Traditional cultures which emphasis generosity, social equality, strong family ties often prevent the generation of business profits. Family members and friends may demand credit from employees of a shop or business which is never paid back. Business owners may be expected to make hugh contributions to community affairs. The shop owner as the major interface between a moneyed economy and a barter economy is frequently in the position of never making a profit.
In small rural communities in the process of developing businesses frequently perform far more than economic functions. They train individuals in managerial and entrepreneurial skills. They are the major focus of community information. Small shops function as the community decision making centers in hundreds of thousands of villages across the world. They may be a major link with the larger society. To look at small businesses in rural, developing communities simply in monetary terms is to misunderstand their social functions.