A Right to Survive: Subsistence Marketing in Lowland Philippine Town


Author’s insights into the social and economic operations of the marketing process — extrapolated to underdeveloped countries throught the world — suggest action programs for coping effectively with the impediments to progress which lie in present production and marketing patterns. These results thus contain important implications for programs of economic development and for improvement of nutrition and health.

This volume specifically consists of a comprehensive analysis of the movement of food and supplies from their sources, through middlemen, to consumers in the public marketplace of Estancia, Iloilo, a town of 15,000 people located on the northeastern corner of Panay Island in the Philippines.

Food, which takes 80-90% of family budgets, is the primary commodity, and is sold by full-time vendors who acquire their goods on credit from others who have, in turn, made their purchases from fishermen at the shore or from small-scale farmers. All transactions are for small amounts, the individual housewife buys just enough for the next meal, the vendor buys enough to take care of regular customers, and the middlemen buy fish and vegetables a few boxes at a time. The author reports detailed records of transactions, capital, turnover, and credit.

Social controls operate among the vendors so that each shares his or her merchandise with competitors, with the result that although nobody is destitute, no one escapes the subsistence condition of having just enough to keep going from one day to the next.


M. C. B. Szanton

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