Passage from Maneki-neko, a short story by Bruce Sterling about a secret AI-based gift economy. Originally published in 1998, you can read the entire story here for free: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/maneki-neko/
"Tsuyoshi blinked. “Look, I don’t know anything about all that. I’m just living my life.”
“Well, your network gift economy is undermining the lawful, government approved, regulated economy!”
“Well,” Tsuyoshi said gently, “maybe my economy is better than your economy.”
“Says who?” she scoffed. “Why would anyone think that?”
“It’s better because we’re happier than you are."