April 13, 2003
personal incomes near zero
The April issue of Netfuture has a decent piece on the meaning of income in third world countries.
Norberg-Hodge depicts in great detail and with superb expertise the transition from a rich, remarkably well-adjusted, traditional culture (with monthly personal incomes near zero) to a culture under development where rising money income was paralleled by an impoverishment of the standard of living according to most meaningful gauges. All too often, when you see minuscule average-income figures for third-world locales, you are safe in assuming that they do indeed represent a lot of misery -- the misery that comes from the disruption of a traditional economy by a money-centered one.
An important point: global capitalism (and "development") creates scarcity as a necessary condition for its own existence.