Originally Posted by NoTies
You make a common mistake of many people from the developed world in that you equate standard of living with quality of life
so....umm....i notice you sail in a developed world type sailboat and not on a proa or a kon-tiki type sailing raft that you built with stone tools. has the developed world held you down and forced you to eat of the evil fruit from the tree of development, too?
quality of life really depends on attitude. people can live poor quality lives or high quality lives regardless of their standard of living.
but, the thing to remember, as i was teasingly pointing out, is that no one forces people to accept more modern ways of life. people are free to resist.
hell, America is full of homeless people and a lot of them choose that kind of life because it's the life they want. just take work at labor ready (a day labor company that uses actual citizens and doesn't pay squat but is better than nothing in a pinch) and talk to your fellow employees. you will find that quite a few of them are fully capable of holding regular jobs but, don't try to get better jobs and live 'normal' lives. they choose to live under bridges or in the woods behind railroad tracks because it's what they want ( i know because, i have worked for labor ready for a few stretches when SHTF).
just because you live in a country that values hard work to achieve a higher standard of living, it doesn't mean you have to choose to live that way.
since, people in these places have embraced a more modern way of life, one can assume they want the higher standard of living. they didn't certainly shun it in favor of the old ways.
you know, people tend to look on the older type traditional cultures and, in our dissatisfaction with the stressful lives we lead, view them as a simplistic paradise.
what people tend to forget is that people's physical cultures represent the farthest they were able to get on their path to a better life. just like the rest of us, they left behind a lot of older type traditional cultural ways as they progressed to where they got when we first encountered them. when new methods become available that make life easier, they embrace them.
we all originally came from a real culture of simplicity; running around naked with sharpened sticks for spears. but, i don't see anyone bemoaning the caveman era or calling for it's return. species evolve, cultures develop. the world moves on.
i think it's extremely presumptuous to claim the islanders that have embraced a move into a more modern lifestyle are simply victims of the evil Europeans. you are always hearing certain types of people whining about how the bad 'ol northern Europeans ruined this culture or that culture with their technology but, i don't see anyone clamoring to give up iron and steel
, modern textiles, easily available food, heating
and ac systems, radios, tv's, computers
, cars, or modern medicine. anyone else notice a big rush to go back to the days before antibiotics when a minor cut could end up taking your life in a most horrible way?
and i think a good number of people don't really understand money
in the beginning, fred had nothing. he was hungry; near starving. he came to farmer brown and, as he had nothing, he had to beg farmer brown for food. this left fred vulnerable to farmer brown and subject to his whims. fred was fed but, no longer free.
then, fred learned to blacksmith. now, when he went to farmer brown for food, he had something to exchange for that food and was no longer subject to having to beg. fred was fed and free. that's the gift of capitalism.
the trouble is, after a bit, farmer brown didn't always need blacksmith's services so fred would have to find out what he did need and find someone who needed blacksmith's services in order to trade
his services for what farmer brown wanted so he could trade that to farmer brown for food. in time, fred found that he had to traipse all over the countryside trading his skills for this good to trade for that good to trade for another good to get something he could trade for food.
along comes money
. money is a symbol of any possible good or service
you might need. by trading money (essentially an IOU) fred only had to sell his skills for money to people who needed them and then trade his money for the goods he needed. no longer did he need the complexity of existing solely by barter.
is barter bad? no. is money bad? no. they are, in may respects, the same thing. barter is great when you have something that someone, who has something you need, needs. not so good when you don't. money fills in the void and this allows people a greater ability to get stuff they need or want.
sure, cruisers want the services that the boat boys provide but, sailors aren't coming with ships laden with the modern goods (or able to provide all of the services) that the islanders want. paying them money for their services simply gives them the ability to buy what they want or need, for themselves.
and, sure, the locals would survive without that income
and those goods and services (assuming they aren't spending the money on medical
stuff) but, it's obvious from the path the locals have taken that they want the things money can buy....everyone in this discussion does, too, because no one is giving cruising sailboats away in exchange for mangoes. if you know anyone who is, i have a few fresh mangoes i don't mind trading for a falmouth 34.