After losing their land to large farmers and being forced to supplement their farming activities with wage labor, peasants in the lowlands of Colombia developed the practice of illicitly baptiz- ing money in a Catholic Church—instead of baptizing a newborn child. When presenting a child to the priest to be baptized, a person would hold a peso note that he or she believed received the priest’s blessing instead of the child. The note, thus magically transformed and given the name of the child, would, it was believed, continually return to and enrich its owner by bringing with it other notes. In other words, the note would become interest-bearing capital that continued to generate more and more money. Peasants tell stories of such notes disappearing from cash reg- isters, carrying with them all the other notes, and of the store owner who saved his money only because he heard two baptized notes fighting for possession of the drawer’s contents.
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