Monday, January 30, 2012

No money/crisis in Vanuatu

On Sunday 29 January we went by train (bus/train) down the mountains to Sydney, where the SEARCH Foundation had its first Roundtable for 2012. We, as the co-editors of Life Without Money, and Ariel Salleh, as a contributor, spoke along with Steve Keen (UWS) and Graham Larcombe (Director, Strategic Economics) on non-monetary and monetary values.

There was general discussion, before participants broke up into smaller groups for discussion, reconvening for reports back and then a panel discussion. Again the engagement was rich and diverse and we felt really energised to be part of it.

One of the participants in yesterday's SEARCH Foundation roundtable (see post immediately below) was anthropologist Kirk Huffman, honorary curator of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre. He left me with a Sydney Morning Herald (9 February 2009) article of his 'A palmy balm for the financial crisis', in which he wrote:
'Real poverty is almost non-existent in even the most remote areas, as everyone has land, food and culture. Only in the two urban centres — the only places where you need money to live — can you see signs of "real" poverty...

'I was at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre in November to attend the annual meeting of field workers from the outer islands. Many are chiefs, and some are from extremely remote areas. I gave a rather long talkin Bislama (pidgin English) about the financial crisis and its causes...

'After the talk, one of the chiefs, an old and dear friend, came up to me and we shared cigarettes and bananas outside. He said: " We are very, very sorry to hear about all of the problems the white man is having now and our heart goes out to them. Some of us have tried to warn them before. When you go back overseas, you can tell them that if they want to learn how to live a good [sustainable] life, they can come and stay with us and we will be glad to teach them.'

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