This panel explores the just price ethnographically and analytically. Despite engaging with issues central to anthropology, such as markets, moralities, and money, there has been little direct focus on the just price. The panel seeks to unpack neoliberal discourses on prices, and the alternatives.
Despite engaging with issues that have been central to anthropology since the times of Mauss and Malinowski, the notion of the just price has been little explored either analytically or empirically. Rather, it has tended to be subsumed within wider discussions about value and moral economy. This contrasts with a long tradition of thought on the problem in philosophy, economics and theology. In this panel we seek to explore the just price ethnographically, primarily in relation to food. How do people define or contest a fair price, as producers or consumers? Are these categories of people useful in formulating a just price, and can different interests be reconciled? Is food the primary concern in discussions about fair prices, and if so, why? Can the concept be extended to other areas of exchange, such as labour, and what are the implications of this? We are interested in contributions that try to answer these questions from geographical locales both in the South and the North. While we wish to explore these issues through empirical examples, contributors may choose to refer to wider theoretical debates, such as the concepts of use value and exchange value (or other forms of value theory), ideas about quantity and quality, or anthropological theories of money and monetary exchange. By focusing on the just price, this panel aims to demystify ideologies of price-setting markets as the best route to development, and explore social/moral alternatives to them in an effort to better our common human future.