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(1,249 words)

Author(s): Kathöfer, Karin
Exchange of Gifts 1. In societies that do not employ governmental institutions and the medium of money in the establishment of interpersonal relationships, an exchange of gifts has a greater burden of meaning than that of a mere transaction in goods. By contrast with forms of exchange, usually profane, determined directly by economic requirements, an exchange of gifts is a social process and follows ritual rules, which frequently appear in the form of ritual laws, sacred ceremonies, and magic. The …


(1,116 words)

Author(s): Kathöfer, Karin
Market Economy/Solidarity 1. ‘Interest’ (from Lat., interesse, ‘be between’—here, the ‘difference’ between two amounts of money) is profit from a loan, that is, from the deposit of monetary capital for a determinate time. With the emergence of a united currency market, the legitimacy of the charging of interest is scarcely discussed any longer; but the demand that the interest owed by the countries of the so-called Third World be condoned in a ‘Jubilee Year 2000’ harks back to an ancient religious dem…


(1,032 words)

Author(s): Kathöfer, Karin
1. Money is still a scientifically disputed phenomenon, and it has no generally recognized definition. Etymological derivations of the names of various kinds of money indicate cattle as an original unit of value (e.g., Lat., pecunia, from pecus, ‘cow’), and thus the sacred origin of money as a substitute for the sacrifice of a bull, which was pictured on the coin. This possible origin, with its magical and mythical associations, can scarcely be recognized any longer in modern money, which has become an economic category and instrum…