Sunday, December 15, 2013

Money Wisdom #235

"Another focus of rivalry was oil feasts, in which hosts would pour oulachen oil [a flammable and precious fish oil] into the central fire of their houses until their guests clothes were scorched, daring them to flinch; a rival guest might - especially if he felt he had thrown a greater feast - rise up and try to 'put out the fire' by throwing in blankets, coppers, and canoes, forcing the host to answer him in kind, which could, on occassion, turn into what seemed to outside observers like paroxysms of destruction, in which rival chiefs vied to express their contempt for wealth and their absolute dedication to the magnificent gesture."

David Graeber Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value - The False Coin of Our Own Dreams (2001) p.208 

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