Mills 169 (A26)
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Available at http://anthro.rschram.org/1002/4.2
We the people of Salamaua would like to put down the prices of our things in this newspaper so that all of you will see them. We would like this message to all of you people in villages in the area of Markham River and Finschhafen.
Now you all see the prices for all these things and then you all will get it right. So, prices for them are like this: If you see a pot for 4/-, then you pay with (givim long) two big pandanus of 4/-. If a pot for 2/-, then you pay with (givim long) a pandanus of 2/-. The reason is you all always just bring pandanus and get pots. So, you all don’t know the price (pei) of these things. And so, we put them for the pots so that you all can see them.
If a pot is 5/-, or L1, then you must pay (pei) directly with money. It is not good that you should give pandanus for 5/- and L1 and get a pot. You know that the work of a pot is not like the work of pandanus - Pots are harder work than pandanus, so you must pay directly for big pots with real money.
The work of pots is like this:- The very first thing, they must dig the ground and they get really deep. After that, they bring it to the village and the work of women now begins. The women bake the earth in a really big fire - They bake this earth so that it becomes really strong. This work isn’t easy. It’s really hard work. Many days pass, and then the pot is now finished and a man can cook food in it.
We say this because you all have put down many things of yours - So we see this and so we Salamaua people, we support you all. Our message is finished. We all the people of Salamaua.
“People of Salamaua.” 1948. “Pei bilong sosopen.” Lae Garamut (28 August) 2(23): 4.
The real value of a commodity comes from the labor that goes into it.
Commodities are “congealed labor” (Marx 1859, Part I).
“A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.”
“[A table is just wood made useful by work.] But, so soon as it steps forth as a commodity, it is changed into something transcendent.” (Marx 1867, vol 1, sect. 4)
Approximate location of Maimafu village, Lufa district, Eastern Highlands Province, PNG
When a society organized on the basis of gifts encounters a globalizing capitalist market, many different outcomes are possible.
We started with understanding these as separate responses to the confrontation of two different types of system. Next week we will start to think about how these kinds of responses occur in every society.
Kruger, Barbara. 1987. Untitled (“I Shop Therefore I Am”). Photographic silkscreen on vinyl. http://www.art21.org/files/imagecache/full_image/images/kruger-photo-002.jpg.
Marx, Karl. 1859. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Moscow: Progress Publishers. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/.
Marx, Karl. 1867. Capital, Vol. 1. Moscow: Progress Publishers. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/.