Agricultural Decision Making. Anthropological Contributions by Peggy F. Barlett

By Peggy F. Barlett

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These rigorous solutions, then, somehow will add up to a sort of macrosolution to the ill-structured problem. He walks repeatedly to the edge of the known world, so to speak, looks down into the chasm beyond, and then hurries back to the touchstone of formal economics. In my view, this form of belief falls in the domain of faith rather than science (Johnson 1978:12-21). There is nothing wrong with this per se, as long as it is recognized for what it is. But this particular belief may be questioned on two counts.

The data reported here are reliable data, in terms of the state of the art in this kind of research; all are based on representative sampling and have been quantified according to generally accepted procedures. But other questions remain. For example, most of the data were collected over a 13-month period of fieldwork in 1972-1973. How can those data claim to 34 ALLEN JOHNSON be representative of an average year? I can report that the Machiguenga considered it an unexceptional year, but this is certainly "soft" data.

Corn + frijol + haba, wheat, potatoes}). 52 CHRISTINA H. GLADWIN Stage 1 of a Fertilizer Decision Another agricultural example of elimination-by-aspects comes from the decision of the kind or type of chemical fertilizer to apply at planting in Lauderdale County, Alabama. A farmer in that area has five different kinds of fertilizer to choose among: granulated or bagged fertilizers, bulk blends, powders, liquids, and suspensions. 2. In this model, it is hypothesized that the farmer eliminates (rapidly, maybe unconsciously) powdered fertilizer because it is difficult to spread on the field.

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