Doing "Business" in Papua New Guinea: The Social Embeddedness of Small Business Enterprises.
Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2005, Spring, 18, 2
Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
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Introduction In the late 1980s when I first began working in rural villages in Papua New Guinea (PNG) I was struck by the very small quantities of store goods purchased by rural villagers. Laundry detergents, for example, were commonly bought in small sachets rather than in 750 g or 1 kg cartons. I assumed that the purchase of small quantities of store goods reflected the poverty of rural villagers. I also believed these buyers were paying a higher price than necessary for their consumption of these goods (more frequent trips to stores and no discount benefit from bulk buying). I was wrong on both counts because I did not reckon on the influence of the indigenous exchange economy on purchasing decisions. A villager returning home with a 1 kg carton of laundry detergent is likely to use only a very small proportion of the detergent himself before his (1) supply is exhausted, because he would feel obligated to acquiesce to the demands of relatives for the remaining detergent after washing his own clothes. However, if he were to buy a small sachet of detergent each time he needed to do his laundry, he would use a much higher proportion of that detergent. This same principle applies to cigarettes, newspapers for rolling cigarettes, sugar, tea, kerosene and many other store-bought goods. As any smoker visiting rural communities in PNG knows, factory-made cigarettes are an expensive habit when one consumes only two or three cigarettes from a packet of 20!
- 2,99 €
- Category: Business & Personal Finance
- Published: 22 March 2005
- Publisher: Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- Print Length: 33 Pages
- Language: English