Peddlers and Princes: Social Change and Economic Modernization in Two Indonesian Towns. 
University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 1963.


(by Clifford Geertz)


(Review by John Cross)


This book is, IMHO, the best example of the early 60's enthnocentric western "modernization" school (Rostow's "starve the poor/feed the rich" school of economic development) as applied to street vending and the informal economy. In this book, which is still widely read in anthropology, Geertz basically argues that street and market vendors (he calls it the bazaar economy, and it includes producer/sellers) are a drag on modernization and, despite being exotic and quaint should be discouraged in favour of more "western-style" entrepreneurs (the "princes"). I completely disagree with his argument in this book, but it is historically still important as a prime example of a now discredited economic and social philosophy that is staging a comeback under the rubric of "neo-liberalism".




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