Goodwill is the absence of an expectation to return a favour. There is no implicit contract.
Why would anyone want to give something without receiving or expecting to receive something back?
Call it the charity factor: people are human after all. People like to give. And you do get something back - a feeling of being good.
When I was studying, I came across good solid box files that one of the school departments was throwing it. I urged my officemate to collect them from the corridor. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to throw away what I considered to be perfectly useful things.
Similarly, my housemate got several bookcases from a classmate - for free. Why didn't the classmate sell them?
Second-hand stores and charities make 100% profit on all the donations. Why would people donate something they had to spend time, energy, and money to select and buy? Because it would take even more time, energy, and money to find a good buyer. It's much easier to give away. These stores also prevent the owners from feeling guilty about throwing them away. At least, it's for a good cause.
And so, there are very good reasons why goodwill exists. I will help someone because somebody else helped me. And I would hope this person goes on to help someone else.
Goodwill is the embodiment of generosity - give a little more without expecting anything in return.
10 April 2002 Wednesday