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Topic: Even "Primitives" Pursue Profit
Message: Posted by: panlives (Jul 30, 2012 07:24AM)
"Western socialists like Polanyi are often eager to use a romantic interpretation of traditional cultures to attack markets or profits as unnecessary or unnatural. The rhetorical strategy is to cast the "primitives" in the role of generous, uncalculating tropical pixies, and then compare us very real, selfish, scheming apes unfavorably to them.

Caught in this rhetorical battle, Rothbard can hardly be blamed for hastily dismissing the Kula as "obvious pointlessness." Indeed, if Polanyi's nonsensical account of a profitless Kula were accurate, Rothbard's characterization would be perfectly correct.

But the truth is this: every human in every culture chooses the best means he can imagine to achieve the ends he desires. Each participant in the Kula carried it on because he expected to make some kind of profit. And the net result of the Kula, like that of all systems of truly voluntary exchange, was mutual gain and international peace through private profit."

Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Jul 30, 2012 09:32PM)
Say whut?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 30, 2012 09:34PM)
Anthropologists in denial? Or economists? See Graeber's book Debt The First Five Thousand Years.