One of the strategies by which urban Martinicans accumulate capital and save money is by participation in the rotating credit association known as the ‘sousou’.1 From the upper class to the lower, all kinds of urban Martinicans take an active part in this association. The sousou is a rotating savings and credit association that, unlike the regular, state-licensed bank, does not add interest charges to the borrowed capital. The money is not invested by the local organiser, but rather is given to each participant when it is his or her turn to benefit. In other words there is never enough money for the association to invest profitably; instead each individual is responsible for investing or otherwise using the money as he feels best. Another characteristic element of the sousou is that money is given to each participant following a specific order of rotation. To understand the system as such, we must focus on its internal organisation, including its mode of recruiting members, its functioning, the mechanisms by which it solves emerging problems, authority patterns, the meaning of exchanges, and the social ecology and trajectory of the sousou from one cycle to another. Those issues will be discussed in the present chapter, and they will shed light on another aspect of the reproduction of poverty in urban Martinique.
KeywordsInformal Economy Distribution Figure Urban Poverty Formal Economy Formal Bank
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