on a large-scale.

This is on the level of institutions, and I think it would be a great way to ensure social cohesion on a supra-fed level.

LBird wrote:
I think that it's important that we specify whether we're talking about structural socio-economic relationships, which have political dimensions, or talking about giving our kids presents.

Let's not confuse the two; and indeed, given the thread title, we should be focussing upon the former.

I think you're the only one who's confused about this.

LBird
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Aug 28 2012 09:01
Khawaga wrote:
If you've received a gift you're 'flattened', a nobody because someone outdid you in gifting. To regain your status (or one-up) the giver, you have to reciprocate. Remember that the whole point of gifting is not about exchange, but about establishing, keeping or strengthening social ties.

Cf:

Khawaga wrote:
The real use of these exchanges, just to re-iterate it again (because you seem to miss the point) is to initiate or validate already existing social ties.

.

Khawaga wrote:
I think you're the only one who's confused about this.

Really? Given your own words on this thread, you seem to confuse the political and personal about 'gifts'.

Khawaga wrote:
LBird, please try to understand or read up on gift exchange.

Why is it acceptable to you to be patronising to others, especially towards me (about which you have a history), but you take a strop when it's done to you?

"Khawaga, please try to understand or read up on the politics of gift exchange."

Let's talk to each other in a respectful way, eh?

To further my comments to Kambling, I think we should differentiate between 'presents' (personal) and 'gifts' (political), at least in the context of this thread.

As Khawaga has helpfully pointed out, 'gifts' are about 'outdoing' rivals.

No parent gives a 'present' to their kids, and expects the same value back, and then boasts to their mates in the pub later that they have 'flattened' their kids because they could not reciprocate.

I think it's helpful for us to maintain the conceptual separation of 'gifts' and 'presents', to aid our political understanding.

In this sense, 'gifts' cannot be part of Communism.

Kambing
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Aug 28 2012 09:16
LBird wrote:
But I was under the impression, given the thread title, we're discussing 'Gift Economies'. In that sense, 'gifts' won't exist.

I think the problem is that 'in that sense', 'gift economies' have never existed and cannot exist, in that gift exchange by definition does not operate by a strictly 'economic' logic. A 'gift economy' means that the dominant mode of production and exchange is precisely based on personalised relationships - to date, largely but not exclusively kin and kin-like relationships.

I should probably clarify: those (primarily small-scale hunter-gatherer and/or horticulturalist) societies that typically get referred to as ‘gift economies’ are actually more like communal subsistence+gift economies. That is, within more closely related* kin groups and/or with respect to the basic means of subsistence, generalised reciprocity or communal sharing tends to hold sway, while for specific categories of scarce or prestige goods and also between more distantly connected people or groups, more formalised gift exchange is the norm. In fact, prestige goods often include certain categories of sacred/valued/fetish objects whose only real use is to be exchanged in this way (as Khawaga mentions re: the Kula ring). In many respects the communal subsistence ‘economy’ is the real basis for everyday social life, but the gift exchanges may appear more prominent precisely because they are ‘special’, marked and understood as a specific form of social exchange rather than just ‘everyday life’.

(*’closely related’ following culturally-specific rules which typically incorporate various forms of ‘fictive’ or affinal kin rather than being based on strict consanguinity.)

Similarly, I would posit that production and distribution under communism would include a very expansive set of goods and services produced and distributed under a ‘subsistence sharing’ ethic—well beyond that required for bare subsistence, and including a vast array of cultural and knowledge products as well as food and shelter, medical care, etc. But there would still be a role for personalised production and exchange, because we will still incorporate objects and performances into our personal relationships and attachments. In some sense this is actually the reverse of so-called ‘primitive communism’ – personalised gift exchanges with those we have close relationships with, and communal, generalised sharing throughout the wider society as a whole.

The basic point is, though, that personalised relations among close kin, friends, loved ones, colleagues, or whatever are actually 'socially structured' and play a key role in the organisation of society, and so cannot be excluded from a discussion of communist society. It is only capitalism that presents 'the economy' as an autonomous sphere, and even here 'the economy' is absolutely reliant on personalised relationships to function (eg. the 'communal' family household is a basic unit for consumption and the reproduction of labour power, even if it is no longer the primary unit of production).

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Aug 28 2012 09:35

LBird, again you show why it's utterly worthless engaging with you. You have a pattern of coming in with a very specific and very subjective "understanding" of a phenomenon and then you stick to that like you're the devil reading the Bible. I don't care to engage with you because of that. You should really look at the differences between your "contribution" and those of Railyon and Kambing.

LBird
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Aug 28 2012 09:38
Kambling wrote:
The basic point is, though, that personalised relations among close kin, friends, loved ones, colleagues, or whatever are actually 'socially structured' and play a key role in the organisation of society, and so cannot be excluded from a discussion of communist society.

Agreed, so why not, in a discussion about 'gift economies', differentiate between 'presents' (objects of affection within personalised relations between comrades and communes) and 'gifts' (objects of power within political relations between competitors for social power)?

To some, this might seem a semantic point, but I think that it is helpful to point out to any comrades unfamiliar with the political mechanisms of a 'gift economy' that although 'gift' sounds a nice term, it hides a bite on the bum.

Bit like 'showers', eh? Knowledge, as they say, is power.

LBird
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Aug 28 2012 09:46
Khawaga wrote:
LBird, again you show why it's utterly worthless engaging with you.

So why keep doing it, like a moth to an irresistable flame?

I read but did not comment on your earlier posts, because I know your history of 'stalker-like' behaviour concerning my posts.

If you don't like my contributions, and can't keep your criticisms to their contents, why not just ignore me? Why the obsessive need to attempt to patronise, and then rubbish, me personally, again and again?

A tip: criticise my words and ideas, not me, comrade.

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Aug 28 2012 09:56

LBird, as Khawaga says your attempts at pedantic pointscoring here are not really being helpful in terms of the tone of discussion. Although actually I have found people's responses to you very informative, so thanks to those posters.

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Aug 28 2012 10:00

If anyone's stalker like, it's been you. After all the first time I engaged with you was when you asked (obv. not me specifically) for help with dialectics and you just became annoying. And you've done this over and over again, and I am not the only one who has pointed it out. If I thought that you did have an idea worth engaging properly with I would engage constructively (and just to be clear: in several threads I find myself agreeing with you, but will just 'up' the post because I don't have anything substantive to add). But in threads like this or the dialectics thread, you're obviously just pea-cocking. You don't really know what the heck is going on, cherry pick quotes and then come with some line about "a true communist perspective/position" like you're some some latter-day Spart.

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Aug 28 2012 10:09

LBird, I made my comment before seeing your last one. That type of personal insult is entirely unacceptable. Not to mention unjustified as I think Khawaga has shown incredible patience by actually taking the time to respond constructively to your dogmatic nitpicking. You guys do not post any more comments related to this personal spat. Any further posts on this topic should be related to the original post and subsequent political discussion.

LBird
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Aug 28 2012 10:10
Steven wrote:
LBird, as Khawaga says your attempts at pedantic pointscoring here are not really being helpful in terms of the tone of discussion.

Christ, here we go again!

Steven, have you read the thread? I specifically didn't reply to Khawaga: they responded to me; Khawaga, as usual, patronised me, not the other way round; then Khawaga insulted me, whereas I quoted their words approvingly.

Now, you feel compelled to call my contributions 'pedantic pointscoring', which are actually a response to Khawaga's childishness. Why not, if you don't like the tone of the exchange, condemn us both? You, too, have a history of partiality in your comments.

More fundamentally, don't you think my characterisation of 'gift' versus 'present' is a helpful political aid?

LBird
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Aug 28 2012 10:12

Khawaga and Steven, people can read the thread and make their own minds up.