The Economy of Regard

Avner Offer

in The Challenge of Affluence

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216628
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696015 | DOI:

Series: The Challenge of Affluence

The Economy of Regard

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This chapter examines reciprocity, the main source of rewards outside the market. Reciprocity generates mutual regard, which is among the most highly valued of satisfactions, and cannot be authenticated reliably in the market. This accounts for its pervasive persistence as a form of exchange. The well-being of people depends on receiving acknowledgement, attention, and approbation, on affirmations, confirmations, and gifts. Positive status, so vital to well-being, is an interpersonal relationship. In the ‘economy of regard’, the approbation of others is secured by the reciprocal gift of our own. The market relation is adversarial, and it is rarely possible to completely relax one's guard. In reciprocal relations, authenticity is vital. The authenticity of friendship, for example, is not something that most people would wish to purchase with money.

Keywords: reciprocity; mutual regard; market relation; authenticity; money

Chapter.  10294 words.  Illustrated.

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