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Faulkner’s Stores: Microfinance and Economic Power in the Postbellum South

Faulkner’s Stores: Microfinance and Economic Power in the Postbellum South

Chapter:
(p.156) Faulkner’s Stores: Microfinance and Economic Power in the Postbellum South
Source:
Faulkner and Money
Author(s):
David A. Davis
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496822529.003.0011

After the Civil War, stores played a crucial role in the redevelopment of the South's economy. Landowner-merchants used crop liens, loans against the value of a crop, as contracts to bind laborers to the land through debt and dependency. The landowner-merchants provided food, seeds, fertilizer, and all of the other items necessary to live and raise a crop for a season, but they charged exorbitant interest on the items, and the cost of the charges was deducted from the value of their share of the crop. Faulkner depicts the stores as a system of coercive microfinance in several of his novels. In Absalom, Absalom, Thomas Sutpen opens a store when he returns from the war to rebuild his plantation. In The Hamlet, Flem Snopes uses Jody Varner's store as the vehicle for his social mobility, and in The Sound and the Fury, Jason Compson works in a store while investing in the cotton commodities market.

Keywords:   Stores, Microfinance, crop lien, debt bondage

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