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Majrelende OP wrote (edited )

When we exchange seeds, we rarely ‘approximat[e] [their] exchange value’; we consider our needs and seed supplies and give each other what would make sense to give. In fact, I think it is much easier to give and expect nothing in return than to be given something and want to express gratitude. Rationalising and ritualising interactions favours the other way: If I gave them something, I deserve [an abstract cultural concept] something back.

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ziq wrote

When I give away a seed, cutting or plant, the value I get is in greening the world. Like I gave a rooted cutting to someone a few years ago and now it's a huge tree in their garden. I helped make that tree exist. The value of creation is the highest value there is.

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toocats wrote

I somehow missed the

and yet surpass it in both social and material quality.

part of your original post and thought you were saying that despite the way you exchanged it ended up seeming like "trade" anyway so my reply doesn't make any sense. I was probably pre-coffee.

In fact, I think it is much easier to give and expect nothing in return than to be given something and want to express gratitude.

I agree. I don't know what I was trying to say but I didn't say it very well.

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