Ideas that add up #204

Critics of tribal peoples’ rights often assert that those who support them want the people to remain poor. But that is not what is at stake at all: it is rather a case of trying to prevent people being driven away from self-sufficiency and towards impoverishment by others taking their land and resources. People who are largely self-sufficient may not have much, or any, money, but they have food and housing which they to not have to buy, and this puts them in a much better position that most. 

Tribal Peoples for Tomorrow’s World: a guide by Stephen Corry (2/3)

The World Bank has schooled us in the mantra that extreme poverty means living on less than a dollar a day. So what do we make of people who not only have no money but also no debt, bombs, prisons, homelessness or pollution, and in fact no “poverty”?

Unfortunately, we – or some among us who should know better – do know what to make of them. We drag them into the market economy, gobbling up their territory and resources in the process. 

It’s madness, really, that people who have nil carbon footprint, who are far and away our best conservationists, who have encyclopaedic knowledge of the natural world and who are happy to boot (!), are not universally treasured and revered. In a sense, they have the secret – everything that the rest of us in this stumbling, neurotic global civilization need to know to pull back from the brink. Yet we seem determined to eradicate them.

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