Hot money, cold beer: Navigating the vanilla and rosewood export economies in northeastern Madagascar

Annah Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since 2000 northeastern Madagascar's subsistence-based communities have registered record profits thanks to a boom in vanilla and rosewood exports. Yet, rather than saving or investing these returns, much of the local earnings were spent in “hot money” sprees on cold beer, gambling, and other forms of immediate consumption. Far from being illogical or unproductive, hot-money spending and other practices associated with export economies help local communities navigate the volatility of global markets and domesticate foreign demands. Although these tactics come from the margins of global capitalism, they represent an acute cultural expression of some of the most sophisticated dynamics found at its core. [export economies, money, tactics, globalization, consumption, vanilla, rosewood, Madagascar].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-267
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018
Externally publishedYes

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