Chronicling the Bottom Up
Connection Revolution

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Helena Norberg-Hodge; Economics of Happiness; Getting Local instead of Globalized

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Broadcast 2/15/2011 at 06:15:21 (0 Listens, 0 Downloads, 0 Itunes)
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Helena Norberg-Hodge; Economics of Happiness
producer and co-director of the film.

Her Bio:
Helena Norberg-Hodge is the founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) and its predecessor, the Ladakh Project. She is the author of Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh and co-author of Bringing the Food Economy Home. Her articles have appeared in numerous journals such as The Ecologist, Resurgence, and YES! magazine. Norberg- Hodge's ground-breaking work in the Himalayan region of Ladakh is internationally recognized, and earned her the Right Livelihood Award.

Rough, unedited notes from the interview

We need to decentralize...

international society for ecology and culture.

We have these two paths into the future which we can choose
economic globalization where businesses get bigger and more global, with life speeded up, les jobs.

or localizing, which diminishes environmental impact, increases jobs and increases connection-- so necessary for our well being, happiness...

have seen dramatic changs in Tibetan plateau-- Ladak-- and got birds-eye view of the impact of globalization on the Tibetan

Ladak-- a way of life that looked hard but was actually a fraction of the work that we have in the west. They got an amazing amount done because they had such a large group of people helping them, singing as they worked, having pauses and picnics and their local beer and celebration most of the time.

What's happening, through conventional schooling and the belief that the future is urban, as parents sent their children to school with hopes that they'll get a job in the city... there are very few jobs. It's a disaster-- a time bomb ticking away, a disaster, the young men, having been made to feel that their own language and culture is marginal and backwards.... most of the anger they feel is directed at government.

Rob: In the Arab world, they built colleges, but didn't create jobs.
I feel I understand that from seeing it in Ladakh and Bhutan.

Each group felt that their people would give their people (Muslim or Buddhist in Tibet, Buddhist or Hindu in Bhutan) ahead of others, and this lead to bloodshed. it made people feel that their own way, language, skin color was not valid. For young males-- that's a recipe for violence.

Being shoved into an urban ghetto where you don't even have access to clean water or the ability to plant and grow food. There's a lot that we can against this if we understood it better-- if there was a deeper dialogue between the first world and the third world. We need a much better understanding. In our work we've been trying to show that this approach does not meet our deeper human needs.

They took people of Ladakh to the west to show them.
In fact, the west is coming to them, it is actually a bombardment-- to every last yurt in Mongolia...

What they see is that there are very serious problems.
Suddenly the reality of our economy, where everything costs so much more, become obvious to people. They see how people work so hard, how lonely they are, how little time there is for famly, for singing. The realities of the price that we are paying for this debt based.

8 Inconvenient truths about Globalization--
expansion through media
loneliness, competition,
stress, time pressures

Global growth is making us run faster and faster for basic needs.
in the meanwhile our children are bombarded with adverts that make them belief that to get love and approval they have to get the latest things. It is a tragic manipulation of a human need -- to be loved, to have the approval of others.
Commercial media say that if you don't have the latest blue jeans or barbie doll

Separation and competiton
We have an epidemic of depression.
Seeking by young girls for surgery-- at an earlier and earlier age there is self-hatred.
in Japan Hiki Komori-- young men won't leave their bedrooms.

We must understand that so many of the negative feelings-- self blame, self hatred-- we and our chldren have been experiencing is based on a system based on ignorance.

The majority of people in these corporations don't comprehend ". what they are doing.

We are punishing and over-regulating smaller and national businesses while de-regulating for trans-national companies, removing obstacles for the freedom of giant businesses.

WTO persuades governments to do away with protection of their own businesses in favor of multinational businesses.

The EU-- European Union--
Had honest discussion about what deregulated trade would have on the environment, on the culture.

Import and export same amount in and out of a country-- 900,000 of beef gets shipped in, and 900,000 of beef gets shipped out. If that stops, multinational companies don't make money.

Smaller, privately owned businesses-- more efficient, productive, authentic, diverse-- all the interaction with the natural world-- primary production-- more labor, more human beings, means higher productivity per unit of land, of water, of soil, more employment and less pollution. Local food movement is demonstrating that when there is a shorter difference between delivery and production-- there is more diversity,

One farmer said to me, I was a farmer all my life and I felt like a serf, now in the farmer's market it's a different galaxy and he's gone from growing two things to growing 22 different thing. His land and his budget is flourishing.

When I arrived and met the Tibetan people, they were the happiest people I'd ever encountered-- joyous, bubbling, energetic. I learned to speak the language fluently and became fascinated by the culture.

This joy and well being was connected toa deep sense of self esteem which was connected to children growing up with so many loving aunts all around them, when made them feel loved and cared for. Seeing that deep self-respect and joy and then seeing how the commercial came in and managed to influence Tibetan children, even three year olds, that everything with their culture, their clothes, their food, was wrong. The message was if you want to be loved and appreciated by their peer group... you have to buy...

The beauty ideal had changed-- better to have lighter skin, taller, bigger nose-- like westerners.

Opened my eyes to the need for our children to be identifying with real role models. When y ou relate to real people you never think that people are perfect. They have a realistic expectation of their selves, which leads

Also works in Bhutan-- saw exactly the same parallel changes. Outsiders had not been allowed in and then they were opened up to outside development.
Suddenly into the local market things were transported that had taken days to get there, yet prices were lower than local goods. This was possible because the government was subsidizing roads, diesel generators, the use of fossil fuels. These subsidies are endemic to the globalization economy and lead to employing fewer people.

Why were the LadakhTibetans and Bhutan people protected? How did things change?

Partly leaders from within Ladak. Partly, it was political, and India wanted to make it known that it was owned by India.

In Bhutan there was a gradual sense that they needed contact with the outside world so they could not be so easily invaded or subjugated.

She was accused of being CIA, followed by secret police...
For a long time, India was between Russia and the Western world, and suspicious of westerners destabilizing the country.

In all of India, opening up to the outside world has been disastrous. It's not as though everything was perfect. The overall directon is absolutely disastrous-- moving to massive urbanization.

It's happening because structurally there is this link between big local business and the destruction of local producton for local needs.

In traditional culture there was a tremendous amount of interaction and most of your basic needs came from close to home.

Big businesses have become similar to top down fascist states or top down communist states-- very si milar to to

Anger against environmentalists, the left and big government but complete economic illiteracy that Big Business is behind the problems they face.

Working on smaller farms are a lot more fun-- there's a growing interest in farming among students.

How to relocalize:
Local food movement.

The big myth about industrial culture is that it is more efficient.
We can't afford the waste of industrial agriculture. it replaced people with machines. You grow food by destroying jobs, replacing people with fossil fuel burning, polluting machines.

We really need to move away from this highly polluting and wasteful form of production.

We have had no help from the mainstream media, from government or at first from foundations--

Linking up smaller independent businesses. Who work together to keep small business alive-- bank locally, rebuilding the conomic fabric so business is at a scale that business is more visible and accountable.

in order to have local trade we do not need to support giant multinationals that blackmail governments to serve their needs

The most people can do is to inform themselves

We need a campaign for economic change We can link together people with misguided anger at environmentalista and government, getting insight into how the economy actually works... there's a way that we can come together to support a healthier economy that will simultaneously support jobs and a healthy environment.

We've been amazed by the interest in the film. In a dozen cities, it's been standing room only.

It does threaten the narrow short term interests of big business.

what the world needs is a pause from this continuing globalizing deregulation.

How can people get involved-- do community screenings--
Charge an entrance fee and share it with them.

As people start waking up, from the bottom up, that's what's needed and that's what's happening.

As people start working in these local economies the old divides start falling, as they work at farmers markets.

Diversifying on the land reduces the need for pesticides. Localizing is almost a magical solution multiplier.

Without the help of the mainstream of the mainstream media or academia or funding from charities or government...

It's a testimony to human good will, perseverance and human creativity... it's really important "

human beings are not innately greedy, nasty, brutish people.... they long for...

There's no doubt if people are pinned up against the wall, people will fight for themselves. People prefer not fight.

Big government and big business are pushing this system on us
Our taxes are paying bonuses to fat cats who are trading with our lives.

We are told that the way to get out of this financial dilemma is to consume more-- that greater consumerism is the answer. This is total rubbish.

it has to do with caring for children, for each other, for the land, for the trees, the animals.. there's endless work. There's no natural scarcity for jobs on a crowded planet. There's a greater need for jobs. The current system blinds us to that truth.

Socialism, Capitalism, communism-- all have believes that work and technology will lead to progress-- Socialism and communism are dead. What's taken over is corporate capitalism based on the premise that smaller government is better and privatization is better...

The system we have today goes back quite a few hundred years. always driven by more technology and bigger, more global trade making things better.

Principle of comparative advantage-- as a region or nation you should specialize what you are good at and export and then import what you need. Monoculture-- large scale monoculture. This theory was posited in the 1700 when people were pushed off the land as slaves into mines, on plantations... We have to re-examine that principle. We have reached a point of blindly following this idea... favoring the multinationals over the small. It may never have been a good idea. To my knowledge no country or region has ever done what it could to enrich it's own economy for its own people with it's own land and resources.

In earlier days, we've had civil

Up to such a late date there were cultures that were living off their own land.
Expansionist civilization that arose out of Europe, which went global, was the problem. Globalization and expansion took on a very different effect with technology

Expansionism is basically the problem.

the creativity and wealth that can be achieved through localization...

By eradicating diveristy we basically ahve an eoncomic system that is on a suicide course...

if you imagine an economy that builds upon diversity... there's an amazing wealth of potential there.

gracious homes, delicious foods, beautiful clothing-- and we could be restoring ecosystems, using non-toxic ways that increase.

Needs to have a deeper grounding in global understanding and global collaboration-- bottom up movement of those people concerned with with environment, global warming, toxic waste

potential for linking up for global policy change.

Corporations are getting away with thinking that they have the moral high ground. They don't see their own shadow. Whether its the PR and advertising people or the scientists working with terminator genes-- they don't see the big picture.

The left is demonized. We are in a very dire situation becuase the dominant dialogue is blaming us for hurting job possibilities.

There's a lot of blindness inside and outside the corporations, We need to proceed without demonizing individuals or individual corporations.
In the US and the UK as well, there is a politics of identity-- there's more about who is doing rather than what they are doing and I think that

Dana meadows-- limits to growth-- said hope for the world is Monsanto

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Rob Kall is the host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360, where he discusses how the bottom up mind and bottom up revolution are reaching different areas of the world, of life, of politics, business, society and anywhere else.

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