One book which seems to have gone largely unread in recent economic anthropology is Godelier's (1986) The Making of Great Men: Male Domination and Power among the New Guinea Baruya. (New York: Cambridge University Press). It is one of few monographs to put the problem of gender right at the very origin of economics (in a way I find vastly more legible than Strathern in "The Gender of the Gift"). It is an intrinsically interesting ethnography. which gives a far different view of Melanesian exchange than you get from classics like "The Rope of Moka" or all that writing on Kula and other seagoing networks. Most importantly, Godelier shows us that limiting wealth and exchange is one of the central problematics in village-level economies; something we seem to forget since we live in a society which assumes exchange, wealth and growth are always good things. Finding ways to generate surplus without also building inequality seems to be a central issue of moral politics in so many places..
We must not forget the works of Eric Wolf and Claude Meillassoux.
I have just started to read "Market and Society" edited by Chrish Hann and Kieth Hart! Can anyone make me clear about the basic concepts of "Market exchange" and " Commodity exchange"? "Labour Market" and "Labour exchange" are the same or difirent? Thanks!
Ranjan Lekhy said:I have just started to read "Market and Society" edited by Chrish Hann and Kieth Hart! Can anyone make me clear about the basic concepts of "Market exchange" and " Commodity exchange"? "Labour Market" and "Labour exchange" are the same or difirent? Thanks!
I don't think all those can be found in the book, but here goes. Markets are networks of buyers and sellers. Commodities are goods and services produced for sale, but in ordinary business they are often restricted to raw materials like tin or cocoa. Market exchange is often used by anthropologists in contrast to gift exchange, but economists would generally write about market, markets or the market. Commodity exchange is the preferred usage of Marxists and again is sometimes opposed by anthropologists to gift exchange, as in Chris Gregory's Gifts and Commodities. A labour market is aggregate supply and demand for wage labour in a particular place. A labour exchange is somewhere for finding a job. The problem with all these terms is that they reflect different traditions of economic analysis. But I would hope that the definition of market is made clear enough in our introduction to Market and Society, if you read that far. You could just as well ask of other keywords, when is a state a government or capitalism business? Again the answer would be that different intellectual and political traditions have their own preferred vocabulary. You just have to learn them and pick your own preference.