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"Saving and Salvation: How Farmers Do Not Hold on to Money in Northeastern Brazil" 
Thursday, December 1, 2016

The poorest 10% of Brazil's population doubled their incomes between 2001 and 2011. During this time of raging economic growth, a group of small farmers declared that they themselves would not save any money at all. Saving money, they argued, was a vice.While the farmers were refusing to save, Brazil's government was busy borrowing money to construct Bosla Família, the world's largest national cash welfare program. These seemingly-unrelated events intersected. Together, they changed the way that rural Brazilians handle money, a change that became real with every bill that passed into and out of a farmer's hands.What does it mean to turn away from saving? This paper considers the saving question as a point of encounter between anthropological exchange theory (Weiner 1992, Levi-Strauss 1949) and classical political economy (Marx 1844)-- and as a sign of the urgent dilemmas of growth today (Li 2014, Tsing 2005, Gens Collective 2015). Not saving money is an everyday habit that turns into a risky, noisy form of critique. It can register one's disagreement with the channels through which money flows, and it can mark out the path that a new channel might follow.

Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
Sponsor: Anthropology Program; Dean of the College
Contact: Yuka Suzuki.
Phone: 845-758-7219

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