"For there are two possible courses to affluence. Wants may be 'easily satisfied' either by producing much or desiring little."
Where's that above quote from? One of my notes for cultures.
I think honestly cultures has been a very eye opening module and even though I don't know what the lecturer is rambling on half the time and still have no idea what to expect for the examinations (week 9 mind you heh), the impressions I've gotten really do help me to see the world differently, to think deeper about issues that we often take for granted.
And boy can it get depressing.
Basically this module questions everything you know about the world. Things you think are normal and don't even think about in daily life, but really are social constructs that have their repercussions. The fetishism of commodities still sticks with me. Or things like how people have come to attach value to other people for their work (and thus the perception that old people are 'less valuable'). Sometimes you hear it in Church, but I think its quite different when you realise how it is studied academically.
The latest one has been on fair trade and how fair trade isn't fair at all. Things like economic imperialism, how the developed countries are essentially causing the developing world to be unable to grow. Its kinda crazy. How capitalism has been hailed as the model that is so good and how sometimes we dismiss income inequality because we think it is an unfortunate by product of a good thing and we can then aid the ones who need aid. Yet, it isn't good. And aid doesn't help. This especially obvious when you see it on a worldwide scale.
And how no one can really stop the invisible hand. It's a pandora's box. It was innocent enough, and right now even as we learn economic theory we sometimes marvel at how amazing it is. Yet there is so much that is not right about it. And like an unstoppable juggernaut, there just isn't much you can do to keep it down again once it sprung up. The whole of modern civilisation must agree together that there needs to be change and well we know how that turns out. Individual politicians no matter how they may feel compelled to do something about it will never be able to because they are subject to democratic processes. And these democratic processes meant to bring all sorts of virtues only serve to lead to the moral degradation of the world through economics.
Which brings me to the quote. It is a study on hunter gather societies and well, again sometimes we hear that the people who have less are happier but this is a complete study on why that is the case. Hunter gatherer societies have no notion of all these economics. They see no value in money (you can give them a thousand dollars and they would probably lose it), and unless they are taught, they cannot comprehend the symbol of money. It's a whole lot of things, but the main thing that stood out to me was the scarcity quote. Unlimited wants vs limited resources, that is the central problem of economics, and that is what drives people for more.
Yet the hunter gatherer societies do not really feel like they face scarcity. Outsiders look at them and speak of them in negative terms, thinking they are more like animals because they seem to live for nothing but to find food, but that is not true. They simply live lives stripped of all the mechanisms of the world. They live in a world free from material pressures, for goods can be 'grievously oppressive'. They don't work as hard and have much more leisure time and rest. They don't face worry and societal pressures like we do.
There's alot more to it and all these are really a simplification. These are things we hear of but don't really give it as much thought, perhaps because it feels so distant and unreal to us. I guess that's why I find this course beneficial, in a sense I'm forced to study these issues and confront them, bringing me to a deeper understanding.
Honestly, I think I can understand why the prof absolutely refuses to tell us how things are graded and repeatedly tells us to just keep and open mind and learn. She doesn't want us to think about how to do well but really to understand and appreciate these things.
I think regardless of how my grades turn out and how the way things work in this module, I'm glad I took it.
Was just pondering how it's really cool that long before any of these studies are around, it has all been written in the Word of God. It is eternal, it is true.
Also, quote I just read from the article: 'Certainly, hunters quit camp because food resources have given out in the vicinity. But to see in this nomadism merely a flight from starvation only perceives the half of it; one ignores the possibility that the people's expectations of greener pastures elsewhere are not usually disappointed. Consequently their wanderings, rather than anxious, take on all the qualities of a picnic outing on the Thames'.
Another quote but more serious: 'The world's most 'primitive' people have few possessions, but they are not poor. Poverty is not a certain small amount of goods, nor is it just a relation between means and ends; above all it is a relation between people. Poverty is a social status. As such it is the invention of civilization. It has grown with civilization, at once as an invidious distinction between classes and more importantly as a tributary relation.'
For those interested, the notes I'm reading are chapter one - the original affluent society.