The toyota land cruiser is to all cars as X is to set of x. And things about Panama

Monday, September 03, 2007


Someone commented on my post, and here I thought I was writing to myself. So here goes my response. Thanks for commenting, Daniel.

Ed, I am wondering about the nature of this poverty trap and some comments that you made about the erosion of the soil. Is the race for education capital being run against the land?

I don´t think "The race for education" runs against the land. Traditional farming where I live essentially means clear cutting rain forest, burning it, and then planting rice, beans,corn, or root crops on it. Planting coffee involves cutting down some of the underbrush, but the canopy remains intact, and much of the habitat for animals.

For soil errosion, coffee trees are permenant, and are much better at holding back soil than beans, or rice or clearing it for anything else, and if you mix in some soil errosion barriers to stop the errosion, even better.

Clearly diminishing returns off of the farm because of erosion would be a terrible burden. what is the general effect of growing coffee on the land? i ask this question for all those liberal folks loving their 'sustainable' coffee in the morning.

Coffee trees, and coffee harvesting, are better for the people economically, and in the long run better for the land. They can make enough money to buy as much corn, rice or beans as they would had they planted those crops on the same space , and still have some money left over. Also the soil errosion is much less and the large shade trees are left so the land is still worth more and more productive.

also could you comment on the possibilities of education? as you indicate that is the way out of poverty. is it sending children off to boarding school and then hoping that they stay in the city to work?

Yeah, they either have to board at a highschool, or they have to go to a city and live with a family as a house keeper, or live with older brothers or sisters that already live in the cities if they want to go to highschool. The only highschool that goes to 12th grade is a 6 hour walk away and it only offers agricultural. There are more courses of study offered off the reservation. If a student finishes highschool and maybe some college he or she can hope to get a job in the city and send money back, or get a job with the state working for one of the agencies or for the school system on the reservation.

Thanks a bunch for the comment, I hope this helps to answer some of the questions!