The villagers are bound to the village by strong social ties, and there is no economic advantage in breaking these. But as village population grows the numbers dependent on cash from outside also grows. I divided the households of Sakaltutan up into four groups:
49 depended entirely on their land, or used other sources only to a minor degree in emergencies;
16 derived the main part of their income from work outside the village;
22 normally used both these sources;
and 13 derived their income largely or wholly from work inside the village.
The boundaries between these divisions are not clearly cut, and the classification depends solely on my own estimate. It is obvious from these figures that the village relied heavily on outside income for survival.
Economically the present system of migrant labour has great advantages. It does not diminish agricultural production, because most households with even a modest holding of land see to it that it is well used, at least by village standards. On the other hand the fact that many of the village men are both farmers and migrant labourers gives the village economy a flexibility which acts as a two-way insurance. When the harvest is poor, more men migrate for work outside. When the work is in short supply, workers survive by returning to village homes stocked up with food in the traditional fashion. Even when a bad harvest and a mild national recession coincided in the summer of 1949 the flexibility still had advantages. Some of the regular migrants with a fair amount of land returned to live off their land, but at the same time some of the poorer farmers succeeded in bridging a serious gap by finding unskilled jobs away.
However, although skilled rates of pay produce good incomes by village standards, and although the village is now economically dependent on outside income, skilled migrant labour is neither liked by those who do it, nor admired by those who do