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The Gratis Economy
Privately Provided Public Goods

András Kelen, Management Consultant

"Association of a price with value is often misleading"
- Conventional wisdom

"There's no such thing as a free shave"
- French saying

"There's such a thing as a free lunch"
- Recent experience of cyber citizens

"This volume could make a contribution to contemporary social science far beyond its declared attempt to develop a theory of the gratis economy."
- Jon van Til, Professor of Urban Studies, Rutgers University at Camden

"The first book . which makes a serious attempt at integrating the concept of public goods with the currently emerging phenomenon of the 'New Economy'. The concept of public goods is approached here in a context much broader than usual, and I consider the interdisciplinary character of the book one of its important assets. .This book brings us much closer to understanding how the 'New Economy'and, as a major part of it, the 'e-business' work.. .It is a very rich, thought provoking, well-documented volume."
- Ádám Török, Dean and Professor of Economics, IMC Graduate School of Business, Budapest

A work in the relatively new field of economic sociology, this highly unconventional book deals with the logics of toll-free services and generalises the notion of voluntary work toward encompassing everything that can be obtained free of charge in the world. The author claims that the publicity-driven gratis economy - perhaps the greatest wealth creator in history - is integrating into the conventional non-profit sector.

Kelen's exploration of the gratis economy covers the three basic institutional sectors: nonprofit/voluntary, business and government.

The 'New Economy' offers a wide range of services seemingly for free, but the costs are still supposed to be borne by some actors of the economy. The message of the book is very important: the motives of the gratis giving of goods or services can always be identified and could be explained either by 'motivated giving' or by 'hidden marketing'. These motives often lie outside of the scope of traditional economics and may have strong political, sociological and/or psychological connotations.

The Gratis Economy will be of interest to professors and students of applied economics and business schools, sociologists, to the e-business community, marketing practitioners, webspinners, infonauts, netizens, software developers and decision-makers of electronic media.

See also separate site.


Preface. Theses to Announce the Concept of Gratis Economy I. The Traditional Gratis Economy - Uncharted Faces of Pro Bono Work The Social Basis of Volunteering II. The Virtual Faces of the Gratis Economy -Business Operated Sizzling Gratuities Free of Charge, Except for Advertising; Free of Charge, Except for Commodifying Privacy; Gratuities Embedded in Business Processes III. The Public Interest in the Gratis Economy - Gratuities Generated by Polity The State-Run Gratis Economy; The Informational Commons; Typology of Business Intrusions that Cry for Political Remedy; Toward the Demise of Mass Culture in Cyberspace Literature. References

370 pages
ISBN 978-963-9241-22-0 cloth $51.95 / €43.95 / Ł38.00
ISBN 978-963-9241-33-6 paperback $27.95 / €25.95 / Ł22.99