Economic Anthropology: Distribution and Exchange

Uploaded on

Describes Systems of Exchange. Reciprocity; Redistribution; Market Exchange …

Describes Systems of Exchange. Reciprocity; Redistribution; Market Exchange

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
  • tHANKS
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
  • Eric Wolf: Exchange of Commodities.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
  • guest
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
No Downloads


Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide


  • 1. Economic Anthropology: Distribution and Exchange
  • 2. Distribution: Exchange Relations
    • Once produced, good and service must be distributed
    • Three ways by which goods are distributed
    • Reciprocity: direct exchange of goods and services
    • Redistribution: Flow of goods and services to central authority, then returned in different form
    • Market exchange: buying and selling through price mechanism
  • 3. Imperatives of Exchange: Background
    • Marcel Mauss: The Gift
    • Preface: “When two groups of men meet, they may
    • move away or
    • in case of mistrust they may resort to arms
    • or else they may come to terms”
    • Coming to terms, he called “total prestations” or
    • an obligation that
    • has the force of law
    • in the absence of law
  • 4. Obligations of the Gift
    • Obligation to give
    • To extend social ties to other person or groups
    • Obligation to receive
    • To accept the relationship
    • Refusal is rejection of offered relationship
    • Induces hostilities
    • Obligation to repay
    • Failure to repay renders one a beggar
  • 5. Types of Reciprocity: Generalized
    • The obligations underlie the principles of reciprocity
    • Reciprocity: Direct exchange of goods and services
    • Generalized reciprocity: altruistic transactions in which
    • gifts are freely given without calculating value or repayment due
    • Example: meat distribution among !Kung (upper left)
    • Example: family pooling of resources, even birthday presents (lower left)
    • Usually occurs among close kin
  • 6. Types of Reciprocity: Balanced
    • Balanced reciprocity: Direct exchange
    • Value of gift is calculated
    • Time of repayment is specified
    • Selling surplus food (upper left)
    • Kula ring, Trobriand Islands
    • One trader gives partner a white armband (see map, lower left)
    • Expects a red necklace of equal value in return
    • Promissory gifts are made until return occurs
    • Usually occurs among distant kin
  • 7. Types of Reciprocity: Negative
    • Negative reciprocity: An exchange where
    • One party tries to get the better of the exchange
    • from the other party.
    • Example: hard bargaining or deception
    • Example: horse raids (upper left)
    • Example: selling prepared food to a captive market (lower left)
    • Usually occurs among unrelated persons
    • Variation: silent trade
  • 8. Case Study: Big Man Complex
    • Big men are headmen with a following
    • Following created by doing a favor (e.g. lending pigs)
    • Favor is difficult to repay
    • Individually, exchange is reciprocity
    • Collectively, has appearance of redistribution
  • 9. Big Men’s Power: Limits
    • Cannot enforce the obligations
    • Subject to competition to other big men
    • Exchange feasts every 10 years with another big man equal in status
  • 10. Redistribution
    • Process whereby goods and services
    • Flow to a central authority (king, chief, government)
    • Where they are sorted, counted, and
    • Reallocated
    • Classic example: Potlatch (left)
    • Historical example: administered trade
  • 11. Redistribution: Socialist Model
    • Central feature of command economies
    • Ethnographic example: Inca labor tax
    • Here, men turn the soil with foot plows
    • While the women break up the clods
    • Modern examples: socialist countries
    • Students from across Latin America at Cuban medical school
  • 12. Market Exchange
    • Exchange of goods among many buyers and sellers
    • Directly, by barter, or
    • Indirectly, by money and pricing
    • Example: Yoruba market in Nigeria (upper left); Haitian market woman (lower left)
    • Markets include
    • Crowds of buyers and sellers
    • Instant information on prices
    • Freedom of market entry and exit
  • 13. Market Exchange: Actors
    • Actors are:
    • Supplier, whose willingness to sell is directly proportional to price increases
    • Purchaser, whose willingness to buy (demand) is directly proportional to price decreases
    • Interaction lead to price equilibrium--no profit
  • 14. Example: Regional Guatemalan Markets
    • Case Study: San Francisco el Alto
    • Entry: seller pay small tax; buyers pay none
    • Many buyers and sellers
    • Price is constant topic of conversation
    • Profit is minimal
    • Regional specialization guarantee buyers for product
  • 15. Conclusion
    • Economy entails distribution of goods and services
    • Still, economy is embedded in society
    • Big man complex involves politics
    • Maintains power by persuasion, negotiation
    • Kula ring is also embedded in prestige
    • Interconnections will be seen in other topics: social groups and politics