Wednesday, 20 November 2013

GINS/Consumerism Mash-up

Consumerism spreads like a virus. Even the most secluded place now have caught it. The Tarahumara are in one of the most remote places on earth, the Copper Canyons, and still have a tribal society. However, their home has become a tourist trap. Many of the men wear jeans, they have instant noodles for food, and drink soda on a regular basis. The diet that once supported their running is gone now. A hotel development has been planned, featuring a fake Tarahumara village. We have perhaps lost the fine art of running to consumerism. The part-irony in that… consumerism consumes everything. I gather that because they can now buy modern goods and products, they pay sales tax. Now, some of the sales taxes should go towards schools houses being built for the Tarahumara… But it would appear not. I couldn’t find anything as to where taxes go in Mexico, except that they are trying to cut spending.

How are economic systems directly related to consumer choices?

I’m guessing the whole tourist trap started when people got interested in the Tarahumara, likely after Born to Run was published.  People wanted to see the Tarahumara and how they lived. Eventually, the state realized enough people went there for a hotel to be a good profit. A company is now planning a hotel, with that fake Tarahumara village and all that. Tarahumara women and children now sell little trinkets for money, or flat out ask for money, as sharing is an ancient Tarahumara value. Those tourists decided to go to the Copper Canyons, and that resulted in the loss of the Tarahumara identity and culture, already diluted by the Jesuit Missionaries in earlier centuries.

How would your consumer identity be different if you lived in a different nation?

This makes me wonder what it would be like to be a Tarahumaran. What would I buy other than jeans, instant noodles, and soda? The luxuries I live with right now would be unavailable. I wouldn’t have my hiking gear, a computer, video games, an ipod, headphones, a camera, probably not even an epi-pen or inhaler. That would certainly be a big difference for me. Only a basic education, no books either! I love books, and not having them seems an impossibility for me. I think I would be more focused on the necessities, not as much on the wants. It would certainly be a strange mix of modern and ancient, and even a refrigerator would mean I’d be lucky.

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