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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Village Economics

As the world economy seems on the verge of crumbling, I think of the statement by Jesus that “The meek shall inherit the earth.” This is usually taken as a bit of hyperbole, as just the observations that kingdoms may rise and fall, but the poor shall abide through all the power changes – or that the greedy will go to hell, but the poor will be worthy of entering heaven.

However I am starting to wonder that Jesus might have meant this in a directly literal sense – that the meek, the poor, shall literally inherit the earth.

For those whose lives are all about money and the power over it, a worldwide economic meltdown will be a disaster. As North America and Europe and Japan become increasingly ruined by pollution, radiation, and crime on every level from the street corner to the government, those who live by money will be rendered increasingly vulnerable. The Nehiyawok (Cree) people put it well: “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover that you cannot eat money.”

People in the highly industrialized lands of the world, the rich countries, are generally at a far remove from the basic necessities of life. The food they eat goes from farm to shipper to wholesaler to packager to another shipper to distributor to retailer. The farms on which they rely are disappearing at an alarming rate. The water they drink comes through conduits often from sources hundreds of miles away. The homes they live in were built with materials trucked in from a great distance – and, if they lose these homes, there is nothing nearby from which they can construct a new home, nor do they know how to do so, except by paying a company to put it up.

But here in Panamá it’s different.

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  1. One of the adverts at the side of this piece when I was reading it was 'start trading forex with $1000' google isn't as clever as it thinks!
    I love your posts. I think the sort of informal economy will become more important as time goes on and has never really died out in the rural areas where everything is still fairly small scale. I think you're right the people who live simple lives will thrive (climate permitting) when the whole finacial system inevitably collapses
    All the news in the UK today has been about 'the summit' and a possible treaty. Each time I hear the start I think they're going to be talking about durban and climate change, but no, it's all about the EU. It doesn't matter if the earth is becomes uninhabitable and millions of poor people and animals die as long as our (material) 'standard of living' isn't compromised and business as usual continues. I think you're right the people who live simple lives will thrive when the whole finacial system inevitably collapses, Greed rules!

  2. Dydd da, Louise! That's ironic, the "Forex" advert. Yes; I experienced a similar kind of community economy in the little village in northern New York state where I started life, and also among the Native Americans of North America - though these microeconomies are very much an endangered species. The entire Western capitalist system thrives on exploitation - it would be nothing without a source of plentiful cheap labor and raw materials and a consumer base with plenty of disposable income. The days when both were available are disappearing, and the EU, like the USA, is bound to collapse, along with all the other world economies. Thank you for your thoughts!