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Gift and GainHow Money Transformed Ancient Rome$
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Neil Coffee

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190496432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190496432.001.0001

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Halfway to Modernity

Halfway to Modernity

(p.167) 14 Halfway to Modernity
Gift and Gain

Neil Coffee

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes the argument for the historical decline in Roman gift culture due to increasing commodity culture, drawing together the various strands of evidence. Cross-culturally, it compares the change with the effects of money on generosity described in laboratory experiments by Daniel Kahneman. In the longer view of Western culture, Rome appears as a society halfway to modernity, with some market institutions and a continued reliance on gift giving. The change in Roman culture is part of a transition toward the kind of socioeconomic cultures seen in more fully institutionalized societies of the modern West.

Keywords:   Cicero, Seneca, Daniel Kahneman, Theodor Adorno, liberalitas, patronage, Max Weber, Marcel Mauss, Henry Sumner Maine

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