The author argues in this article that the Viking period marks the transition from a gift-giving economy in Scandinavia to a monetised one. Vikings were not merchants, for their expeditions aimed at gaining the silver necessary to maintain power and prestige at home rather than obtaining saleable merchandise. Giving and receiving was appropriate between friends and dependants, but strangers and enemies with whom there were no social ties or obligations might be treated mercilessly. Therefore Vikings had no qualms about simply taking what they wanted when abroad.
The desire of kings to monopolise exotic goods led them to found trading centres such as Ribe and Hedeby, and the minting of coins at such sites was undertaken by kings to legitimise and strengthen their royal authority. The process of exchange at trading sites led to an economic valuation of goods, and a neutralisation, commercialisation, and monetisation of transactions, while kings increased the importance of their coinage by demanding payments of fines and taxes in it.