Monday, July 20, 2009

Merging with the Money Economy

We watched The Cave of the Yellow Dog last night. It's by the director of the Tale of the Weeping Camel. The subject is a family of Mongolian sheep/goat herders, living in a yurt. It's sort of filmed anthropology, with a wisp of a story (eldest daughter of the family wants a dog she found in a cave, father fears it's too feral and will lead wolves to the flock).

A couple things struck me:
  • one of the issues in American history is the emergence of the market economy, when and how did it emerge? Here the family is mostly self-sufficient, but the father takes the hides of a couple sheep killed by wolves off to the city to sell, using an old motorcycle for transport, and bringing back a new plastic ladle. They also have a portable windmill/generator to provide juice for the electric light.
  • Michael Pollan famously says we mostly eat corn in one form or another--these people eat milk in one form or another. (Nomads don't have gardens.)
  • the family is torn between continuing its nomadic ways and perhaps moving to the city.
This links to an article on the future of the way of life.

No comments: