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Whereas closed romantic relationships are mutual slavery, in friendship a free capitalism reigns. Favors are exchanged for favors. Secrets are exchanged for secrets. Balance must be guarded tightly, lest suspicion arise. Your time and resources limit the amount of friendship you may buy from the market of human relations; you may only have a few deep relations or several more superficial ones. If you become closer with somebody in particular, other relations immediately suffer. Most of the time there is somebody more important for you than you are for her, and vice versa.

Often friendship relations are hierarchical-you have a best friend, second best friend and so on. Different social hierarchies also penetrate these relations…Friendship is a continuous battlefield, where you must earn your place…you must earn your friends everyday, and you may lose your social status overnight…With time, these relations become more stable, but low-intensity warfare does not mean peace…Loneliness means that you have been defeated in the war of human relations. You have put too much of yourself in one or two main relationships that failed…

…We who desire the end of capitalism seldom see how deeply its model of action is embedded into human society. There is no fundamental difference between an exchange that involves money and barter. If friendship and love is about barter as well, what hope is there to get rid of capitalism?

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