Stan Apps asked the following question on his blog the other day:
"A reputation economy--no $$$, only R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Is it a utopia? (And if it is a utopia for some, does that automatically make it a dystopia for others?"
And here was my answer:
"I think many poets are familiar with a respect economy, which of course shades very quickly into a prestige/reputation economy, and is therefore also related to a financial economy. Although none of these three economies is the same, they're pretty closely linked.
I think poets should rate themselves on a scale of one to ten how they think they stand in these economies.
I'm giving myself:
Respect 7 Prestige/Reputation 5 Financial 4
Of course, it's easiest to rate oneself on the financial economy, second easiest to rate prestige/reputation, and hardest to rate respect.
Which suggests therefore that a pure respect economy, which doesn't exist of course, could nonetheless not be a utopia for one simple reason: any time something important depends on what other people think of you (which is, of course, most of the time), there's no end to trouble."