Blog #3 9/24/13

Text 1: The Case Against Gifts/Monetizing Gifts

Response 1: I have actually read this book before, so I’ve already had the opportunity for the contents of it to resonate pretty significantly. I remember that when I first read it, I was very impacted by the section “The Case Against Gifts” and “Monetizing Gifts” because this is such a huge discussion between my mom and me during the holidays. My initial response to this was “FINALLY, THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG!” And I still feel that way as I read it again.

As a business student, I have a hard time not thinking about the economic impacts of things, even things that do not exist to be economically motivated. Gift giving is a very fun and rewarding activity if you take the time to be thoughtful and are able to find something that you’re proud to give someone you love. However, for many it is a chore: a necessary task that comes with the holiday season.

I personally love being thoughtful, but then again I really only have four immediate family members and occasionally a best friend to buy gift for during Christmas time. However, I often receive thoughtless gifts from relatives (aunts, uncles, etc.). They call up my mom and say “What does Nina want for Christmas”. I say, look at my Christmas list. Either my mom/Santa has bought everything or it’s too expensive. “Where do you want a gift card for?” I say that I don’t believe in gift cards. If it’s not something that you want to put thought into, I’d rather you give me money that I can physically put into my bank account and save. Gift cards force me to spend money that I wouldn’t necessarily spend and if I do use the gift card, it’s usually required that I put down some of my own money to make a purchase. Regardless, I continue to receive gift cards every year from family members that are more concerned with what is “appropriate” (meaning that cash/check is inappropriate because of its lack of thoughtfulness) than with what would make me the most happy. Nonetheless, I trade all of my gift cards with my mom for cash every year. That’s what makes me happy.

Text 2: The Commercialization Effect

Response 2: I loved this section. I was so proud to read that people would rather perform a good deed for free than give a discount. I too agree that offering money would weaken an intrinsically worthwhile motivation. In a book that deals a lot with what’s economically beneficial versus what’s morally correct, it’s nice to see an example where both apply. Is this commercialization effect something we can apply to fair trade that will benefit it?

« Sept 24th: What Money Can't BuyWhat Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Market »

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