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This social-anthropological study, focusing on urban Indonesia, examines a variety of financial self-help organizations (arisan and simpan pinjam) as instruments for dealing with financial difficulties related to illness, death, and unemployment. The author devotes ample attention to the embedding of these associations, and their participants, in a changing socio-economic and cultural environment, and to the important issues of agency, exclusion, trust, and social conflict. The book not only explains the workings of these fascinating collective arrangements, but also provides an interesting window on living conditions and social relations in an Indonesian urban community. Indonesianists will find here a detailed description of an omnipresent aspect of Javanese socio-economic life, the only thorough analytical study of which has become somewhat outdated (C. Geertz, The rotating credit association; An instrument for development, Cambridge 1956). In this UN Year of Microcredit, experts on informal finance and microfinance will value the explanation of the workings of financial self-help organizations, and its policy implications. The book critically examines the popular notion of financial self-help organizations as vehicles for development and nurseries for social capital. Hotze Lont is an anthropologist who obtained his PhD at the University of Amsterdam. He later worked at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, and was affiliated with the International Institute of Asian Studies in Amsterdam. At present, he is conducting research for Partos, the professional association for Dutch NGOs.