The Tale of Albarado and the Anthropology of Financial Speculation
This chapter describes events of excitement and loss in order to gain a better understanding of how people from all walks of life came to invest in financial schemes in Albania, which became intertwined with everyday transactions, dreams, and aspirations. It focuses on the Albanian firms that represent an economic reality that is endemic to capitalist economies, such as speculative bubbles and crashes. These firms were all the rage in the early 1990s Albania, attracting 1.5 million investors, in a country of 3 million. Through the study of the Albanian pyramid firms, the chapter takes an ethnographic view of speculative finance. It traces how the Ponzi logics of accumulation, prevalent in the early 1990s Albania, were intricately connected to the significant political and economic transformations of the end of the twentieth century.
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