Circular Gift

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Circular giving vs. reciprocal giving:

"Circular giving differs from reciprocal giving in several ways. First, when the gift moves in a circle no one ever receives it from the same person he gives it to. I continually give armshells to my partner to the west, but unlike a two-person give-and-take, he never gives me armshells in return. The whole mood is different. The circule is the structural equivalent of the prohibition on discussion. When I give tos omeone from whom I do not receive (and yet I do recieve elsewhere), it is as if the gift goes around a corner before it comes back. I have to give blindly. And I will feel a sort of blind gratitude as well. The smaller the circle is--and particularly if it involves just two people--the more a man can keep his eye on things and the more likely it is that he will start to think like a salesman. But so long as the gift passes out of sight it cannot be manipulated by one man or one pair of gift partners. When the gift moves in a circle its motion is beyond the control of the personal ego, and so each beaer must be a part of the group and each donation is an act of social faith." (quote from Lewis Hyde, The Gift, 16.3)