Stabilizing Reciprocity

Stabilizing Reciprocity - Stabilizing Reciprocity Make it...

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Stabilizing Reciprocity: Make it Conditional It would seem that the risk-reduction model provides a neat and tidy explanation of delayed reciprocity, sufficient to the task But it's not that simple: the risk-reduction model considers only the benefits of reciprocity, and we must also attend to its costs In the present context, the important costs have to do with the delay inherent in any form of delayed reciprocity, which requires that two (or more) parties cooperate sequentially to provide a collective benefit (such as risk reduction) To see why, let's return to food-sharing, a form of reciprocity that anthropologists have found to be extensively practiced in politically egalitarian systems like hunter-gatherer bands (but not necessarily in hunter-gatherer societies with other kinds of sociopolitical organization) Here, we typically observe a strong ethic of generosity that encourages people to share temporary abundances of food with other households in their camp -- to let anyone go hungry while you have plenty would be "unthinkable" Actually, evidence indicates people do think of it (e.g., ethnographers being asked to hide someone's secret stash, or to secretly give delicacies or rate items only to them) More important, plenty of evidence of social sanctions designed to discourage hoarding: gossip, ostracism, withdrawal of cooperation, witchcraft accusations, even threats of
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Stabilizing Reciprocity - Stabilizing Reciprocity Make it...

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