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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

Chapter:
(p.167) 14 Halfway to Modernity
Source:
Gift and Gain
Author(s):

Neil Coffee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190496432.003.0015

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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