Pachamama Postcard

by Arnold Molder
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Like most people, I have been mesmerized by the spectacle of the current global financial crisis which has powerfully demonstrated the central influence of money in our lives.

The crisis revealed how money has developed from a simple medium of exchange into abstract and dangerous cybermoney, manipulated by central bankers, hedge fund managers and politicians, who are like the Wizard of Oz operating a virtual global casino.

A recent trip to the northern part of Argentina took me back to the origins of money. In my travels I followed the general route of the Inca trail, along the Andes from the colonial city of Salta to Jujuy, and up to the Bolivian border.

This backwater of local economy, in contrast to the impersonal nature of global markets, reminded me that money was invented to replace barter, to facilitate exchange and to make a broader range of transactions conveniently possible.

I was impressed by the diversity of products found in local bazaar-like markets, the locally produced garments (no Walmart labels), the many varieties of potatoes, spices, and the prevalence of the ancient quinua, the amino acid-rich miracle food of the Inca.

While the conquistadors forbade quinua cultivation, it has made a come back due to it’s re-discovery in recent times. The Incas called this ancient ‘grain’ chisaya mama, or mother of all grains.

Another closely related word, Pachamama, translates into Mother Earth. The term is deeply embedded in the minds of the native people who have an intimate relationship with the land and relate to it with reverence.

Mural of Pachamama Vision

Mural of Pachamama Vision

To my surprise I encountered their vision of Pachamama everywhere, in murals and collages made entirely of seeds and grains, in the names of restaurants and in write-ups on menus,
in music, songs, ballet, poetry and books.

In spite of globalization, which characterizes much of contemporary society, I saw little evidence of imported goods, but when I saw Quechua women with bowler hats, colourful multi-layered dresses, with babies carried in a blanket on their backs, pulling out cell phones, I knew that communication has gone global and reached even to the most remote places.

While the economic benefits and effects of globalization differ from country to country, modern communication seems to have a more equitable and empowering impact on individuals.

Among indigenous people of the Andes globalization is resisted because it symbolizes a homogeneous world where corporate profits take priority over social concerns.

They have taken a stand and formed the Pachamama Alliance, which is focused on the protection of the Amazon Rain Forest. The movement has been strengthened by the FourYears.Go awareness campaign designed to harness favorable public opinion via social media. It reminds us that we all live in an interdependent world. I hope you will take a look at this site.

These efforts are also aided by constitutional developments. In Ecuador the government successfully argued that the constitution, which had been handed down from colonial times, did not reflect indigenous culture or views.

The new constitution made Ecuador the first nation in the world to enshrine the ‘constitutional right of nature and the environment’.

I returned to Canada with the impression that these developments are like beacons, signaling a promising new fundamental direction for the world.

It certainly makes sense to me to recognize and protect the natural assets of the world, because ultimately we, and our economy, are completely dependent on them. Without Pachamama (Mother Earth) there is no future for us.

Arnold Molder

Dedicated to Global Sufficiency and Prosperity

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Jun 11, 2010
Sentiments I share!
by: KC

I love the points you make in this article. Very important in today's world. Maybe it is time for all of us to turn to more simplistic living.

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