"peasantology" thestudyof the the "informal economy"

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Tango3, Nov 6, 2008.


  1. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    "Peasantology" the study of the the "informal economy"

    http://www.verdant.net/informaleconomy.htm
    a vast number of the worlds population survives in the informal economy...[coffee2]
    What is the informal economy?
    The concept emerged in Africa 25 years ago. Researchers began to notice that there was no economic explanation for how the majority of the population survived. They didn't own land. They didn't seem to have any assets. According to conventional economics they should have died of hunger long ago, but they survived. To understand this, researchers looked at how these people actually lived, rather than at economic models.
    They found that their way of life was completely the opposite of how a human being in an industrial society survives. They didn't have a job, pension, steady place to work or regular flow of income. Families held a range of occupations from farming and selling in the market to doing odd jobs or handicrafts. Their aim was survival rather than the maximisation of profit. Rather than earn wages, labour was used within family enterprises, or shared out among the village. Researchers discovered the same way of life in Latin America, in South Asia - even in Italy.

    Intellectually this is interesting, but does it matter practically?
    Yes. It explains why much economic planning in Eastern Europe does not work. And if you want to help the poorest people in the world you have to understand how they live. Sometimes the news is better than we think. In 1993, the formal economy in Russia was worsening. I remember when an American professor came to visit me in Moscow to ask about Russian hunger. I told him my students were out in the villages and reported hardship, but no signs of hunger. He said he didn't believe me. He had seen the official farm production statistics. He left very displeased. Soon, because of concern in the West, the US and Germany sent trainloads of food parcels. Of course, the Russian Mafia took them and sold them. None got to the countryside. But there was no hunger because most food was being produced in the informal domain

    There was another crisis in 1998 when the rouble collapsed. How did the peasants do then?
    Even better. That crisis improved the situation in the villages very considerably. The majority of Russian economists believed what they had been told by the West, that the only way to survive in the post-communist world was to take loans from the world community. That was the policy of the government. So when Western companies left, deciding they could never make any money, Russia feared the worst. Within a year most of the offices in Moscow belonging to Western companies had closed. But as food imports went down, the shops filled with Russian food. Russian farms filled the gap. Often their goods turned out to be much better. So the crisis improved Russian agriculture.
    Step by step, it has become clear that the crisis was good for Russia, urban as well as rural. The economic conditions have been improving since 1998. This is not accidental. Russia has begun to regain control of its own economy. The main danger to the economics and livelihoods of developing countries, including the former Soviet Union, is dependency. You have to control your frontiers before you can begin to control your own economies. It is a very important lesson - and the complete opposite of what the IMF or George Bush would tell you.
     
  2. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    I can see this ultimately happening in the USA - as the world economy worsens, shipping and production costs finally reduce or stop the importation of foreign food - the American small farmer fills the gap, no longer paid by the DotGov to NOT produce - he brings his produce to the local Farmer's Market and sells or trades to the People. We will no longer have the range of exotic selection we once had - but the quality of local-grown food improves. No more genetic-manipulation to maximise appearance and shelf-life, no more Chinese lead contamination, no more health-destroying preservatives.
    Also, more and more citizens grow their own produce, and keep small livestock for meat.
    As we have less money to waste on luxuries, we spend more wisely on necessities. People return to actually cooking food, instead of nuking it in a plastic package.
    I am looking forward to the return of the 'informal economy' - aka "The Old Days"......
     
  3. QuietOne

    QuietOne Monkey++

    Did the Africans go back to wearing banana leaves when their economies collapsed? Did the Argentinians go back to riding horses? If our economy goes down the tubes we'll be using any technology we have to live as cheaply as possible. Microwave ovens are great for making contaminated food safe. It doesn't taste very good but poor folks can't be choosy.
     
  4. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    I read recently that microwaving DOES NOT kill all the microbugs in food - the high heat simply isn't on long enough deep in the food. I could be incorrect - don't want to test this personally.

    We would indeed use whatever we could salvage of modern technology - I don't see us going back to the stone or iron age. As long as the basic knowledge is here, we will use it.

    I see us becoming more 'localised' though - far less long-distance shipping, and none of the 'exotic' foodstuffs we now enjoy.

    One good outcome - no more WalMart! Hehehe...! [ROFL]
     
  5. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    Yes I think WalMart is the entire reason the world is failing! I look forward to watching it die a horrible death. Too bad the family is already fithy stinking rich and will not lose any of their personal wealth.

    Damn I'm mean!

    Byte
     
  6. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    If walmart dies than all the inconsiderate idiots with the carts blocking the left and big butts and yacking together on the right,will just migrate to my local grocery instead of creating corporate arterial schlerosis...
     
  7. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    Actually, sadly WalMart is going to be one of the last to go and when it gets bad enough to kill Wally World we're in for some seriously bad times. So maybe I don't want to seem them completely die... [cof]

    I was in a pretty bad mood yesterday. The 401k and IRA have take a serious beating the past 9 months. Need to decide what to do with them by end of the week.

    Byte
     
  8. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Why not? Walmart didn't have any problems kicking the little guy in the teeth. I don't shop there and we seem to manage just fine. There are plenty of other stores that carry the same type of item that they do.
     
  9. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Sure are, I guess people gotta ask themselves do I support local businesses or a Communist country. Corporations, politicians and consumers will and have been selling this country out in order to save a few dollars, yes a few dollars. There isn't much at Wal-Mart that I can't find elsewhere for just about the same price.
     
  10. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    Looking around town here, I see long rows of stores - Wally's, Target, a last gasping K-mart, too many others to count.
    Point being, as the shipping of 'cheap' goods ceases due to higher fuel prices (enjoy the lower prices we have temporarily!), those stores will have empty shelves. Employees get canned - heck, the buildings may well be used for living in by the new ranks of homeless created b the new 'economy'.
    An upsurge in local farming would be a plus - plenty of seasonal work for those willing to do it. Probably be an upswing in coastal fishing too - though stocks still haven't recovered from earlier over-fishing.
    Looking out my 11th floor office window, I see a huge amount of commercial and business construction going on. Two whole blocks just across the street are being razed and cleared for some sort of 'art center'.
    Yeah, that'll become one heck of a white elephant if the economy tanks.
    But, at least the construction guys are working at the moment. Home building has stalled big time!
    2009 is going to be a wild ride, methinks...
     
  11. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    Unfortunately We 've got alot of that ridiculous commercial development (ugly strip malls) being added with lots of "for lease" signs in the empty completed buildings.. Somebody has got alot of money...I'm not shopping.I just shake my head "ruefully". I Agree 2009 will be uncharted territory. :(

    What I liked about the "op" is the take on the soviets where american business professionals looked at the statistics and recommended money be pumped in. Yup thats "us":

    "The majority of Russian economists believed what they had been told by the West, that the only way to survive in the post-communist world was to take loans from the world community. That was the policy of the government. So when Western companies left, deciding they could never make any money, Russia feared the worst. Within a year most of the offices in Moscow belonging to Western companies had closed. But as food imports went down, the shops filled with Russian food. Russian farms filled the gap. Often their goods turned out to be much better. So the crisis improved Russian agriculture."
     
  12. tuxdad

    tuxdad Monkey++

    In all actuallity this goes on in the states already and has been, if you look at it in the right perspective.. I remember many of my relatives and neighbors helping each other out on each others farms in rural south carolina, it was called being "neighborly".. While living in Washington, D.C., as a teen, it was called "aking care of your own".. In each case the similarity is there, where communities watched out for each other, as well as the kids.. I rememebr in both those areas folks would rally together to help each other out..

    It's all about where you look, live and the folks involved on whether this exists...

    Just my thoughts on this subject..

    Btw, is there anymore on this subject other than the link provided ??

    Tux
     
  13. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    There's this guy:
    http://madconomist.com/what-if-us-collapses-soviet-collapse-lessons-every-american-needs-to-know
    Site is a bit "thumb worn", (quoted in various places on the web...)
    I am not prepared to argue any of his points but there's the link.

    There's a few videos on how Cuba handled instant;overnight peak oil when thesoviets cut off their oil imports.
    YouTube- Learning from Cuba's Response to Peak Oil

    YouTube- The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

    This is a favorite read from our readingroom:http://www.survivalmonkey.com/forum/showthread.php?t=230&highlight=possum+living
     
  14. tuxdad

    tuxdad Monkey++

    Thanks very much Tango3:)
     
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