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Charles H. Hinnant - Gifts and Wages: The Structures of Exchange in Eighteenth-Century Fiction and Drama | JSTOR: Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Fall, 2008), pp. 1-18
This essay argues that during the eighteenth century the structures of exchange were defined not in terms of an opposition between gifts and commodities but between gifts and wages. This core opposition took two antithetical forms. On the one hand, it valorized liberality, love, gratitude, etc. over purely mercenary considerations. The ethos of the pure gift, far from being the product of a modern market economy, as is commonly supposed, was probably generated within the framework of this aristocratic ideology. On the other hand, a reaction against this ideology took the form of a polarity in which honest industry is privileged over clientage, servility, and idleness. Ironically, alms mistakenly given to the undeserving poor now came to be implicated in the same system of gift-exchange that bestowed honors and places by favors rather than by merit.
article  jstor  18thC  cultural_history  economic_history  anthropology  cultural_capital  aristocracy  clientelism  patronage  charity  Poor_Laws  services  gift  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader

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