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What’s in a Just Price? Challenging Values at an Organic Cooperative in Southern Spain

The Politics and Ethics of the Just Price

ISBN: 978-1-78743-574-2, eISBN: 978-1-78743-573-5

Publication date: 19 June 2019


This paper documents the case of La Verde, a producer cooperative in Andalusia, Southern Spain, whose members grow and sell organic fruit and vegetables. Fieldwork data reveal a range of assessments and practices with respect to just price. Historical experiences of working as day laborers, with little access to cash or other resources informs the members’ radical political views on money, prices, and markets. These ideas modulate exchanges at the local level, and in their political networks. However, working their own land and selling a prized product allows them to generate good market returns from private shopkeepers in cities. The paper proposes that for a price to be considered just, criteria for commensuration, or equivalence between a price and the perceived value of an object must adhere, but adjudications about this vary according to the relationship between exchangers. Rather than an objective just price, the paper considers assessments and judgments about the relation between prices and justice to be contextually defined, contested, and negotiated.




The author is grateful to the ESRC for fieldwork and research funding, and to Jeff Pratt, James Carrier, Giovanni Orlando, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on drafts of this paper. The research would not have been possible without the help of Marta Soler and David Gallar, and the generosity and openness of la gente de La Verde and the Universidad Rural, Paolo Freire.


Luetchford, P. (2019), "What’s in a Just Price? Challenging Values at an Organic Cooperative in Southern Spain", The Politics and Ethics of the Just Price (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 91-112.



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