Why do gift economies struggle to thrive in our modern world?

In his magnum opus, Lewis Hyde clearly and painstakingly wrote about how previous societies moved. And that was with gifts.

“Here, I made this. I want you to have it.”

The problem with that today is it isn’t easy to track. And if there is no way to measure something then it’s hard to squeeze a profit.


Everything about our modern capitalistic culture is to track and leverage resources.

Gifts are much harder to quantify.

This supports at least one explanation about why women in more traditional caregiving professions receive less pay. You can’t measure the productivity or yield of caring someone who is sick or teaching someone to read (at least not in the short-term).

Money is a lousy way to measure the worth of what people provide.