Re: Foucault, commodities & power

Nesta wrote:
>I am reminded of another anecdote. In the 19th century various ships
>visited the islands of Tonga, a country where no one ever starved, or
>died of cold. A visiting ship's captain - American I think - tried to
>persuade King Finau I - the Tongan equivalent of Qin shi Huang except
>without the terror, to introduce coinage. Finau refused, on the grounds
>that if they could stack up specie, the Tongans would cease to take part
>in the exchange of food and feasting which formed the backbone of the
>social system. They did however accept pigs, which when you think about
>it are simply ambulatory refrigerators. Warm stores, you might call
>them. A store of value, but self-limiting in that you cannot allow
>yourself to be overrun by pigs in the way that you can continue to put
>money in a bank. Pigs do not seem to have upset the ecology of exchange.

The story has its charm, but it (like your previous post) sounds not a
little like 'Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are
Caesar's...". And the story didn't prevent the incorporation of the Tongans
into the capitalist world economy. As of now Tonga seems dependent upon
tourism and remittance from expat Tongans, besides agriculture.

>The moral of the story is that other ways of thought are possible.

Surely other ways of _thought_ have been and still are possible. The point,
however, is how to put them into practice (without becoming ruined by
capital flight or the US military).


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