Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Idiot Abroad

This is the most appropriate video I could find on YouTube from Sky 1's (British) An Idiot Abroad. But in this part of the episode, Karl Pilkington goes to visit a village in Mexico where descendants of the Mayans who built Chichen Itza still live. Here, they use the same methods of farming and feeding that their ancestors did thousands of years ago. Karl has to go with one of the men from the village to take a wasp's nest down from a tree, because they use the larva in the food that they eat. The man Karl is with says that eating wasp larva makes you big and strong... but let's be honest, eating tiny wasp larva does not make you big and strong, as Karl puts so very well. But I feel like this is a great example of a traditional economic system, as discussed in class. The descendants still live in a village where lessons and strategies for surviving are passed down from generation to generation, and where they don't stray to far from their old ways. For example, these people have never had bagged chips before. I mean it takes a lot to go through life and not know about Lay's potato chips. And they are still eating wasp larva, because that's just what they are taught. It's weird how there are still people today that use a traditional economic system after we have improved so much farther then that.

5 comments:

Smith said...

I found the video interesting because they are a tribal economic system yet they wear modern clothes and the host discussed leaving the village and going to get “crisps” in town. I wonder how far the village is from the town and why they would have the wherewithal to have modern clothes but no crisps. You bring up the point about they haven’t improved/advanced as a system/society. My question is have they had the opportunity or chosen not to?

Scott said...

I think that they have chosen not to and that it is not a question of economic system, but of tradition itself. The Mayans are an extinct people, and only their descendants, like those in the video, are there to carry on the traditions of their ancestors. I believe that they stick to their old ways to preserve the traditions of the ancient Mayans. This just so happens to be a traditional economic system. In the example that was in the video, the man and his brother had to collect the wasp larva to feed their own family, but the old man that Karl talks to, who is always happy, works in a field, that probably produces corn or another crop that is for the entire village. And I’ll bet you he is the only one that grows that crop!

Brittany said...

I think it's very admirable that they have found a way to bring together their ancestrial traditions with modern time. America has lost many of its own ancestrial methods of production. If you were to take kids out of a large city, and put them in an area where they would be expected to survive off their own skills, they would not be nearly as productive as a tribal child. It is very important that while we move forward with time, we still maintain key traits from history.

Brittany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peyton Moore said...

I think that Brittany brings up a very valid point. These days, especially growing up in private schools where most kids are pretty well off, not many people are very self-sufficient and not many could survive on their own. I know of so many families that pay to go out to eat every meal rather than cooking at home, and therefore the kids never learn how to cook on their own. I also know of kids that have had their moms clean up after them their whole lives and then don't know how to do a load of laundry once they're out of the house. Though those examples are a little extreme, we all rely on others everyday to get what we want if we can afford the price. Society has changed so much the past few decades. I couldn't imagine living in a world where if I had to make everything that i needed/wanted. Things are rapidly changing, and if this is the way our society is today, how dependent society is going to be the next few decades ahead.