Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution
James Ferguson is Susan S. and William H. Hindle Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. He is the author of Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order and the coeditor of Culture, Power, Place: Explorations in Critical Anthropology, both also published by Duke University Press.
A Rightful Share: Distribution beyond Gift and Market
This chapter explores the question of how the distributive demands that are especially visible in discussions around mineral wealth (and that typically focus on demands for the nationalization of industries) are being brought to bear on the new social payments that the previous chapters have explored. Using the Namibian Basic Income Grant Campaign as an example, it documents the emergence of new understandings of what social payments are and could be. While thinking on questions of distribution has long been trapped within the conceptual opposition of gift (social assistance seen as a kind of generosity) and market (wages understood as a market exchange for labor), this chapter traces the emergence of other ways of understanding the meaning of social transfers, including the idea of cash payments as “rightful shares” that are due to owners, where citizens are understood as the owners of the country (including its mineral wealth).