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From Land to MouthThe Agricultural "Economy" of the Wola of the New Guinea Highlands$
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Paul Sillitoe

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780300142266

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300142266.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Economics and the Self-Interested Individual

Economics and the Self-Interested Individual

(p.26) Chapter 2 Economics and the Self-Interested Individual
From Land to Mouth

Paul Sillitoe

Yale University Press

This chapter is concerned with the idea that the self-interested individual is a driving force behind human sociality. It first provides a further definition of economics, where it notes that while capitalist economic concerns may have little or no relevance to the Wola “economy,” there are still some formal economic concepts that can be used to study non-money-using survival orders. One such concept is that of the individual interest, which is argued to inform specific features of Wola behavior. The Melanesian individual is popular in social interaction, while the corporate person directs one to the “corporatism takes precedence over individualism” argument. At this point, one can note that the chapter has deviated from economic issues and enters more sociological matters, such as differentiating the moral person from the individual actor. This is considered a relevant move in order to understand the political economy. Choice is the final key assumption in the definition of economics.

Keywords:   self-interested individual, economics, capitalist economic concerns, Wola economy, individual interest, Melanesian individual, corporate person, choice

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