DOI: 10.1525/cpcs.2024.2017417 ISSN: 0967-067X

Debt-Based Trade, Social Norms, and Informality in Uzbekistan

Elmurod Sobirov, Rustamjon Urinboyev
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Development

Debt-based trade and economic exchanges are becoming more and more widespread in the context of post-Soviet Central Asian societies. In the absence of viable state economic support, a functional banking system, and an effective legal system, trust-based economic exchanges serve as an alternative means for conducting micro-level businesses in Central Asia. The phenomenon of “rassiychilar,” which is the central focus of this article, is one of the intriguing examples of debt-based trade in rural Fergana, Uzbekistan. This debt-based trade involves a myriad of informal economic exchanges among various actors, locally and transnationally. The article argues that trust-based economic networks and debt-based trade serve as an alternative means of doing business in rural post-socialist contexts characterized by legal uncertainty, rampant corruption, and an inefficient economic and banking system.

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