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Moral economies and markets: ‘Insider’ cassava trading in Kon Tum, Vietnam

By Phuc Xuan To, Sango Mahanty, Wolfram Dressler
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Vietnam’s uplands have been increasingly integrated into commodity production for global markets. This paper focuses on the role of the cassava trader in connecting upland villagers as cassava producers to an emerging global cassava market. In Vietnam’s Central Highlands, ethnic minority villagers engaging in a mixed economy of subsistence and cash crop production still practice communal resource use and reciprocal labour arrangements – customs associated with the (contested) notion of ‘moral economy’. In this context, traders have strategically traversed the insider–outsider divide, enlisting trust and reciprocity to extend the patron–client relationship between traders and villagers.