Friday, October 24, 2008

The love of money is the root of all peace

At the British museum yesterday we saw an exhibit about the changing culture of the Assam region. The knobbly extra bit in the North East of India, tucked above Bangladesh. Apparently, there a number of different tribes who are rapidly becoming exposed to the wider world. SOAS - the famous School of Oriental and African Studies (I think that's what it stands for) have been documenting the changes.

One of these groups was apparently a fearsome bunch and prone to feuding and raiding. Their furry fiber war capes (which also keep off the rain) were displayed in a case. Museum goers were informed that this tribe (perhaps the Atapani?) were no longer quite so warlike.

The explanation read:

With the introduction of a cash economy and the ability to purchase supplies, bartering was no longer necessary and feuding became obsolete.

Now, I'm no SOAS anthropologist, but I'm not too sure about this explanation. Has no one explained the concept of extortion to these poor savages? Have they not figured out that cash is thievable?

The Vol-in-Law, who grew up in Belfast, was especially derisive. He experiemced a culture that was both based on a cash economy and infamous for feuding.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo. What the world needs is more critical thinkers.

Take Greenspan for instance. Can you believe he had the gall to say it was impossible to foresee the financial mess we are in coming? Now how many regular American's saw the housing market as absolutely absurd? Even if the housing bubble passed Lawrence County TN by, it was laughable to see houses that would go for way less than $100,000 in L'burg going for a half-million elsewhere when other commodities were similarly priced? While I'll admit that not many Lawrenceburgians understood derivatives and credit swaps, we could understand that banks were slicing and dicing mortgages and passing them around like hot potatoes, because they weren't worth the paper they were written on. We saw people taking on mortgages that made their housing costs way beyond 25% of take-home pay. It doesn't take a financial genius to see that with the slightest bit of trouble, those folks were down the tubes because they couldn't save. But they sure could spend, spend, spend on somebody else's money (credit cards). Not to mention concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. Cut taxes and go to war. Why was this global problem not easy to see? Is it all just hindsight? VolMom