This article concerns the formation of price in Kathmandu’s land market.
In Nepal, land has been for generations the bedrock of savings and household
finance, an objectification of social status and a subject of intense political debate,
up to and including the recent Maoist insurrection. In Kathmandu, however, the
meaning of land has begun to change, mostly because of the rapid fluctuations in
its monetary value. This article demonstrates how residents have used localized
understandings of price and value formation to explain these changes, understandings
that take as their reference point historical landlord-tenant relationships
and not the machinations of market equilibrium. This article interrogates the notion
that the market animates price, instead arguing that price can index a multitude
of value formations.