Merchants and peasants in the Nazareth region, 1922-47

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In Nazareth, the wholesale merchants of agricultural commodities made every effort to acquire crops during harvest time, when commodity prices were at their lowest, and to sell them a few months later when demand (and prices) had increased. To facilitate this, merchants established close economic ties with peasant proprietors, in particular by providing them with a 'safety net' in lean years in the form of loans at comparatively attractive rates. An unwritten part of this arrangement was that a peasant in such a relationship with a merchant would market most of the surplus of his cash crops at harvest time. A contract in the credit market was thus simultaneously a contract in the goods market, ensuring that merchants would receive payment in crops, while peasants were paid in advance for their produce. It was also the custom that in cases of default, the merchant became the owner of the mortgaged land and the former landowner became the tenant. In such circumstances, the new tenancy agreement was usually interlinked with other agreements, especially in regard to animal husbandry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-68
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


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