The Four Kinds of Economies

I don’t normally do straight-up reblogs here, but the new post, Unifying the Value Universe from Greg Rader at is very relevant to some themes we are starting to attack here. It divides up value exchange into four types of economics: gift, transactional, relationship and attention that can be neatly arranged in a 2×2. As with any 2×2, the identification of the axis variables to use is key, and I think the ones Greg has picked really might be the right ones: relatedness of the parties and refinement of the value-add being exchanged (in the sense of rough vs. polished). Click on and read.  He has a more detailed analysis of how this diagram works and in particular, of transactions that cross quadrant boundaries.

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. He has a clever way of phrasing that with “Attention Economy.” I was thinking of a quip related to that very idea just the other day…

    “Feudalism wants your life,
    Capitalism wants your soul,
    Democracy wants your support,
    Consumerism just wants your attention…”