Nowak and Laird’s Applying Anthropology 6.2 box, in Cultural Anthropology, proposes the following question::
The familiar saying “never do business with family” advises against the practices used in many of the chiefdom societies discussed in this chapter. This old saying implies that doing business with family will create conflict, whereas chiefdom societies welcome and encourage such close-knit economic exchanges as a way of preventing conflict. In fact, in an interesting article on family businesses, Bertrand and Schoar comment on how cultures based on strong family ties can have a negative impact on economic development. The reasoning is that the more we are taught to count on our kinship and family ties, the less likely we are to trust those outside our family networks, which greatly prohibits the development of larger economic institutions…
Consider both examples and create an argument for or against mixing business with family. When responding to this question, be sure to engage in cross-cultural comparison, taking into consideration variation in subsistence systems, descent systems, mobility, and any other factors you consider pertinent. Draw examples from the ethnographic record, your own experience, and the experience of others with whom you are familiar.
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