Social Currencies in the Human Economy Social currencies = “primitive money” (brass rods, raffia cloth, cowry shells, copper rings) Graeber, p. 130: Used to create, destroy, and rearrange human beings (restitution for murder, marriage, establish paternity for children) Social money functions as a debt but not equivalent to people, p. 158 Human lives and money, p. 140 The transformation to slavery: Through violence.
Different markets for different goods (“spheres of exchange”): the Tiv of Central Nigeria 3 spheres of exchange: Ordinary consumption goods, foodstuffs etc (controlled by women) Masculine prestige (hiring curers, political affairs, magic, gaining initiation into men’s societies) (brass rods and tugudu cloth) Marriage (ward system) Some slippage between these spheres, see Graeber p. 132
Spheres of Exchange Some transactions concerned with long-term social or cosmic order and some with short-term transactions where individual competition is allowed – E.g. of a long-term transaction: Madumo’s sacrifices to the ancestors – What can money not buy in our society?
Meanings of money are not self-evident but are a product of the cultural matrix What does money mean to us?
Money functions in particular ways in our society, but it is important not to generalize too much about the role of money in other contexts. Money predates capitalism (which I will discuss on Monday); capitalism does not create money. Money may be used to facilitate market exchange; but does not create markets in everything (people may use money to buy food, but not sell land) Conclusions about Money
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