Quid pro quo is an expression that comes from Latin. This expression is used to express that something is reciprocal, that is, that there is reciprocity. In Spanish, the literal translation is “one thing for another.”
Quid pro quo, although it is a Latin expression and originated in Ancient Rome, it is still a widely used expression today.
When we say “quid pro quo,” we are referring to something being reciprocal, that is, it requires reciprocity.
When we use this expression, we mean that we do not do a thing for nothing, but we do it to obtain something that interests us. In a way, it alludes to what is commonly called the exchange of favors.
In essence, we can say that it means “I give you, you give me.” And we are talking about a norm of coexistence that, since ancient times, is present in our society, in every negotiation or transaction.
Quid pro quo in law
Roman law is the source from which law draws in the present.
For this reason, many expressions in Latin are used today by jurists in their day-to-day life. Among them, quid pro quo is an expression that is still very much in force.
In many commercial transactions, we establish reciprocity through this expression, meaning that the contract is reciprocal.
In civil law, in social law, in commercial law or in family matters, we can also see the use of this expression, wanting to indicate that we do or give something in exchange for them doing or giving us something.
Now, we are talking about an expression that has been highly questioned and rightly so. In other words, we are talking about an expression used, but which should be replaced by the correct one, which would be “do ut des”.
“Quid pro quo” is not “do ut des”
In the Anglo-Saxon world, many citizens used this expression to refer to reciprocity, or that something was reciprocal, in implicit and explicit deals, in an exchange or transaction or in a simple exchange of favors. However, the correct expression is not that, but “do ut des”.
In this case, we are referring to a correct expression that means “I give so that you can give” or “take and give me.” In both cases, both expressions express reciprocity, but unlike the one in question in this article, the expression do ut des is correctly written.
The quid pro quo and society
In both cases, when we say “quid pro quo” or “do ut des,” we are meaning something as essential as that we do something to obtain something. That is, when we do something, we expect the other person to give us something.
We could say that a large majority of relationships are established under this principle. What’s more, a large part of our relationships are governed precisely by this. I give you something, but you must also give me something that interests me.
If I work, you will give me a salary. If you take me, I’ll pay you. If I get good grades, you buy me a toy.
Many relationships are based on this principle since we are little. Well, being able to question society as a materialist or not, the quid pro quo and the do ut des point to the incentive that, as we always say in economics, makes society move and, with it, move the world.