Savage Money: The Anthropology and Politics of Commodity Exchange
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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CHAPTER I The Value Question
CHAPTER II Beyond Gifts and Commodities
CHAPTER III Land as the Supreme Good
CHAPTER IV Production of Commodities by Means of Goods
CHAPTER V Mercantile Kinship
CHAPTER VI Usury Interest and Usance
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acres Amrawati analysis anthropological anthropologists argues bangle Bastar Bastar District borrower Brahman brothers capital capitalist caste century cloth coevality commonplace contradiction consanguinity cowrie cowrie money cultural currency deficit developed distinction economic elite ethnographic example exchange farm farmers fieldwork forest free market Gifts and Commodities glass bangle grain Guha Hirapur Hogendorn and Johnson household humanist important inalienable India Jain jewellery joint family kinship kochiya Kondagaon labour land landless Latipur lender loans logic marginal utility market anarchism market anarchist Marwari Marx’s means mercantile merchants notes notion paddy pailli Papua New Guinea perspective political price of gold problem production profit purchased question Rajasthan reciprocal recognition relations relative rice ritual savage money sell sellers shells social standard of value subaltern surplus territoriality theory of value things trade Tribals Trobriand Islanders U.S. dollar U.S. government village money lending women