_ Sea of Islands

Pacific ideas shared, in memory of Epeli Hau'ofa


I sold on credit...!: A genealogy of trust in moral economies of PNG and beyond

Here's a collection of a widely reproduced trope: Sold on credit / sold in cash

Two businessmen are pictured in a diptych, one skinny and sad, one fat and happy. The skinny man laments that he sold on 'credit' and the fat man exults that he is rich because he dealt in cash.

Dinau is the PNG Pidgin term for 'credit', permission to pay later for goods, as opposed to cash and carry. Dinau is a widespread practice of informal buying and selling in PNG and around the world, and as this trope suggests, it is widely suspect and evokes a certain morality.

Where did this image come from? What episteme does it belong to and how does it function as a trope today? Are there other voices that speak against this from the perspective of the moral economy?