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Money Order Economy: Remittances in the Island of Utila

Re-published from the original David George Lord 1975 doctoral dissertation of the same title and with the permission of the Author
Adapted by AboutUtila.com WebMaster to facilitated on-line navigation and reading.

Copyright by David George Lord 1975

Table of Contents Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 References ●  Appendices

Remittance System Interrelationships: Political Organization

Local Level Politics

Utila's Larger Political Involvements


▲Top of Page Chapter 6 - Remittance System Interrelationships: Political Organization

The aim of this study has been to examine the interface between the economic and non-economic aspects of Utila's overall sociocultural system. From that examination we may better understand what conditions and institutions are actually preadapted to a remittance economy, and beyond that the dynamics between preadaptation and subsequent accommodation. In the example of Utila we may also better understand the nature of the accommodations themselves. Chapter 5 describes a major component of that interface, but the social arrangement of Utila's personnel obviously entails more than stratification patterns, particular status-roles, and the other phenomena discussed in connection with these.

We are told (e.g., by Bennett and Tumin 1964) that all sociocultural systems must provide for the maintenance of internal and external order; i.e., there must be some way whereby "politics" is effected. Following Fried (1967:20-21):

Political organization comprises those portions of social organization that specifically relate to the individuals or groups that manage the affairs of public policy or seek to control the appointment or action of those individuals or groups.

In the case of Utila, there are two levels at which political organization operates: the local level as such, focusing on the internal affairs of the island, and the level of national government that binds Utila to the Honduran state.The pages that follow will direct attention first of all to the local level of Utilian political organization. From that emerges a model of what could be called orthodox anarchy: a basically conformist and conservative population that maintains the status quo in an atmosphere of individual and household autonomy and therefore without intracommunity cooperation.

To examine Utila's larger political involvements--not only with the government of Honduras but with foreign individuals--I concentrate especially on the separateness of Utilians based in their minority status and island location. Separateness, a sense of their own superiority to mainlanders, suspicion of others' motives, and numerous negative experiences at the hands of state government and outsiders generally, reinforce individualism and a limited good image in the island and the necessity of maintaining the remittance system. It is in the political sector of Utilian experience that the strongest impetus for return of sojourning islanders can be found; through relationships with the outside world Utila's model of the good life is constantly compared with that of others, and its preferability reinforced in the island population.

▲Top of Page Local Level Politics

Insofar as in-island politics are concerned, the "old heads" are the collective body of policy formulators and behavior enforcers. These males and females of the long-established families (both white and colored) employ a mixture of English Common Law (carried over from Utila's term as a British colony), Honduran statute law, Biblical morality (as interpreted from their Protestant viewpoint), and local custom to define the parameters of socially accepted behavior.

In numbers there are no more than two score "old heads" as such, but their influence and control are extended through at least two hundred white and upper class colored adults aged 35 and up, approximately one-fourth of the main island population, which means that there is a sizeable core of like-minded people to exercise power and authority in the island. Yet despite the large support force, few individuals are willing to take personal responsibility in matters that are at all ambiguous: if resort can be made to law or well-known custom there is no problem; otherwise a decision may be put off until a given situation is past (and therefore needs no action) or until someone is forced, by default, to act.

There is also a tendency on the part of those who are willing to take personal responsibility to act quickly and without counsel. As a consequence, there is periodic loss of face among the politically active, which serves not only to undercut their own position but to reinforce the attitude that one should not stand solely responsible for a political decision: at the least it may make one look foolish. Out of a total population of 1200 (counting the Cays) there are less than a dozen people who could be called activists at all. From time to time, as special situations arise, others also emerge to make political decisions in Utila; but unlike the individuals just noted, they blend back into society at large and work--as do most of the old heads--through the so-called activists.

As in many small communities, the range of political decisions necessary to the normal operation of Utila is small and has little impact upon the everyday lives of ordinary inhabitants. Marriages and divorces, land sales and other commercial transactions are executed according to Honduran law, the application of which is more or less mechanical and allowed to proceed without local interference. An alcalde, or mayor, is appointed by Tegucigalpa (as an extension of Government organization) in order to enforce Honduran law and to act as spokesman for the municipality. A Judge of Letters is also appointed to act as a hearing officer/arbitrator in contract types of disputes (for adjudication in criminal cases or for appeals, Utilians have to go to the courts established in Roatan as the capital of the Bay Islands). Both the alcalde and the Judge of Letters are local people and are supporters of the National ("Blue") Party, which has determined Honduran politics for more than a generation. Their appointments, like those of police chief and local party head, are recognized in Utila as rewards for party support though there is little financial gain obtained from them since pay is no more than $30-$50 a month for any municipal office holder.

When torts, or delicts, arise in Utila the impact of the old heads is felt more directly. Rather than statute law, the local Common Law, etc., is applied through one of several mechanisms. Typically, the breach of legal norms in Utila is brought before the chief of police where the circumstances of that breach are heard. When arguments are finished--and these can become shouting matches--the chief of police then has the authority (from Government as well as old heads) to jail and/or fine an individual. This is true in cases of interpersonal conflict, such as a saloon fight, to where the community at large has been offended as in breach of the peace.

The most common infraction of legal norms in Utila is fighting. Usually fights_which may be between men, men and women, or between women alone--are the direct result of excessive drinking although drunkenness itself seldom results in jail or a fine. The same people tend to be recurrent offenders in this area (there are a few--but only a few--town drunks, and a like number of disreputable women). They also tend to be guilty of Utila's second most frequent offense, namely, "scandal." Scandal refers to verbal fights or to the use of foul language, verbal fights usually entailing a good deal of profanity. The record of fines imposed by Miss Hester as Chief of Police during January to October 1973 supports the preceding generalizations. Of 118 fines total, 29 were for profanity or scandal and 56 were for fighting (i.e., these two categories accounted for 71% of all fines).

In applying fines or jail sentences (a serious fight might draw two or three days in Utila's two-cell jail), Miss Hester works from the precedent established in other cases, and operates according to a pattern known to all. For example, Miss Hester is famous for her "five limp words." This refers to the fact that for certain specified profanities--and even youngsters know what these are--she will automatically set a fine of five lempiras ($2.50).

Since Utila's legal norms are uncodified there is ample opportunity for Miss Hester, acting on behalf of Utilians (or at least the old heads), to innovate in maintaining internal order. An example of creative maintenance of internal order took place in 1971. A group of amateur marine archaeologists from California were working just off the Utila Cays and staying in a rented house at East Harbor. They habitually appeared on Utila's streets wearing only swim trunks, and this practice offended many Utilians as being improper if not lewd. Miss Hester arrested two or three of the offenders, placing them in jail for "appearing shirtless in public." Ultimately, after the regulation had been noised abroad by the Americans with much ridicule of it and Miss Hester (it got as far as New Orleans), the offenders were freed and the regulation disappeared. The old heads still supported her, but it is rumored that she could not and would not stand the personal attacks (The "no shirt law" is interesting since Utilian girls commonly wear very brief bikinis while swimming or sunbathing.)

While the "no shirt law" may have actually been a matter of personal whim, it illustrates also the point about quick and uncounseled decision-making. Better still, however, is an episode involving a cholera epidemic supposedly sweeping the Bay Islands during October 1973. Street talk (gossip) brought word to the cabildo one afternoon that cholera had killed two people in Guanaja, and several other people were ill. Miss Hester, concerned with the possibility that Utila would soon be struck with the disease, sent a telegram to the mainland asking for a nursing team to come over immediately and inoculate the islanders. This action, which had to be rescinded the next day, was taken after merely talking with two of the other municipal employees then working in the cabildo. When I queried Miss Hester about the epidemic, she explained that it had all been a mistake. (Rumor, which is itself an epidemic phenomenon in Utila, had been started when a Utilian male working on a shrimp boat heard about sickness in Guanaja, escalated it to deaths, and spread it to his wife, who in turn--without verification--passed it on.)

Another way the old heads make themselves felt politically is as a kind of ad hoc vigilante committee. Examples of this have already been presented in Chapter 5 in the incidents where the culprit in the Olimpia massacre was lynched, and where the two female tourists were expelled from the island. Street talk is an important element in activating what I have called here a vigilante committee-type politics, but the examples cited are admittedly extreme cases, and social control or social pressure usually stops short at the verbal level. In addition to whispering campaigns and rumor mongering, written admonitions are also given to people who have fallen into social disfavor (i.e., have displeased the old heads). The anonymous note, called a "squib" according to one informant, is dropped in a person's yard and in straightforward language advises a return to acceptable behavior.

Few cases, aside from those already cited, arose during the research period that involved making or enforcing public policy. Examples of political activity beyond mere enforcement of civil law did, however, occur; and one such example leads into the discussion of Utila's larger political involvements. Shortly before my wife and I were due to leave Utila, two entrepreneurs came to the island from Tegucigalpa in order to buy the two lagoons. Having drained the lagoons, they would turn the reclaimed land into housing projects for retired people from the United States. Negotiations between these two men and the alcalde, speaking on behalf of Utila, resulted in the sale of the lagoons for a rumored $40,000. The alcalde, informally advised by Miss Hester and some of the other old heads, believed that the islanders had really outwitted the purchasers. Whether the mainlanders were duped, or the islanders, or whether the transaction even went any further than the on-paper stage is unimportant at this point. The alcalde and an informal, unelected, unappointed council effected the economic decision. From all informants' accounts, this is typical of political procedures in Utila; and there is no formal appeal from a decision that does not please everyone (or any one specifically).

Self-help measures do exist for people displeased with political decisions, and these follow the pattern--albeit broader in scope--outlined above in connection with maintenance of internal order: ridicule and scorn. The "no shirt" episode is a case in point, where the decision-maker was apparently made to feel silly in public and backed down from the decision. Sensitivity to social pressure is obviously necessary for this procedure to operate, and people of lower class standing in spite of aspiring to the same good life as upper class islanders do not respond to social pressure in the same degree.

Supporting this contention regarding lower class Utilians is the continued presence and operation of the "Bucket of Blood" saloon. Already noted for its unsavory character (interethnic dance particularly, but also women drinking there with men), "The Bucket" defies Utila's leadership, though not to the point where the establishment is closed down. The fact that the owner, a colored Utilian, is a brother of a Methodist lay preacher may have something to do with leaders' permissiveness. It is also possible that the lack of cooperative, concerted effort by the old heads simply lets the saloon stay open by default. Still another alternative explanation (the most likely) is that the dominant segment of Utilian society actually comprehends the possibility that the lower class clientele associated with the bar need this social outlet; without it there could be other problems of a more serious nature to cope with; i.e., there is a positive trade-off involved.

Leadership pragmatism is supported by an episode that I witnessed one day in the cabildo when Spekeman (a pseudonym) came in to protest having to pay a fee for playing the jukebox in his saloon after 10 p.m. He claimed that people in the neighborhood of "The Bucket" often complained about its jukebox being played after hours and keeping them awake; Spekeman argued that there was favoritism being shown here if they (the owners of "The Bucket") had not had to pay the standard fee each of those occasions. Miss Hester claimed that no favoritism was being shown; everyone playing a jukebox after 10 p.m. was levied the same fee, and Spekeman had no option but to pay his fine. Unfortunately, no detailed records of the after-hours fees could be found; but Spekeman was very specific about who could support his allegations (and specific dates were also mentioned) which leads me to believe him. It seems that somewhat unorthodox behavior can be ignored if social benefit is actually seen by political leaders to lie in the non-conformity.

Where sensitivity to social pressure becomes a major consideration, unlike cases involving lower class islanders, is in dealings with outsiders, a number of whom are ever-present in Utila. The lagoon sale is too ambiguous to serve as a supportive illustration, but the case of the fish plant/utilities company is well suited to this discussion.

As originally constituted, the fish plant/utilities company was to be privately owned and operated by its U.S. builders. For the utilities concession in the island, the municipality was to receive a $100 a month consideration, but would have no involvement in plant operation (which includes the fixing of rate schedules). In January 1973, the rates for utilities were increased by as much as 50% over the preceding month. Managers at the plant claimed that an almost doubling in the price of diesel fuel--from 19¢ to 37¢ a gallon--made the increase necessary.

For several days street talk centered on the unfair cost of utilities, how individual households could not afford the luxury of water and lights, and how something should be done to lower the rates. Nothing was done to lower rates and no political action was mounted by the community or its leadership. Rather, one angry islander wrote anonymous letters to government figures in Tegucigalpa and to the radio station in La Ceiba decrying the company action. After an additional two or three days of street talk that stemmed from the bad publicity the entire matter died, islanders accepting the new situation as undesirable but immutable. No formal recourse could be sought, and a mechanism that is more or less effective on islanders had no impact on outsider types.

▲Top of Page Utila's Larger Political Involvements

Utila's political inclusion in the Honduran state has, since the Wyke-Cruz Treaty, been largely a nominal thing: political party structure, the impact of political governors, the strict enforcement of Honduran law, and so on have been attenuated or refracted in Utila by a number of factors.

The primary reason for weak political ties between Utila and greater Honduras lies mainly in the weakness of the central government. Honduras is the proverbial vest-pocket-government notorious throughout Central America; its leaders govern largely as a function of military backing, and coups are the regular means of changing leadership. For this reason there has been little genuine opportunity to extend political control as far as Utila. The additional factors of mutual disparagement (islanders vs. mainlanders) and Utilian individualism have precluded any but rather superficial connections of island and mainland. There are, however, two impingements from outside Utila that must be discussed for their effects in the island system: the organized political parties of Honduras and the military establishment, both locally present in Utila but with varying degrees of importance in everyday life.

The two major political parties in Honduras, the National ("Blue") and the Liberal ("Red"), each have members in Utila. Although voter registrations were not available for verification, it appears that the majority of the old heads in Utila--possibly of the entire adult population--supports the National party and has done so for a very long time. The ideological implications of this support are not great.

The Nationals have been the most powerful political force in Honduras since the last century, and Utilians as a group are very "practical." The population of Utila has found it to be easier for islanders, in terms of maintaining a good deal of local autonomy and local culture, to support the most powerful political element in the country (note the appointment of various local people to leadership positions). In years past, so I am told by informants, there was an active cultivation of islander support through periodic presidential visits. Such visits appear to be rarer now (probably due to the junta or dictatorial forms of government that have been in existence since 1972), but there is nevertheless a limited mutual supportiveness of mainland and island party members, and there are some concrete personal benefits of party membership even if under the current dictators there are no real party politics.

During the spring of 1973 Whalen Tree (a pseudonym), head of the National Party in Utila, came to me in a highly agitated state for some advice. His teenage son was going to be arrested, on a charge of smoking marijuana, by the Seguridad (Honduran military men who are stationed in most communities of any size to act as a civil guard). Warning of the arrest was given to Whalen, in consideration of his party position, so that he could work out some course of action to keep his son out of jail. At my suggestion, he sent the lad to the United States where he could wait until he had his next birthday and then, at eighteen, join the merchant marine. Inside information of importance to individual and family fortunes is often, apparently, a function of party support.

Political parties also account, in a tortuous way, for at least a part of Utilian disinterest in local economic investment. Earlier in this chapter reference was made, for example, to the purchase of the lagoons. The episode, a tie-in of politico-economics, merits expansion here for additional discussion.

The brother-in-law of the (then) president of Honduras was one of the two outsiders who had insinuated himself into the island with the promises of a large sum of money. Local leadership was convinced that they could use the funds for municipal projects (paving streets, building bridges, erecting a meat market on Main Street, and so forth), which helped to sell them on the transaction. Aside from the monetary attraction, there was also the implication (from conversations with four or five of the leaders, who must remain anonymous) that speculation with lagoon land was acceptable for two other reasons, one of which I have already alluded to: first, it was so improbable that the lagoons could be drained and turned into houselots that islanders risked nothing by the sale; and second, to refuse the request of the brother-in-law of the president was to court retribution (of unspecified type) at some future date, despite the potential problems (with water supply at the least) that Utila would face if the venture were successful.

It was clear in the preceding example that the Utilians with whom I talked were responding according to a pattern typical of islanders: capitalize on outsiders and outside investment as long as Utila and its people provide nothing themselves. Eddie Rose put this into perspective by relating several anecdotes in island history. According to him, for many years now--at least since the demise of the agricultural economy--any major economic changes proposed in Utila have been by outsiders. Invariably these have been presented as projects that would greatly benefit the island as well as the outsider, as in the case cited above. Also invariably, the islanders have given these projects their support and ultimately been duped, which has led to general distrust of all so-called development schemes.

He gave as an example a papaya-growing scheme proposed several years ago by a man from the United States. The American came to Utila with the idea that he could grow papayas there, process them in a plant he would build, and export the canned papaya back to the United States. According to this man, however, the variety of papaya already growing in Utila was not suitable for his plans (the color of the flesh would not appeal to people in the United States) and Utilians would have to plant a different variety. He would guarantee purchase of all the papayas harvested, but islanders would have to assume the cost of the new papaya plants themselves. According to Mr. Eddie, thousands of already bearing plants were destroyed in order to make room for the new variety; and then, just before the first harvest from them, the American left Utila and has not contacted islanders since.

The importance of the preceding example, besides showing a contributory source of islander distrust of outsiders, is that genuine outside investment must go through the Honduran government which intimately involves political party favorites in order for licenses, concessions, and other business arrangements to be effected. (The purchase of land, necessary to so many prospective operations, must be in the name of a Honduran citizen; this requirement has, apparently, produced some extra-legal, if not illegal, maneuvers that also could involve political figures).

It seems probable that the papaya entrepreneur could not--from the start--have been legitimate; working through "proper" channels: he would have had to involve the Honduran government. Such an involvement would not, all things being equal (i.e., unless covert arrangements were made) allow sudden departure of someone who had obtained so great a commitment of effort and money from an entire community, and support from government, without proper compensation.

The now three-year-old fish and utilities plant, noted several times above, required (throughout my stay) periodic trips to Tegucigalpa by its operators in order, according to rumor, to keep the plant going. During the course of my research in Utila, three or four different sets of owner-managers were reported for the plant (none of which could be reliably confirmed) and the last of these supposedly involved high ranking government officials.

The reason given by islanders for the rumored changes in ownership was to guarantee non-interference in basic plant management by extending partnerships (contingent upon returns from the fish processing part of the factory) to politicians. Since there was no effective fish processing throughout the entire span of the research period, it is my own speculation, as well as that of many Utilians to whom I talked, that plant owners offered inducement in order to offset islander complaints (which had as noted above even been aired over the radio station in La Ceiba) about rate hikes in the utilities and overall poor service provided by the plant.

Still other examples of outsider activities in Utila help to illustrate the island's larger political involvements. A good case here would be that of Mr. Phelps (a pseudonym) from the United States who wished to establish a tourist industry in Utila. His objective, he said, was to offer Americans an alternative vacation spot to other Caribbean islands, such as Bermuda and Jamaica, where prices were high and ethnic relations strained. A parcel of land was selected for bungalows, and legalities were being attended to when Mr. Phelps turned over some $20,000-$30,000 to the third-party Utilian required in Honduran law to validate the land sale. Subsequently, legal difficulties arose, so that Mr. Phelps did not obtain title to the land he thought he was buying and he likewise lost the entire sum of money to the islander; there was no legal recourse for him in order to recover the funds, but he continued on with his plans for tourism.

Mr. Phelps is an object lesson to Utilians, as at least a half a dozen of my informants implied, because he foolishly lost money through lack of knowledge concerning politics and law; the Utilian man involved is credited not so much with being sly as he was astute in treating with Phelps: he simply knew how to operate within the system. Mr. Phelps also epitomizes the outsider who, if islanders wait long enough, will come along to provide desired services so that they themselves do not have to take risks. The fish-utilities plant is itself the best example of the latter type.

Prior to the opening of the present utilities operation, at least six different generating plants, privately owned and basically for the benefit of the households possessing them, provided electrification in Utila. One of the old heads decided that this was wasteful, an inefficient duplication of efforts. Likewise, not everyone who wanted electricity could be serviced by the privately owned plants, and, finally, that a municipality-wide plant could actually be run at a profit. He was about to take on this venture himself--after much deliberation--but the group who ultimately founded the present utilities plant short-circuited his plans; they had gone to government figures in Tegucigalpa, offered the municipal government a fixed fee for the privilege of the utility plant operation, and so on.

The lack of a secondary school in the island, of a medical or dental clinic, of an airfield suitable for larger craft than DC-3s, and much more, about which islanders frequently talk and complain, is further evidence that Utilians are not a risk-taking, cooperative population. (Rose [1904:64,] provides an historical footnote here in his discussion of the Utila Cays of his time. The lack of a bridge between the two inhabited cays was apparently recognized as inconvenient by all the people involved, but they did nothing about it. Rose points out that all it would have taken was all the men working together for a month to build a stone bridge. The lack of cooperation is the important point.)

The military establishment impinges on Utilian life in two different ways, both of which, as I had noted at the beginning of this section, are stressful to islanders. The first of these two ways is through the Seguridad.

Three to five soldiers of the Honduran army are regularly stationed in Utila, one of whom acts as harbor master (collecting fees and inspecting ships' papers) while the others operate as a police force. Technically, the soldiers are obliged to respond to requests for assistance from the Chief of Police, but they are also a semi-autonomous unit with their own commander. This commandant is empowered by the central government to initiate policing actions on his own, and also to levy fines (usually twice as high as Miss Hester imposes).

The semi-independence of Seguridad soldiers--all of them Spaniards--plus an undercurrent of dislike for Utilians, plus the wealth of islanders countered by the graft of bureaucrats, leads to conflict between islanders and soldiery. Commandants are legendary for their "shake down" (my term) activities in Utila, and a newly appointed commandant (April 1973) was reported to be imposing fines as high as $35. Islanders were quickly infuriated by this most recent exercise in extortion, and appealed to the governor of the Bay Islands who immediately punished the commandant and made it clear no further "mordida" (bite) was to be put on local people.

The other manifestation of the military establishment is only a variation of what has just been described. Periodically, and without warning, a contingent of soldiers appears in Utila and forcibly recruits any male who looks old enough into military service. Reminiscent of British naval press gangs, the Honduran recruiting units are supposed to obtain a quota of men from each place they visit, though they are not supposed to take anyone under age eighteen. Ignoring birth certificates or parents' protests that sons are too young, recruiting units force recruits to go with them and will not release the underaged males until as much as $500 has been handed over by a boy's family.

In this situation, and in the shakedown operations of a commandant, it is the remittance economy that puts islanders in a position to be victimized and directly accounts for the quality of political involvement that Utila has with outside elements. The only way to avoid extortion on one hand is to hide in the swamps when a recruiting unit makes one of its surprise visits, or go into the merchant marine and physically absent oneself from the army threat. Kirk Rivers, shop owner and retired merchant mariner, took his son to New York a few months before the boy's eighteenth birthday (Mrs. Rivers later explained to me) so that the boy's entrance into the merchant marine would be smoothed and the possibilities of being caught by recruiters eliminated. Kirk waited with his son until the boy could ship out and then himself went back on the boats.

In the case of an avaricious commandant the only defense is swift action from a powerful outside source who is physically close enough at hand to be of aid to islanders. Their wealth makes Utilians a target for exploitation, and this is so for the other Bay Islanders as well.

▲Top of Page  Analysis

A review of the sections on local level politics and larger political involvements shows a number of traits common in Utila that have a great deal of significance for the remittance economy. Reiterated in their simplest form these traits are:

(1) Political power and authority are broadly vested with the old heads of Utila

(2) With diffuse power and authority in the community there are few individuals as such who are willing to take the responsibility of decision-making

(a) When decisions are forced through the immediacy of a situation or cannot be defaulted, action is precipitous and often ill-considered

(b) Decisions can bring loss of face where local conditions or local individuals are not involved

(c) If there is an option not to make a decision, Utilians take a "wait and see" attitude

(3) Individuals from outside, or impingements from non-island sources are suspect

(a) Non-Utilians are welcome to shoulder civic responsibilities that involve financial or other risk

(b) Outsiders, or outside influences, are instrumental in any major changes that occur in Utila.

The foregoing traits, empirically derived, are internally consistent with one another, and they also point toward a sociocultural consistency that pervades economic, social, and political organization in the island. The source of the consistency throughout Utilian culture is, to reiterate findings in Chapters 4 and 5, the individualism of island people that is closely related to an image of limited good that developed during Utila's economic depression.

Individualism in the political organization of the island has led to an atomistic kind of situation where few will lead and none will follow. Yet, Utila is not a crime-plagued community on the verge of self-destruction. The lack of overt cooperation obscures the fact that since goals are shared among the population there may be, at any one time, numbers of people working toward the same end (as in the case of the electrification system). Efficiency of effort, or duplication of effort, is not at issue here; rather, the fact of commonness of purpose preserves the island system without strong or elaborate political organization. That commonness of purpose--achieving the good life--is well served by an atomistic system that allows many people to be absent from the system at a given time, and yet have the system continue to function in only slightly altered ways.. Orthodox anarchy, where consensus without heavy-handed political control characterizes the system, typifies Utilian political organization.

The mutual support between the remittance-based economy and the polity is unquestionable, and perhaps the single most concrete feature of politics in Utila is its reinforcement of the "rest and recreation mentality"; it is this that is critical in attracting sojourners back to their island home.

In Chapter 7 following, the results of this study will be further discussed and summarized.

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