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Commodity Versus Gift As Metaphor For Market Versus Non-Market Relations



    () (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)


In social science gifts are frequently contrasted with commodities. Commodities are assumed to stand for rationality and commercial gain, in short the economic realm. Gifts are presumed to be bearers of moral obligation and social concerns, that is, to represent the non-economic realm. However, it is shown in this article that commodities also rest on, and give rise to, a wealth of non-market relations. Thus, the use of commodity vs. gift as metaphor for market vs. non-market relations in a capitalist society is misleading. This article demonstrates that for the analysis of the interaction between market and nonmarket relations what is instead required is understanding of capital as a set of social relations, along lines provided by Marxist political economy.

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  • Costas Lapavitsas, 2002. "Commodity Versus Gift As Metaphor For Market Versus Non-Market Relations," Working Papers 127, Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:soa:wpaper:127

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