Raffia Cloth Distribution in the Lele Economy

The author examines the view that raffia might be classed as a primitive type of money. Lele us raffia principally for (status-payments’, not for purchases. As there is no market economy raffia only rarely functions as a medium of exchange. Lele raffia seems to have a high degree of saleability. An outsider can buy everything with raffia, so it seems pre-eminently saleable. But raffia, turns out to be not buyable, because it is not strictly saleable between members of the community. Lele raffia has evidently nor developed into a form of primitive money, because of what Monger calls ‘lilitations imposed socially and politically upon exchanges and consumption of that commodity’.

Title: Raffia Cloth Distribution in the Lele Economy
Author: Douglas, Mary
Year: 1958
Periodical: Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Volume: 28
Issue: 2
Period: April
Pages: 109-122
Language: English
Geographic term: Congo (Democratic Republic of)
External links: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1157129
http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:pao:&rft_dat=xri:pao:article:4011-1958-028-02-000004
Abstract: The author examines the view that raffia might be classed as a primitive type of money. Lele us raffia principally for (status-payments’, not for purchases. As there is no market economy raffia only rarely functions as a medium of exchange. Lele raffia seems to have a high degree of saleability. An outsider can buy everything with raffia, so it seems pre-eminently saleable. But raffia, turns out to be not buyable, because it is not strictly saleable between members of the community. Lele raffia has evidently nor developed into a form of primitive money, because of what Monger calls ‘lilitations imposed socially and politically upon exchanges and consumption of that commodity’.