Pay it forward

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**Historical and Philosophical Origins:**
– Paying forward has roots in ancient times, such as in Menander’s play Dyskolos in 317 BC and biblical teachings.
– Benjamin Franklin further popularized the concept in 1784.
– Various literary works and philosophical essays have explored the idea, emphasizing inter-generational devotion and the benefits of rendering good deeds.

**Real-life Examples and Cultural Impact:**
– Pay it forward chains have become common in fast-food stores and coffee shops like Starbucks.
– Mathematician Paul Erdős and Marvel comics have depicted pay it forward scenarios.
– The concept has been popularized in literature and linked to acts of kindness and generosity.

**Criticism and Controversies:**
– Pay it forward chains in fast food stores have faced criticism due to mixed up orders and unexpected larger payments.
– The Netflix series “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” lampooned the concept for profit, leading to the creation of an internet meme.

**Novel, Film, and Social Movements:**
– The 1999 novel and subsequent film “Pay It Forward” describe the obligation to do good deeds in response to kindness received.
– The Pay It Forward Movement and Foundation, as well as International Pay It Forward Day, were established to promote the concept globally.

**Public Health, Economics, and Experiments:**
– The pay-it-forward model is used in public health to increase test uptake.
– It is adopted as an economic model by firms like Karma Kitchen and Heifer Project International.
– Experiments and research studies suggest that individuals pass on behaviors they have experienced, driven by social learning and emotional triggers.

Pay it forward (Wikipedia)

Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying the kindness to others rather than paying it back to the original benefactor. It is also called serial reciprocity.

The concept is old, but the particular phrase may have been coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight. Robert Heinlein's 1951 novel Between Planets helped popularize the phrase.

"Pay it forward" is implemented in contract law of loans in the concept of third party beneficiaries. Specifically, the creditor offers the debtor the option of paying the debt forward by lending it to a third person instead of paying it back to the original creditor. This contract may include the provision that the debtor may repay the debt in kind, lending the same amount to a similarly disadvantaged party once they have the means, and under the same conditions. Debt and payments can be monetary or by good deeds. A related type of transaction, which starts with a gift instead of a loan, is alternative giving.

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