Mills 169 (A26)
Monday, August 22, 2016
Available at: http://anthro.rschram.org/1002/5.1
One of the ways societies respond to market forces is by placing limits on individual choices
Market-driven societies also place some kind of moral limit on profit as well
Certain kinds of value remain embedded in social relationships while other kinds are able to be commodified, bought and sold. Is M-C-M' itself immoral?
We can apply the same kind of thinking to the relationship of wage labor, which is based on exploitation. Workers often find ways to collectively resist the extraction of surplus value
Many of these and similar tactics were also used by workers in socialist firms so that they could subvert the control of managers.
Of course, from another perspective, resisting control of labor or limiting market forces are bad for moral reasons:
An either-or distinction is a dichotomy.
An opposition between individual self-interest and the collective force of a social norm, like reciprocity, is one example of dichotomous classification.
Many societies see their own involvement in markets in terms of this dichotomy. Their ideology focuses on the dilemma - a choice between opposed ends - posed by trading: Do I earn for myself or give help to my neighbors and kin?
During Papua New Guinea's colonial period, indigenous people were not allowed to buy alcohol. Homemade intoxicants, like gamada (kava), were also banned
Liquor sales today require a license, which most people can't afford to get. Reselling liquor is still a pretty good way to make money.
The government of Port Moresby recently banned chewing and selling betel nut in public. This cut off a steady source of income for many poor people.
For a long time during the colonial period, indigenous people were not allowed to stay overnight in towns, unless they were formally employed by a white person, and then only in their banis (compound).
People set up little settlements on the outskirts of towns, built their own houses where they could live and seek opportunities, including paid work.
These settlements also became gateways to the city for other rural residents from the same places, or wantoks.
This is not a clash of market principles and communal morality, but two different moral systems.
Kahn, Miriam. 1986. Always Hungry, Never Greedy: Food and the Expression of Gender in a Melanesian Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Prentice, Rebecca. 2015. “'Is We Own Factory:' Thiefing a Chance on the Shop Floor.” In Thiefing a Chance: Factory Work, Illicit Labor, and Neoliberal Subjectivities in Trinidad, 87–110. Boulder, Colo.: University Press of Colorado.
Shehata, Samer S. 2009. Shop Floor Culture and Politics in Egypt. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press.
Shipton, Parker. 1989. Bitter Money: Cultural Economy and Some African Meanings of Forbidden Commodities. Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association.