Saturday, August 22, 2009


I just read Flat-Broke in the Free Market: How Globalization Fleeced Working People by Jon Jeter. He argues that globalization and especially the "neo-liberal" free-trade regimens imposed on developing economies by the IMF and World Bank have destroyed local, regional, and national economies by flooding them with cheap foreign goods. Sound familiar? Jeter's antidote: government investment in infrastructure, worker education, and research, regulated trade, higher taxes, and...Hugo Chavez (!?)

Then I read The New Mediterranian Diet Cookbook, which has really yummy sounding recipes, but I still found it annoying because of that tone which people adopt when they live in farmhouses in Cortona, Italy and they like to rub your face in it. And then they want you to have all these different cheeses and olives on hand to sprinkle everything with, as if everybody has time for hunting down ricotta salata.

Ka'u has amazing things to eat and they just kind of show up, if you've lived here long enough and been reasonable civil to everyone. Like pink and red mempachi (squirrelfish) with their big black eyes, to salt & fry crispy or make into soup with ginger, onions, and tomatoes. Just as ravishing.

Now I'm reading Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations by Brian Fagan (so far, amazing.)

1 comment:

Haole Wolf said...

The more small business competition there is, the more I am tempted to believe in a Free market system. The current world pendulum swing towards oligopoly, monopoly, and political neo-duopoly is so rigged as to be a parody of a dark economic morality play. Smaller is better in most things and even when it needs to be bigger, it's better when it feels smaller. (Ha!) I like how small and home-towny the Big Island feels.

Well, all those cheeses and olives make more sense in Italy, just not here on the Big Island (now Ka'u feral goat cheese sounds cool!). I like how it seems that in Ka'u, if you are civil, then the Free Market, is more, well, free. Fishing, hunting, nut and fruit trees -- along with creative recipes, these counter the monetization of food. More, please, about the New Ka'u Cookbook -- I'd like to hear about a few more mediterranean chefs scrambling to find hawaiian sea salt and mempachi...

Floods, Famines, and Emperors sounds wonderful. I read Collapse by Jared Diamond a couple of years ago -- interesting historical roots but less satisfying in analyzing the specific set of causes of societal collapses. How perfect it seems that something (el ninos) we knew very little about more than twenty years ago could have such a huge impact on past and present civilizations! I'm finishing Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell now; the chapter on the specific mix of causes behind Korean Airline crashes is pertinent to this -- how do specific cultural habits help handle or not handle the mix of natural or human stresses that occur and what sequence of things have to go wrong to spiral towards disaster, or societal collapse, or extinction.

Or, what recipes work right, and promote more diversity, community, deliciously nutritional diets...