Alguito para ganar (a little something to earn): Profits and losses in peasant economies

Enrique Mayer, Manuel Glave

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

34 Citas (Scopus)


We explore various ways in which small-scale peasants in the highlands of Peru conceptualize the everyday concept of profit in the contemporary context of neoliberalism. Through a process of approximations, we use the results of a survey of potato fields in two comparable valleys in Peru to clarify the differences between a strict business accounting procedure to establish profits or losses and the procedure that peasants use to evaluate the profitability of cash crops. We suggest that peasants evaluate profits or losses of cash crops in terms of a simple cash-out and cash-in flow. We indicate that this kind of calculus carries an implicit subsidy that permits market participation but provides little or no long-run benefit under prevailing productivity conditions and price levels. We also look at how farmers evaluate the status of their subsistence crops by showing that they ignore important cash expenses that are necessary to produce them. Finally, we describe accounting procedures characteristic of Andean peasants to understand how they monitor resource flows in their household-based farms. Analysis of the data leads us to question the "subsistence first" model of peasant economies and to posit an interdependent relationship between subsistence and commercial sectors in which money plays an important but perverse role as it cycles through the market and the household.
Idioma originalEspañol
Páginas (desde-hasta)344-369
Número de páginas26
PublicaciónAmerican Ethnologist
EstadoPublicada - 1 ene. 1999

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