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From Land to Mouth
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From Land to Mouth: The Agricultural "Economy" of the Wola of the New Guinea Highlands

Paul Sillitoe


Among the Wola people of Papua New Guinea, using the term “economy” is problematic. Distribution is unnecessary; the producers of everyday needs are the consumers: produce goes largely “from land to mouth”—with no implication that resources are scarce. Yet transactions featuring valuable things—which are scarce—are a prominent aspect of life, where sociopolitical exchange figures prominently. The relationship—or rather the disconnection—between these two domains is central to understanding the fiercely egalitarian political-economy. In this investigation of a Highland New Guinea agricultural “ ... More

Keywords: Wola, Papua New Guinea, egalitarian political-economy, political order, noncapitalist context, gift, data sets

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780300142266
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300142266.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Paul Sillitoe, author