Rav Wolbe in Alei Shur vol 2, in the first va'ad on Hakaras Hatov (page רעט) says that Hakaras Hatov is a foundation of love.
חכמת המידות שהכרת הטוב מביאה לידי אהבה. (Hakoras Hatov brings to love.)
Rav Wolbe goes on to suggest that in its absence there will not be any enduring love.
In Rav Dessler's מכתב מאליהו in קונטרס החסד, he states that the basis of אהבה is giving. On p 127 of the English edition (Strive for Truth) he says,
“love flows in the direction of giving”.
So Rav Wolbe insists that Hakoras Hatov brings about love whereas Rav Dessler says that giving brings about love.
Is it possible (or necessary) to reconcile these two opinions?
1] We could say simply that Hakoras Hatov is a form of giving. This does not account for the statement that “in its absence there will not be any enduring love”.
2] There are different ways of bringing about love and there are different sorts of love.