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Forgotten moralities of agrarian economy in Bali

Production and exchange, business and friendship

Graeme MacRae

Keywords: agrarian economy; Bali; development; Indonesia; moral economy; rice

The provisioning of human societies is widely understood in terms of technological, ecological, and economic processes. It is also, somewhat less widely, recognized as a social and cultural process, but rarely as a moral one. As the concept of “moral economy,” which drew attention to the moral embedment of agrarian economies, has faded from view in the analysis of radically changing agrarian landscapes, the moral dimensions of agrarian economies have progressively become obscured. This article summarizes recent transformations of the moral economy of rice in Bali and discusses a project of economic development in which the project’s moral dimensions were revealed only in its failure.

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