Gao Jie Consulting

Articles > Comments

Interesting article. My thought is that money might well work this way, but that perhaps a god way to handle the situation is to make such gifts dependent on the recipients' keeping their kids in school - after all, the kids don't deserve to be hampered by their unequal starts in life just because their parents do this or that with the money. Such an approach has been tried, on a very small scale and with small amounts of money, in Yunnan, and has been successful in keeping the kids in school.

@ Haali: I'm suspicious of official money-handling in the name of the poor as well, but I think maybe you misunderstand the problems that the poor have in handling money in an exploitative society, and their unfamiliarity in doing so - so I don't buy "and deserve to". Seems to me that education is something that, if someone gets it, it can't be taken away or lost in unequal competition with those who have more in terms of cash, ownership or power.

I'd probably just give the poorest people a lump sum of money to invest as they see fit. If they waste it, they will stay poor (and deserve to). If they invest it well, they can break out of the poverty trap. I can't see that kind of policy being popular with officials though - not much room for siphoning off money to themselves/family/friends.

I'm old enough to remember when tourists from the United States were reviled worldwide for their boorishness and ignorance. Then it was the turn of the snap happy Japanese. The Chinese will learn how to be "world travelers" like everyone else did. They may even get to like banana pancakes and go rafting and zip lining while out of their brains. Given I live here, I can hardly advise people to stay at home, but it is an option. As a friend once said to me, travel broadens the bum.

^But all part of the same ridiculous system. Why can't these people just rent hotel rooms in their home cities in which to play cards and eat crappy snacks, and then Photoshop themselves standing in front of a bunch of scenic area entrance gates around China and the world to post on their WeChat. It would save a lot of carbon emissions.

Thanks for this series.

Zomia is indeed being sliced and diced. For centuries, people have lived out their lives close to the land with success.

Now progress intrudes and a way of life disappears. Money replaces barter, electricity flows and folk are pushed aside. Cheap power and lights for China but little for people of Zomia.

Euh... just a tiny detail: both articles about the Kenya incident state that it was the (Chinese) tour guide who stabbed the (Chinese) tourists.

Not that I defend Chinese tourists that behave badly, but in this particular article they were not the culprits.

@ Peter: US ordinance lying around in Southeast Asia - reminds me of an old Tom Lehrer song from around 1962:

'"Ven za rockets go up who cares where they come down,
That's not my department,"' says Wernher Von Braun.

After a visit to Phonsavan area of Laos, thats around "Plain of Jars" there, seeing all the UXO going on - and whats been going on - you pretty much end up with the conclusion Western nations have nothing to moralize about when it comes to Laos. Or China, Vietnam, Thailand, in Laos. You got sattelites and ipads and whatnot and here we have a country bombed to oblivion some 40 years ago, and still having problems with this UXO. One main reason for the poverty. I used to think Western nations should demand more of Laos until realizing theres no moral ground at all. After a visit to Phonsavan.