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Middlemen and Moneylending: Relations of Exchange in a Highland Philippine Economy

Susan D. Russell
Journal of Anthropological Research
Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer, 1987), pp. 139-161
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3630222
Page Count: 23
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Middlemen and Moneylending: Relations of Exchange in a Highland Philippine Economy
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Abstract

Conventional views of bilateral trade agreements are based on rational decision-making models that stress how personalized modes of exchange are mutually beneficial responses to problems of risk and uncertainty. Most analyses are of public markets where exchange partners freely choose to maintain long-term relationships. It is argued here that much of this literature is unsatisfactory in rural contexts when land and credit transactions are interlinked with marketing functions. This paper examines the extensive bilateral trade agreements between wholesalers, middlemen, and producers in the highland vegetable trade in northern Luzon. In Madaymen, Benguet, unequal access to the means of exchange maintains the pervasiveness of these agreements, and social relations contribute to the dependency of producers on local middlemen. Personalized trade relations in Benguet enhance the external control of production and distribution networks, in contrast to the more competitive way they operate in public marketplaces.

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