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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October, 1998 - ... open end

Subject:Re: poverty and folklore
Date:Thu, 17 Dec 1998 17:06
Author:Juan José Díaz Infante  []

Hi Joana, everyone:

To Juan José and other who commented on poverty:
I disagree with the statement, that the perception of poverty is completely dependent on culture.

A plane carrying cocaine went down a few years ago in a remote region in Oaxaca. The crew abandoned the cargo that was found by some people of a near town. They had never seen cocaine. Since there were no proper roads, the authorities took some time to go and investigate the accident. When they finally got to the town, they found that its inhabitants thought of the cocaine as chalk and they took it in order to paint the lines of their foot ball field.

Of course, there are strong variations as to what people in different societies perceive to be "the good life" and standards and criteria for poverty vary. But how can those of us who live in the west deny, that our relative wealth, high life-expectancy and relative freedom are not desirable for every human being?

I do not think that you and I dissagree on the search of equality for everyone, nonetheless we need to work in a system of valid premises in order to reach conclusions that can have a chance of being inserted into the existing system. Formulas that are balanced correctly so that eventually can be carried into some sort of reality.

The CREATION of wealth requires the creation of poverty. The view of wealth is impossible to be designed without its counterpart. Since it is a creation it becomes conceptual. The stock market, paper money do not have real value on themselves. They are solutions that have their conceptual problems, dragged from the 16th century, to be precise, from Amsterdam. They are ideas that served their purpose and that were useful for their times and for their objectives. It is unexplainable, today, a "drop" in the stock market. It is because it is a problem of perception.The global economy and computers have linked that uncertainty. In other words, the global interconnection of the economy instead of becoming more stable is more fragile and unstable. The risk of poverty is bigger.

The abolition of poverty and the granting of fundamental rights would constitute a progessive move for every society on earth.

This is a very complex process that can not ever take place, the abolition of poverty requires two solutions, either everyone is poor or everyone is rich. There would be the need of wealth to be shared plus a very evolved capitalism to reach "something" like that (Marx's "The Capital"). India (1/3 of the planet) would love to abolish poverty. You would need a political and an economical formula that the present system is not designed to produce.

Trying to clarify my point of view, I would like to add: The medium (the order of the economical system / the loop) is totally saturated, it has no more room where to move, the political formulas have failed (a global "peter principle"). The only way of working towards specific goals is stepping back outside of what I call the "loop". In the future there are not going to be enough jobs for everyone. Alternative systems have to be designed, alternative solutions that will never come out of a politicianęs head. It has to be a solution outside of the traditional monetary system and therefore this group of people will be regarded again as "poor".

The natural deficit of jobs in Mexico City is of over 2 million per year. Zedillo's government has lost 2 million more jobs out of poor administration from 1994-98. In 1999 with the drop of the oil price, 8,000 teachers out of a job tommorrow morning.

In the last 30 years the peso has lost over 63,000% of its value, to think that there is a bunch of experts behind this strategy would be foolish. To think that we can do something with whatever is left is beyond any expectation.

There is the need of really creative solutions to work within the system. The profesional organigram has to change. The new design of the contemporary artist can work as a "neo-conceptualizer". This new chore of the artist has to go beyond mere criticism or professional opposition - of course that makes the model of a museum obsolete -.

Juan José Díaz Infante
Curador de Altamira

"Es mucho mas importante la imaginación que el conocimiento"
Albert Einstein

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