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Re: The GDP

Posted by Kari Gilstad on November 4, 2001 at 18:03:50:

In Reply to: Re: The GDP posted by Eleanor on November 3, 2001 at 17:18:49:

:I totally agree with what Alexandra wrote. I don't think we can say if people are happier and closer in their community just because the are not living in a capatilist society. Because most of us probably haven't lived in that kind of situation we might not understand it as well...not relate as much to say Joe and his family in Milagro Beanfield War. The comment made about the women working double shifts; I'm not sure what you were talking about. Women work double shifts now? Are you saying that women are still trying to fight the battle for a good job (one that a "man" is supposed to have?)? If that is the case, I'm going to have to disagree with you. Yes, women had it rough in the past, but for the past number of years women have been working in the same jobs as men. The double shifts would only apply, in my mind, to a kind of job, like that in a restaurant type setting, where the work day was in shifts rather then 8 hour days (like a lot of common 40 hour weeks go). Maybe if you could clarify what you wrote for me I wouldn't be as confused. Thanks!

: I think that the work and status of women is determined by more than class. For one thing, it is determined by the level of technology and by religious beliefs. Capitalism is also influenced by those things. Self-employment is also influenced by technology and religion. I visited relatives once who live on an island off the coast of Scotland where there is or was a relatively small population. It was easy to grow enough to eat and plenty of resources for making things people need, even though there was also a lot of stuff imported from the mainland. The people were self-employed or communal, I don't know which, but they didn't work for wages. Women definitely were not working double shifts. Neither were men. There was lots of free time. People seemed to hang out and talk a lot. I was told it can get a lot busier at harvest, but still they had a lot more than we have at home. I suspect it was like that in Milagro, even though they seemed to have less natural resources. So I guess I'm saying it depends. If you have self-employment or communal work in the right place then it might be a lot better than life in the United States. If it is in Afghanistan, then probably even capitalism would look pretty pitiful.

: : Yes, but people aren't automatically happier and closer as a community just because they are not living in a capitalist society. I think that there are a lot of pressure to conform and to not question the way of life in such societies. What about a gender analysis of the precapitalist society? I say the women there were probably working double shifts just like today. What do you think?

: : I have been to many places just like Milagro and so I visually can understand. Places like Milagro have been there for hundreds of years before capitalist enterprizes came. The people are mostly self-employed and have a generally happy lifestyle. There is a very close sense of community and of hard work by all. When new ideas such as capitalism enter their lives the people are confused. When and if these people are forced to pay high taxes resulting from either new developments or a collection of other things they are in trouble. A lot of people that live in places like Milagro only farm enough for their family and or the town that they live in, and they do not produce much surplus. When they are forced to pay highger taxes many of them loose their land or are forced to become wage laborers. By becomming wage laborers though, the people loose their ability to work their land that they are working to keep.

: : : : So when people look at stats that say "Oh look, this area is growing and has become much richer, they are doing something right" it can often be very misleading. These people could not be eating as well since the little money they make will go either to feeding their families or holding on to their land. The people have less time to spend with their families which was particualrly expressed by Joe in Milagro Beanfield War.

: : : : I was often told in schools that if a place has a high GDP or it was going up then that was a very positive event for that place and now I see that it in fact may not always be true? See where I am comming from, I think sometimes when we think we are helping we may in fact be hurting?




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