The Supply of Esteem
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.
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