Anthropologists and economists approach the subject of monies, or currencies, differently. It is difficult to improve on the comments of the anthropologist George Dalton, on the study of Rossel Island money by the economist, W. E. Armstrong , in his essay, "Primitive Money" ( Dalton 1965, 275-276):
All social scientists are either Sherlock or Mycroft Holmes. Anthropologists are Sherlock: they go to the scene, observe minutely, gather their threads of evidence from what they observe, and -- like Sherlock -- sometimes reach Paddington before reaching conclusions. Economic theorists are Mycroft: they do not go to the scene to observe minutely. They have no equivalent to field work because economists are not concerned with social organization or human behavior, but rather with the behavior of prices, income determinants, capital-output ratios, and other impersonal matters relating to the performance of nationally integrated, industrialized, market economies (for which fieldwork is unnecessary). Institutionalized matters, personal roles, and the social implications of economic organization have long since been consigned to the limbo of sociology. Neither the problems of interest nor the methods of analysis are the same in economics and economic anthropology.
Allen R. Maxwell
Acknowledgment: My research in Brunei, 1968-1971, was supported by the National Institutes of Health Research Grant 1-TOL-MH-11,231-01 and Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Pre-Doctoral Fellowship No. 2173, and was sponsored in Brunei by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Brunei. My research in Sarawak, 1985 and 1986, was supported by Fulbright Southeast Asia Regional Research Grants, and in 1988 by the Department of Anthropology, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School, the Capstone International Program Center, the Office of Academic Affairs, of The University of Alabama, and the Alabama State Museum of Natural History, and was sponsored in Sarawak by the Sarawak Museum. I would like to thank Michael D. Murphy for his comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.