The Supply of Esteem

Geoffrey Brennan and Philip Pettit

in The Economy of Esteem

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199246489
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601460 | DOI:
The Supply of Esteem

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For a fully developed economy, esteem must be something that people are able to supply in response to the demands of others, not just to demand themselves; there must be a possibility of exchanging esteem, whether for reciprocal esteem or for other benefits. As with demand, there may seem to be a problem in maintaining that it is possible for people to supply esteem in this way. After all, I cannot make a gift of my esteem, nor can I offer it in a trade with another person, nor can I pass on the esteem I receive from others. But while esteem itself may not be alienable in these ways, certain ‘esteem-services’ are: I can voluntarily offer you my attention, my testimony, and my company, and do so in a way that promises to increase your positive esteem. And I can do this without self-defeat so far as I can hide my motives or, more plausibly, can do so in a virtually but not actually strategic way: I give my attention, testimony or association quite spontaneously but will be led to think again if it fails to secure suitable reciprocation.

Keywords: exchange; supply; trade; virtual control

Chapter.  7186 words. 

Subjects: Microeconomics

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