A Guide to Subsistence Affluence
The expression subsistence affluence is a catchphrase for certain perceptions of reality in Papua New Guinea, and after 50 years it still actively conditions opinions of the country (even though its population has trebled in the meantime). The paper examines antecedents of the concept in the economic and anthropological literatures, in which Polanyi's dichotomy between substantivist and formalist analyses bulks large. E.K. Fisk, the originator of 'affluence', is placed in a lineage of economists including Lewis, Myint and Bauer (all owing much to Adam Smith), although his own adherence to neoclassical assumptions and method is emphasized. The paper describes W.R. Stent's attempt to build on Fisk, achieving an 'adaptive use' of neoclassical method to take account of 'hybrid' (ie, non-maximizing) behaviours, and set in a context of competing theories ranging from Boeke's 'dual economy' to those of the Chicago School. Among anthropologists, the paper considers the 'original affluence' of Marshall Sahlins and (among the critics) Chris Gregory on Gifts and Commodities. The account of New Guinea Stone Age Trade by Ian Hughes is seen as offering a counterpoint to Gregory, while Richard Salisbury's formalist and eclectic take on the subject is also considered. A proposition, that the existence of subsistence affluence in 1960s PNG was due to its being somehow a 'special case', is examined through the politely sceptical eye trained on the country by the Faber Mission in 1972. For an independent perspective, the paper turns to Keith Hart (a member of the Faber team) for his account of the transition from subsistence in West Africa (a region to which Fisk was prepared to extend his concept of affluence). The paper concludes by considering what, if any, utility may still reside in the several conceptions of 'affluence' proposed as having existed in PNG.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2012|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, Building #132, Canberra ACT 2601|
Phone: +61 2 6125 4705
Fax: +61 2 6125 5448
Web page: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/research/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:een:crwfrp:1206. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Stern)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.