Copyright 1965, 1994 Paul Stirling. All rights reserved.
THE VILLAGE ECONOMY
not Within the village it is ownership of land which counts, and agricultural income which matters. Money, they say, is soon spent, and who knows if work will always be available? But land is an assurance of food, come what may. The trappings of sophistication - suits, watches and fountain pens - have some appeal, but a scruffy old man who has land and works it well carries much more weight in the village than an elegant young usta. Young men enjoy the liberties of the city and the feel of cash in their pockets, but the older men almost unanimously declare that they would far rather stay at home with their families and farm their land if only they had enough of it to be worth farming. Even if some say this only because they feel they are expected to, this response to expectation is in itself significant. For all its glitter even mIgrant labour is only an expedient to meet the shortage of land, and not desirable in itself, nor seen as a permanent part of a new way of life.
Most villagers conceive of the economic order as fixed, and have no thought of permanent changes. Nevertheless in most, if not all villages, a small number of men are endowed with the necessary resources for, and capable of, trying out new ideas.
The most obvious type of experiment is a shop. The permanent shops in Elbashï were fairly new enterprises and, as I have said (p. 62) intermittent shops were common. Probably at least some of these were intended to be permanent, but the entrepreneur lacked the necessary skill and experience. Elbshï contained one café, also a new enterprise, where a few men played cards, back gammon and dominoes and drank tea and coffee.
On a much larger scale was investment in lorries. I was told that, when the road from Tomarza through Sakaltutan to Kayseri was opened in 1947, the first men of Tomarza to put lorries into service had made fabulous profits. The idea caught on rapidly; the number of lorries increased and the fares and freight charges fell. By 1951 some operators were already arguing that, in the long run, charges were too low to cover depreciation. The roads were appalling, and the level of preventive maintenance as low as the level of mechanical ingenuity in keeping vehicles on the road was high.