A friend contacted me the other day and apologised for asking a favour of me at short notice. It got me thinking to how economists always bang on about transactions as if we are autonomous beings somehow rationally balancing resource needs, but ultimately I think favours might be a better word, and certainly a lot more human.
Apart from limited command-and-control type situations, people interact because they feel inclinded to do so because of some kind of trust relationship, however limited or limitless. Favours can be tiny or huge, financial or non. Transactions as a word is too cold and ignores the relationship between parties.
The RAND corporation did work on the prisoners dilemma that showed that tit for tat strategies seem to work best in most situations. i.e. tend towards acting altruistically unless it is not reciprocated. Isn’t that how we respond to people when they ask a favour of us? Needless to say I agreed!