this issue
previous article in this issuenext article in this issue

Preview first page
Document Details :

Title: Exploiting Gift-Giving
Author(s): BELFRAGE, Sara
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 21    Issue: 3   Date: 2014   
Pages: 371-400
DOI: 10.2143/EP.21.3.3044850

Abstract :
It is commonly thought that transactions that are the result of voluntary gift-giving do not constitute exploitation. This article argues that exploitation is indeed possible in such situations, by showing how gift-giving can fulfil the two commonly proposed criteria for exploitation, namely that in an interaction between two persons one receives disproportionally little and the other disproportionally much of the resulting net benefits, and that this disproportion is caused by the latter making inappropriate use of a disadvantage of the former. Firstly, it is shown that it is reasonable to consider the outcome of gift-giving disproportional. Secondly, it is noted that some but not all descriptions of inappropriate use of a disadvantage are compatible with exploitation of giftgiving. However, a theoretical approach to what this criterion would amount to in cases of gift-giving is lacking. It is therefore the aim of the second part of the article to spell out conditions of relevance for exploitation of gift-giving as a first step towards constructing a theoretical framework for exploitation of gift-giving, enabling us to detect when gift-giving is exploited. The method of reflective equilibrium inspires this explorative analysis, which proceeds by testing intuitions about examples that embody a set of possible conditions. All but one of these conditions have been retrieved from the general literature on exploitation. It is concluded that three of the conditions are necessary for exploitation of gift-giving, namely that (i) the giver incurs a loss, (ii) the recipient has aimed for the gift, and (iii) the gift is undeserved.

Download article