Sometimes the w…


Sometimes the word ‘exchange’ is substituted for ‘distribution’, but we insist on a distinction. Exchange is a universal principle of economic life but it takes many forms and not all flows of resources should be categorized as exchanges. The payment of tribute to a ruler may be said to bring you his protection in exchange, but this is a misleading representation of an unequal relationship, while welfare payments by a modern state are better seen as transfers financed by taxation—a new form of sharing.

From Chris Hann and Keith Hart’s “Economic Anthropology: history, ethnography, critique”.