Savage Money: The Anthropology and Politics of Commodity Exchange

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 1997 - Social Science - 333 pages
The era of savage money began on 15 August 1971 when the US Government, financially weakened by the Vietnam War, was forced to renounce its control over the gold market. This freed the price of gold from government control for the first time since 1934 and created a new commodity in the form of state money tokens.
The triumph of Market over State occurred in many other domains as well and since then the values of free market anarchism have reigned supreme. These values have been eagerly embraced by people the world over and a new global economic democracy is emerging where cultural identity is often asserted in violent ways.
This new era poses questions for the theory of value, which this book addresses from an anthropological perspective. Fieldwork-based essays on the household values associated with agricultural land, rural marketing and village money lending in Central India are located comparatively and historically by means of an analysis of money in the form of cowries, silver, gold and state tokens.
The author modifies and extends his previous work, Gifts and Commodities, by moving the ethnographic focus from Papua New Guinea to India and by considering the theoretical implications of the Subaltern Studies paradigm for anthropological theory.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER I The Value Question
1
CHAPTER II Beyond Gifts and Commodities
43
CHAPTER III Land as the Supreme Good
75
CHAPTER IV Production of Commodities by Means of Goods
123
CHAPTER V Mercantile Kinship
167
CHAPTER VI Usury Interest and Usance
216
CHAPTER VII Domesticated Money
238
CHAPTER VIII Savage Money
271
CHAPTER IX Toward a Radical Humanist Anthropology
304
Bibliography
320
Index
335
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About the author (1997)

Chris Gregory is a Reader in Anthropology at the Australian National University where he has been teaching since 1984.

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