Expressions of Interest: informal usury in urban PNG

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This article examines the nature and practice of small scale usury in a "grassroots" urban community in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. In this environment the moneylenders are people of limited financial resources, barely richer than their clients.The latter are often self-employed in informal occupations. Using examples from cases where usurers have taken defaulting debtors to urban "village courts," I show how debt is negotiated by usurers and clients, and I indicate differences between local attitudes toward usury and those that are generally held in Western societies. I discuss prevalent views in social science literature about the influence of kinship sensibilities on socioeconomic behavior in urban Papua New Guinea and attempt to situate moneylending for profit in Port Moresby in the complex local integration of the so-called gift economy and the cash economy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-67
Number of pages26
JournalPacific studies
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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