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In parts of Indonesia, a fishing boat owner will provide a large loan to the captain and crew of his boat. Remaining chronically indebted, the captain and crew should never repay the loan; rather they continue to provide the boat owner with a share of each catch. The boat owner gets a reliable captain and crew; the captain and crew maintain reliable employment. When anthropologists come across close intimate and hierarchical relationships of mutual obligation, we use the term “patron client”. In this case, the patron is boat owner and the clients are the captain and crew. Both patron and client typically complain that they are short-changed in the relationship. Nevertheless, it is one of the most common forms of human relationship.
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