Five Sentence Abstract:
First, a culture must be understood by closely watching and documenting the interactions between its members. Next, determine which of the current cultural tendencies can be exploited to introduce a, usually minor, change in habit. Care must be taken to limit the negative consequences, when possible, of the introduced change, which can be far reaching and non-intuitive. Education of the, primarily, younger generation can smooth the transition towards industrialization - children are educated to accept the constant change the new society will be subject to. Money economies and cash crops often obliterate a community - children can skip rites of passage by buying a herd of their own, cash crops introduce malnutrition, and foreign goods often displace traditional roles, such as factory produced clothing replacing woman spinning the family's clothing.
Look at how cultures react and find holes to which western values can be leaked
in. Eventually the idea is to atomize and break up the family. The
family support structure is then replaced by the state/administration.
How to get the people of Burma to stop lounging and socializing and get to
work! Similarly how to introduce the western ideal to Greece, Palau, and more.
Most of the societies described seem very slow paced, stress-free, and family
oriented. I would MUCH rather have those ideals than the keep up with the
Jones' attitude so prevalent now.
All about altering and exploiting patterns. It reminds me a lot of
permaculture. Toby Hemenway's site used to be called, (I think)
PatternLiteracy.com. Some permaculture concepts, like contour plowing and
permanent crops, appear in this book decades before permaculture. Bill Mollison
chastised the FAO, but was he a trojan horse? While this image is not very
strong evidence, it at least shows Mead influenced some permaculture groups.
Looking closer you find that Waste Warriors World is
steep in "change" terminology so present in social engineering operations. Mead
is quoted on the front page as well as a former London mayor. They even have a
section promoting an agency that you can report litterbugs to. Littering is
bad, but is an authority dishing out fines the way to stop it, and don't we have
bigger fish to fry?
Bennett is also mention as a soil conservationist, but in reading Yeoman's (a
close friend of Mollison) work you can see Bennett was of the opinion that soil
was lost forever when it was removed - that is would take thousands of years to
produce one inch of topsoil. Again, this is no evidence of collusion, but, as
with many other areas of social manipulation, there seems to be a short path
back to the Huxley's. Bennett->Mead->Bateson->Aldous (CIA) or
A common term used is "radical". As in radical change. This term is also
associated with such things as feminism, punk rock, and most recently radical
compassion. It seems that radical may be some kind of codeword used persuade
youth that what they are doing is not exactly what the powers that be want them
Lenin said: "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted."
- Tensions and Technology Series
Published in 1953 by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
19 avenue Kleber, Paris-16e
2nd impression, March 1954
Printed by The IJsel Press, Lid. Deventer (Holland)
Eliot D. Chapple
Dorothy Demetracopoulou Lee
Lawrence K. Frank (IPAC)1
Former Director, Caroline Zachry
Institute for Human Development
1 IPAC:American Regional Interprofessional Advisory Committee, World Federation
for Mental Health.
John Adair, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Ithaca, New York
Leona Baumgartner, M.D.
Assistant Commissioner in charge of Maternal and Child Welfare
New York City Department of Health
125 Worth Street
New York, New York
Carl Binger, M.D.
Director, Mary Conover Mellon Foundation for the Advancement of Education
125 East 73rd Street
New York, New York
Eliot Chapple, Ph.D.
President, the E.D. Chapple Company
61 West 55th Street
New York 19, New York
Bingham Dai, Ph.D.(IPAC)
Professor of Mental Hygiene and Psycho-therapy
Medical School, Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
Frank Fremont-Smith, M.D.
Medical Director, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation
565 Park Avenue
New York, New York
Elizabeth Hoyt, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics Iowa State College
Ames, Iowa (on leave of absence at present at
the Institute of Social Research, Makerere
College, Kampala, Uganda)
Otto Klineberg, M.D.,Ph.D.(IPAC)
Professor of Psychology
New York 27, New York
Mary Fisher Langmuir, Ph.D.
Professor of Child Study
also Director of Vassar Summer Institute
also President, Child Study Association of America
Margaret Mead, Ph.D. (IPAC)
Associate Curator of Ethnology
American Museum of Natural History
New York 24,New York
William Menninger, M.D.
General Secretary, Menninger Foundation
Michel Pijoan, M.D.
Chief of Medical Service
Navaho Medical Center
Fort Defiance, Arizona
Nina Ridenour, Ph.D. (IPAC)
Director, Division of Education
National Association of Mental Health
N e w York, New York
Nathan Sinai, M.D.
Professor of Public Health
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Edward Spier, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology and Sociology
University of Arizona
George S.Stevenson, M.D. (IPAC)
National Association for Mental Health
New York, New York
John Useem, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Michigan State College
East Lansing, Michigan
Note. All biographical and bibliographical details are as of June 1951.
- it [this survey] does give numerous examples of the
serious consequences which may follow upon the changes called for in the name
of economic progress.
When men and women with technical skills set out to help in shaping new
developments in a country or a culture other than their own, there are
clearly many more possibilities of producing unfortunate consequences.
Sometimes great harm can be done to the people of that country, especially
through the creation of social psychological stresses
and the disorganization of family and community life.
J. R. REES, Director, World Federation for Mental Health
Chapter 1: Introduction
This survey is directed toward the implications for the mental health of the
peoples of the world, who are involved in purposive introduction of technical
What is new in the twentieth century world is the conscious application of
our new knowledge of human behaviour, derived from the findings of
psychiatry, clinical psychology, child development, cultural anthropology and
sociology, to the problems of child rearing and adult functioning in such a way
as to preserve and increase the mental health of whole populations.
the findings of the clinician and the research team were translated into
recommendations for infant care, education,
personnel relationships in industry, governmental administrative practices,
community organization, and the content of mass media, was given its first
explicit international expression in the International Congress for Mental
Health, convened in London in 1948. The International Preparatory Commission
Here it is possible only to indicate the promise
which the social sciences and psychiatry hold out of reducing the toll of
human waste and suffering and promoting social well being. Fulfilment of this
promise rests largely on the hope of full co-operation between the social
scientist and the administrator, who should be fully aware of the new vistas of
human achievement opened up by the social sciences. While far more has to be
learnt than is now known it is evident that we stand on the threshold of a new
epoch of the science of man... and affirmed, “this, then, as we see it,
is the ultimate goal of mental health to help men to
live with their fellows in one world”. "World Federation for Mental
Health". 1948, p. 11.
- // Change always occurs and sometimes upsets the order;
controlling the change is also nothing new.
This survey is based on the assumption,itself drawn from field work among
many kinds of societies, that a change in any one part of the culture will be
accompanied by changes in other parts, and that only by relating any planned
detail of change to the central values of the culture is it possible to provide
for the repercussions which will occur in other aspects of life. This is what w
e mean by “cultural relativity”: that practices and beliefs can and must be
evaluated in context, in relation to the cultural whole.
Some cultures, like that of the Tiv (Section III), are so tightly integrated
that any change threatens the whole; others, like that of the Palauans
(Section III), are characterized by a traditional pattern of manipulating
events, which makes it much easier to introduce particular changes without
disturbing the whole way of life.
the nature of the human beings who must act as parents, as citizens,
taxpayers, consumers, members of audiences, as pedestrians and users of
trans- port, and who follow diversified occupations-farming, herding, teaching,
A change from a monarchical to a republican form of government affects not
only those who were heir to the monarchy, but also the status of all those
who were defined as commoners, and monarchical
attitudes may, of course, be preserved in another form.
one may learn to respond to rewards or punishments, or merely react with
terror to unusual situations; to prefer death to dishonour, or dishonour to
under situations of stress and strain, of rapid change and consequent
disorientation, there is likely to be an increase in manifest mental ill
health. As all social change must take place through
individuals, the task of devising ways of reducing the ill effects of
such change by strengthening the individuals who must function within a
changing situation, and of developing ways of rearing
children to whom social change is not disorienting, is a mental health
The Committee therefore holds the view that it is only by the preventive
application of psychiatric knowledge that mental health problems can
ultimately be solved.' United Nations, WHO, Technical Report Series,No. 9, p.
New industrial practices, for example, may make it
necessary for peasant populations to move to the city; such a removal
will contain many elements of possible disruption and dis- orientation which
must be guarded against, possibly by such measures as have been suggested for
the Greeks of leaving the wives, at least for an initial period, in the
villages, as Greeks are already well accustomed to situations in which the
husbands must go away to earn a living.
- What is better as a substitute for a magical practice, a modern medical
practice disguised as magic or openly
recognized as medicine? Such questions must always be worked out on the spot,in
cooperation with members of the culture in which the change is to be introduced
- nor [is this survey] to deal with the very complex
problems which are involved in reducing the death rate while the birth rate
- [new programs] initiated on a world scale by the
farsightedness and awareness often of a single administrative official.
- “The Tiv of Nigeria” is a study in tight integration of a homogeneous culture
before it lost its essential primitive quality. “Greece” is a study of an
ancient European Christian culture with a long historical tradition, oriented
towards attitudes towards the individual and the self. “Burma” is a study of a
South-East Asian Buddhist culture with a newly acquired natural unity. The
Palauans, although a small, recently primitive, island people,are presented in
“Palau” as an example of a culture which equips its members to manipulate
social change. “The Spanish Americans” is a study in the conservatism of a
Catholic Spanish-speaking people in the midst of an English-speaking indus-
trially oriented society.
There is one important aspect of this problem which
has been purposely omitted from this survey: the question of the extent to
which the special preoccupations and value systems of the members of
international teams, drawn from Western cultures or educated in Western values,
affect the work which such teams are able to do. It has been felt that
such discussions, which must deal explicitly and self-searchingly with the
defects as well as the strengths of the value systems of professional groups in
British or American, Netherlands or French culture, as the case may be, should
come from inside these societies. Two volumes, directed to the problems of American technicians administering programmes of
change, are in preparation 1 These will contain a careful consideration
of the special set of values which American experts carry with them into other
societies, whether these are enclaves within the United States or peoples in
other parts of the world.
1 Conrad Arensberg,n.d. John Adair and Edward H. Spicer. n.d. The first
study will deal with problems related to Point Four allowing for American
cultural bias. The second study will consist of case studies within the United
States, together with comparative materials.
Chapter 2: The International Setting of Technical Change
among the functions of the Economic and Employment Commission of the Economic
and Social Council is the promotion of full employment and advice to the
Council on “problems of economic development in less developed areas and of
economic expansion in general”.
“The less developed areas”, which are now generally referred to as
“economically under-developed areas”
President of the United States in his inaugural address of 20 January 1949,
which launched the “Point Four” programme. President Truman stated that
“greater production is the key to prosperity and peace. A n d the key to
greater production is a wider and more vigorous application of modern
scientific and technical knowledge”.
- United Nations, Economic and Social Council. E/1327/Add. 1 and Add. 2.
stated therein that “it is impossible to define
economic development precisely or in absolute terms”. As a process,
which is nowhere complete and nowhere absent,“it is the product of simultaneous
developments in many fields”. It is stated that it involves in particular “an
increase in productivity-a more efficient use of resources to produce more and
better food,clothing, shelter and the other necessaries and amenities of
life,at a less heavy cost in human toil and hardship”. It is further stated:
Economic development has far-reaching implications for all aspects of life. It
makes possible higher standards of nutrition, health, and education. It permits
an increase of leisure and opens up new
intellectual frontiers. Given a wide and equitable
distribution of its benefits, it is likely to result in a substantial
increase in the security of the individual and in social stability.
Any comprehensive programme of economic development
will involve far-reaching changes in the social and economic structure of an
under-developed country. . .
In some countries existing social institutions may hamper economic
modernization. Obsolete and oppressive systems of land tenure, and inadequate
credit and marketing facilities may retard agricultural development. . .
Far-reaching changes may also be necessary in the attitudes and habits of the
people. Workers for newly developed industries must be
drawn largely from the farm population, whose families may have lived on the
land for centuries; they must adjust themselves to new surroundings and learn
new work habits and disciplines.
Traditional methods of soil cultivation and handicraft must often be
modernized. New crops and new breeds of livestock may be introduced. These
changes will often impose considerable psychological and social strains but
those strains may be greatly eased and their duration shortened if an effort is
made to make the economic development programme itself and the changes which
are necessary for its success as widely understood as possible among those
whose interests are affected.
Social justice is a prerequisite for peace. The IL0 will promote improvement of
labour conditions, especially where injustice, hardship and privation to large
numbers of people exist, by furthering:
regulation of hours of work, including the establishment of a maximum working
day and week;
the regulation of the labour supply;
the prevention of unemployment;
the provision of an adequate living wage;
the protection of the worker against sickness, disease, and injury arising out
provision for old age and injury;
the protection of children, young persons, and women;
protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than
recognition of the principle of freedom of association:
the organization of vocational and technical education and other measures.‘
- FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization)
Common welfare will be promoted by the FAO by means of action toward
raising levels of nutrition and standards of living of the peoples. . .;
securing improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of
all food and agricultural products;
bettering the condition of rural populations and thus contributing toward an
expanding world economy.2
- UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)
The nations who established Unesco believe in “full and equal opportunities for
education for all,” “unrestricted pursuit of objective truth,” and ‘‘free exchange
of ideas and knowledge”. Unesco believes that the intellectual and moral solidarity
of mankind is essential for lasting peace and the “education of humanity for
justice, liberty, and peace” are the sacred duty which all nations must fulfill.
Unesco will further:
mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples;
popular education and the spread of culture;
maintenance, increase and diffusion of knowledge.
(A special clause in Article I, on Purposes and Functions of Unesco, states:
With a view to preserving the independence, integrity and fruitful diversity
of the cultures and educational systems of the States Members of this Organization,
the Organization is prohibited from intervening in matters which are essentially
within their domestic jurisdiction.)’
- WHO (WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION)
“Attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health” is the principal
objective of WHO, and health is defined as a state of “complete physical, mental,
and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
The aims of W H O are not only to further protective measures, such as the
elimination of reservoirs of communicable diseases, but also to promote measures
toward positive health by means of public health education in the widest sense.
Among the principles enunciated by Member States of WHO in its charter, the
following are directly relevant to the social aspects:
Healthy development of the child is of basic importance; the ability to live
harmoniously in a changing total environment is essential to such
Governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can
be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.$
- UNICEF (UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S EMERGENCY FUND)
By its own definition,Unicef is “an international co-operative on behalf ofchildren”
and is designed to make a permanent contribution to child welfare. From concen-
tration on child feeding to meet postwar emergency needs following cessation of
Unrra activities in 1946, when Unicef came into being, the organization is in-
creasingly turning toward long standing problems of maternal and child welfare
and works closely with W H O in this field.8
- ICAO (INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION)
This organization is responsible for drawing up and maintaining the basic code
of international practice in all matters pertaining to civil aviation and among its
objectives is to ensure the safe and orderly growth of international civil aviation
throughout the world, as another important facet of international co-operation
conducive to peace3
- BANK (INTERNATIONAL BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT)
The International Bank was established “to assist in the reconstruction and
development of territories of members by facilitating the investment of capital
for productive purposes, including the restoration of economics destroyed or
disrupted by war, the reconversion of productive facilities to peacetime needs
and the encouragement of the development of productive facilities and resources
in less developed countries.” The promotion of long-range balanced growth of
international trade and the maintenance of financial equilibrium in member
countries “thereby assisting in raising productivity, the standards of living
and conditions of labour in their territories” are among the principal purposes
of the BANK.’ ”
- IMF (INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND)
Established for the purpose of consultation and co-operation on international
monetary problems, FUND, like B A N K , hopes to facilitate the “expansion and
balanced growth of international trade” which, in turn, would contribute to the
“maintenance of high levels of employment and real income and to the development
of the productive resources” of member countries.2
- Experts should be chosen not only for their technical competence, but also
for their sympathetic understanding of the cultural backgrounds and specific
needs of the countries to be assisted and for their capacity to adapt methods
of work to local conditions,social and material.
INTERNATIONAL BODIES CONCERNED WITH TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
On this chart the circled units are those actually or potentially concerned
with the implementation of technical assistance. Basic units are linked by
solid lines. Closed line circles indicate functioning units; open line circles
United Nations Specialized Agencies and International Organizations
BANK: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization
FUND: International Monetary Fund
ICAO: International Civil Aviation Organization
ILO:International Labour Organisation
IMCO: lntergovemmental Maritime Consultative Organization
IRO: International Refugee Organization
ITU : International Telecommunication Union
UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientificand Cultural Organization
UNICEF: United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
UNRWA:United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the
UPU: Universal Postal Union
WHO : World Health Organization
United Nations Bodies created for the Expanded Programme of Technical Asskiancc
TAA:Technical Assistance Administration (UN)
TAB: Technical Assistance Board
TAC:Technical Assistance Committee of the Economic and Social Council
Regional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council
ECAFE: Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East
ECE: Economic Commission for Europe
ECU : Economic Commission for Latin America
SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT:
Population and migration questions in relation to economic and social
Housing, community development, town and country planning
UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION:
Fundamental and adult education
Materials for education and mass communications
Technical needs for Press, film and radio
Training of teachers
Scientific research and training
Survey of natural resources (in collaboration with United Nations and Specialized
Protection of local cultures
Exchange policies and practices, including exchange rates, restrictions,
special arrangements, etc.
- // Experts and demonstration projects train
populations funded by BIS and IMF.
Chapter 3: Studies of Whole Cultures
the introduction of government by legal precedent and direct executive
decision was difficult for Burmese and Western administrators alike. The
presence of the “circle of villages” under the administration of one headman
looked like, and was converted into, a district form of administration
Their personal autonomy belied the pattern of interdependence of young
children on parents and old parents on children.
Until 1824, the Burmese were voluntarily cut off from the world, interested
in trading neither goods nor ideas with the outside world.1 They were a
people without either great poverty or great accumulated wealth. Predominantly
rural, they lived in villages that were practically autonomous, without
policemen, without enforcement of law or external authority, and with very
little crime or litigation. Their lives, like their villages, were centred
about a monastery, which gave their private lives and the life of the village
focus and rhythm. Most of the men were literate;the women had a great degree of
responsibility in agriculture and in domestic and monetary matters. The land
was rich, and wants were simple; there was much time for festivity, dancing,
races, and dramatic performances. Work was performed without compulsion, and
there seems little evidence of anxiety. Building a fortune was not a pattern
offered to the individual. The guiding principle was to increase in merit so as
to be reincarnated at a higher stage of development, and merit resulted not
from accumulating but from giving, not through inheritance but through one’s
own achievement, not from anxiety but from doing good deeds, and not from
charting new paths into the future but from going along a known route.
The first effective contacts with Western civilization were commercial. Teak
was exported, cotton goods imported. Entry into the nineteenth century money
economy meant a change in the level of aspiration of the Burmese, who had to learn to want and value material
things instead of concentrating on immediate states of being, to spend their
money for foreign goods and their labour in making money to buy these goods
rather than devoting their small traditional surpluses to religious gifts that
would increase their personal merit.
With the expansion of commerce,there was a need for more labour and, as so frequently happens when the speed of economic
development outruns any change in the traditional needs and incentives of a
non-industrialized population, the Burmese were unwilling to provide all of
this labour. In response to the need for labour, large numbers of Indian and Chinese immigrants entered the
country. Such immigration was not only welcomed
by the administration but was even subsidized upon occasion.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, about two-thirds of the population of the six large industrial
towns consisted of immigrant foreigners.2 In 1942, Christian stated that
there were 2,000,000 first generation immigrants in Burma.3
The Burmese were absolute believers in personal worth and inviolability; they
did not try to impose their religion, their ways, or their knowledge on other
populations. If such groups were “segregated”, it was because they also
preferred their own customs. If they had their own chieftains, it was because
there were such autonomous units throughout Burma;all rule was by such personal
allegiance, from the unit of the village circle to the association of
palm-sugar manufacturer~.~ All status, except that of the king, was achieved,
and achievement was open to anyone through accumulation of merits,
strengthening what they called the kan, a term by which we might understand
personality or personal potency or luck; and with a strong kan, education could
lead to status through attainment of office, or by way of the monastery.1
Distinctions of rank were very important and were constantly made, but did
not depend on birth. Potentially, all men were born equal, whatever their
race, allegiance, or religion.
Traditionally, the monastery has been the focus of
village life. The duty-day services at the pagoda, which the villagers with their families attended every eight days in
festive array and with festive foods, punctuated the Burmese month, providing
highly social occasions.3
- spiritual merit was accumulated, rather than material
- And deeds of some degree of merit were within everyone’s power; therefore,
achievement and rise in status were open to everyone: “as you desire, so you
get”.4 //sounds like do what thou wilt...
- There was profound conviction of personal inviolability carried, in Western
eyes, to extremes. Hall says if a villager saw a man about to cross a bridge
he knew to be’broken, he would give no warning, assuming the other knew what he
was about. If a man was seen attempting suicide, no one would try to stop him.
If a man was in obvious desperate straits, no one would offer help; but they
would be ready to help if requested. To volunteer help was discourteous ; it
signified an attempt to interfere with personal autonomy. The Burmese valued
and sought personal strength, but not as power over others, and to offer help
would be a bid for power on one hand, and on the other, a reflection on
This system encroached upon “the autonomy of the circle by interfering with
its internal administration” ; however, the headmen unofficially retained
much of their original authority, since it was theirs by right and tradition.
By the end of the nineteenth century, these
discrepancies between assumed form and actual practice had been
administratively corrected. For the sake of efficiency, the district-the old
circle-was cut up into villages, and the village became the largest
self-governing unit. New duties were imposed upon villagers and headmen, heavy
penalties for non-compliance were introduced, but no new rights were conferred.
The village itself was now converted from “a social and residential unit into
an administrative unit”. The new system “cut at the roots of organic social
life within the village”.1
When the organic unity of the village was shattered, when external authority
with penal sanctions was substituted for the authority inherent in a
traditional way of life, the traditional guiding principle of social conduct
was destroyed and there was nothing to take its place. With the increase in
population, and the breakdown of traditional patterns of behaviour, [ people started chasing profit, police were needed, law fell
During the months when there was no work in the fields, the men loitered at
home to receive visits or went visiting, or they gambled. Good conversation
They would not sell their land, however useless it might be, and under
Burmese law, if they did “sell” it, it was understood that they always had
the right to redeem it. They could not lose it to a
- A man’s riches consisted of his learning, his family, and his good name; his
pride lay in being celebrated and feared for the strength of his mind and
body. A woman’s riches consisted of her beauty and her pride lay in her ability
to talk in a pleasant and amusing way.3
- No man can assume true manhood, or even true humanity, unless he has assumed
the yellow robe of the monk, if only for a few days; it usually happens when
a boy is around 15.
- But intensive health work shows that good results can be obtained. When
infant mortality was 225 in the cities and 176 in rural areas, Heggu
township-where the Rockefeller Foundation was in operation -had an infant death
rate of 124.6
- The British Administration introduced vernacular
schools, giving instruction in the villages, and Anglo-vernacular
schools in the large centres, where teaching in English began after the fourth
year and where all subjects were taught in English at the high school level.
Many missionary schools were also established. In some cases, these tended to alienate the pupils from their
culture, as they emphasized respect for Western ways, and children
attending them often found if difficult to adapt themselves to their
communities after they finished school.
The lay schools, whether governmental or missionary, stressed success in
examinations above all. Morality and discipline
deteriorated, and, in 1932, the Director of Education noted that
districts with the best record for education had the worst record for crime.1
Even youngsters from the villages, brought to the city for short courses in
modern farming methods, do not want to return where they can impart and apply
this knowledge. They prefer to stay in town and seek a white-collar job. This
is, of course, a very common characteristic of the educated groups in countries
in which higher education is developed before industrialization.
There had been a tradition for Upper Burmese who were landless to go to Lower
Burma for the harvest as labourers. Now more of them went down, and found
that they could get wages which in about two years would enable them to own and
cultivate land of their own; and there was a continuous colonization from Upper
Burma. But here the villages were new, usually without a monastery, and without
traditional law, and the peasants were not protected against losing their land.
Unsophisticated in financial matters, unused to a money
economy, the peasants soon fell into irremediable debt and lost their
lands-something that had been impossible in their old villages, where,
even if a man did “lose” his land, he had the right to reclaim it. The
landowners now became tenants and the land was concentrated in the hands of
rich men to whom it was merely another financial enterprise.
It was also profitable to them to put the land out at auction every year,
leasing it to the highest bidder. This meant that even as a tenant, a man
could have no continuity with the land. And it was cheaper to hire seasonal
labour, so that there was no continuity of operation either; preparing the
earth, ploughing, planting, reaping and threshing, were all done by different
groups of labourers. This was just labour for money. Agriculture became an
industry, and Burma became a “factory without chimneys”. No longer was the
cultivation of land the making of a living or way of life; it was now “earning
Lower Burma has actually changed more than Upper Burma. There it was
estimated in 1930 that 50 per cent of the land was in the hands of absentee
individual proprietorship of land was substituted for the Burmese custom of
family possession; they made it possible for the individual to borrow on his
own, to leave his family,and to embark on individual enterprise. In terms of
Western values, this was economic progress, which in turn meant social
progress. The Burmese were encouraged to give up their traditional ways which
seemed wasteful and inefficient, and to abandon their elaborate time-consuming
festivals, their handicrafts, their delicately shaped and carved cargo
boats-the sailing of which was an art and a joy, but which could be replaced
much more inexpensively. As usually happened under conditions of East-West
contact in the nineteenth century, the people came to prefer the often shoddy
but inexpensive machine-made article to their own handicraft products, and
learned to substitute individual economic aspirations for the traditional
aspirations of their culture.2
Presently the organic unit was atomized. Under the
stress of administrative changes, which destroyed the organic basis of
the village and of orderly behaviour as the way of the village, and under the
stress of economic change, which atomized the family and introduced
money-making as an incentive, individuals began to take up the common land
which had been protected under a subsistence economy.
- Upper Burma is more ready to accept change. Here the people are still close
to their land and are ready to improve it; and here it is not difficult to
see that there is room for improvement.
- Individualism is prized and rampant; yet there is no atomization.
Self-esteem is paramount, and rests on freedom and self-dependence; yet Greeks do not seek freedom from the family, and do not
lose self-esteem when they are dependent on the family.
- Changes in the areas of agriculture and health were introduced under the
direction of the Rockefeller Foundation. In the thirties, the dictator
Metaxas introduced a number of changes by fiat, which
ran counter to Greek values, but many of which were accepted gratefully by
people wearied of political dissension and lack of leadership.
They take on the attitudes of the Western World, using clocked time in
business and living a life relatively pressed for time, adopting to some
extent the Western scientific approach and objective external limits,instead of
the more animistic approach and the body- patterned limits of traditional Greek
people go to tour the country or the world, instead of going to visit a
relative or a family friend or a miraculous shrine.
The differences are there but the similarities are more basic. The Athenians,
working by clock time, strain at their bonds, and do not allow time to
dictate to them in private life; and Athenian newspapers, announcing the hour
of the lecture, have to remind people that it is important to be prompt at such
their philotimo [honor] would not allow them to
expose to outsiders their failure and inadequacy. However, Greeks will accept
aid when it is their right within a structured relationship; they will accept
it as their share from the nation for which they have fought, or from the
nation which they have helped in its war against the forces of evil; and Greeks
stand firm in the knowledge that they were vital in bringing about the defeat
of the Nazis by delaying Hitler’s plans.
// How to trick Greeks into accepting the welfare
The office which is in charge of the ECA activities now reminds the people of
the different villages that the destruction has been nationwide, that the
need applies to all the Greeks, and so makes it bearable, and saves their
Parents are urged to be firm of will with their children from birth, and to
see that the children develop steadfastness.
Fortitude and hardihood, firm will, a love of simplicity in food,
entertainment, furnishings, the standard of living in general, are common
traits. Greeks will smoke only a few cigarettes a day, drink within measure
and eat in moderation; excess is disliked. Fortitude is an ever-present
quality; the philotima brooks no calculation of danger or pending pain before a
step is taken. If a thing is worth doing, the price to be paid for it is
irrelevant; and you are able to do it because you are strong and firm.
- discipline is a positive, liberating, guiding
element in the Greek personality: the simple life is a joy and is also
freeing,since it creates few demands, few dependencies on the external.
Self-discipline and self-control are not prohibiting; they are incentive.
Almost everyone creates songs ; love songs at the village festival, dirges,
lullabies, songs of the way of life, songs of work, songs of one’s village
and of nature.
A statement or a question is countered by a challenging question. Tact and
gentleness have no part here, insults are hurled, attacks are made, within
the appropriate limits. A discussion is a battle of personal opinion, and its
end is neither to reach the truth nor to reach a conclusion; its end is sheer
enjoyment of vigorous speech.
The hair is a focus of erotic attraction.
- All relationships start with the body and continue along lines of
physiological relatedness. They are extended along lines of concrete personal
contact. Greeks travel, but mainly along a chain of personal relationships;
they go to see a friend of a relative of a friend, and the end, however
distant, is concretely linked through persons with the original person.
Progress is amelioration of the concretely experienced, or the benefit of
immediate relatives or friends or linked persons. The new can be introduced,
not for the benefit of mankind or even the Greeks, but for the benefit of
people along related lines, and better still, [the new]
can be introduced by a known and respected intermediary.
- Figures on a chart mean very little to Greeks, and when they refer to people,
may even be offensive. Foundations, such as the Near East Foundation, which
have recognized this, have been successful in their
relations with Greeks and in the introduction of desirable changes. They
realized that they had to use not impersonal scientists but people who were
predominantly leaders, with scientific knowledge, people who were willing to go and live in the villages, and
make the acquaintance of the peasants over coffee in coffee houses. And
the villagers fell in with the proposals for new hygienic methods and child
care and artificial insemination because they had respect for and faith in the
man who made the proposals.
- Obedience is very important and is taught to a child almost from birth ; but
again, this is obedience within a structured whole, to the parents, older
siblings, and to people who stand in this relationship; that is, to friends of
the parents or of older relatives, or appropriately introduced older people.
Authority comes only from place in this structured whole, and obedience is only
to people. Government is not personal, and the law is external to the organic,
structured whole. It is not the voice of Greece. There is therefore no
obligation to obey the law; the guide to conduct here is expediency, and the
ability to circumvent. Before the political centralization, there was obedience
and lasting loyalty to the schoolteacher. Now he represents only the
interfering authority of the government, and it is an accepted thing that the
students should try to circumvent his authority in every way they can,playing
tricks on him and otherwise treating him as an enemy, since he is outside of
the web of their loyalties.
To work compulsively is to be a slave to work; and what can be worse than
Greeks who emigrated to the United States to earn money for their sisters’
dowries, or for land needed by the family, worked incredibly long hours, but
neither through external nor through inner compulsion. They worked at their
own shoeshine booths, or their own fruit-stands or restaurants; they took on
unfamiliar occupations such as cooking, rather than submit to an employer.
He [Greek child] goes visiting and to social
gatherings with the family, by day or by night, though pediatricians protest
against the latter practice.
a Greek child does not celebrate his birthday. What is celebrated is the day
of the saint after whom the child is named, and it is his family who
celebrate. Old and young come to congratulate the family, and to wish that it
shall enjoy the child for many years. The family,
containing the child, is the focus, not the child himself.
The Greek family is family-oriented. It makes room for the child, and the
mother expects to spend much time nursing the child, expects her cooking to
be slowed down because of the constant presence and participation of the child.
On the other hand, the child is not the focus, and the rhythm of activities
does not change with the coming of the child. There are no special mealtimes
for the child, neither are the family mealtimes shifted to accommodate its
needs. If the father leaves the fields or closes his store on the child’s
nameday, it is be- cause the family is celebrating. The child in the family is
neither outstanding nor disruptive; but he is important, since he is accorded
a definite place within the structured family.
In a Greek family the members spend much time together. The children learn to
enjoy being with the adults, and to listen to their conversation, which is
not trimmed down to meet the children’s interests.
- On the other hand, a father does try to see to it that he gives some property
to every child, to sons for farming, to daughters for a dowry. This is at the base of much of the agricultural difficulty
facing Greece at present, since fields have been divided, often into strips
measuring a fraction of an acre, and require consolidation before effective use
of mechanized farm implements can be made, as well as for contour farming and
- "For the Mother" urges young people to choose mates with a view to progeny.
As a sanction, it mentions that the ancient Greeks
urged eugenic marriages; and that the term “eugenics” was invented by
Xenophon. Young people are advised to see a doctor before making the
final decision. They are further advised to choose according to firmness of
flesh and orderliness of features and limbs, for seriousness tempered with
cheerfulness, for optimism implemented by effective energy. Marriage with kin,
and with people having family histories of tuberculosis, syphilis, alcoholism,
psychasthenia, is to be avoided.
- There are pre-natal clinics as well as well-baby clinics, maintained by the
state in the cities and provincial centres.
- City people eat mostly white bread. In general, city food, which conforms in
externals more closely to the list of the nutritionists, actually seems to be
inferior to that of the provinces. And city health is reported to have been
much below that of the provinces, even at a time when the villages were
suffering from the deprivations of the civil war.
- Plans introducing agricultural and other change are formulated by
foreign or foreign-trained technicians who say: “When I get to be...
I shall do...” for people who say: “If I were... I would do”; there
is a chasm between these two views of life.
The Tiv of Nigeria
They offered effective resistance to British occupation over a long period,
not through organized resistance, but through their very lack of central
Little technical change has been effected among the Tiv. However, a shattering social change was introduced through an
edict forbidding exchange marriage. This, more than anything else, gave the
younger generation the opportunity and the ability to question traditional
ways, authority of the elders, the kinship interrelationships, and in general,
the very foundations of the culture. So, though technical change itself was not
directly introduced, the mental attitude which makes such change acceptable,
which allows an individual to carve his own future with new tools instead of
taking his place in the security of a pre-established pattern based on human
relationships, has already been introduced.
We shall also describe the far-reaching changes
effected in the culture through manipulation of one of its traits, to
show the interdependence of the different aspects and attitudes among the Tiv.
- In the interest of human rights, they [British
administrators] told the women that they were now free to choose whom they
would marry, and free to divorce a man who was unacceptable; or so, at
any rate, the Tiv women interpreted the ruling
- The abolition of exchange marriage meant the
introduction of individualism. A man could now get a wife through his
own efforts, without waiting his turn, which depended upon the priority of
claims within the group, and without dependence on his father. In addition, to
get a wife he had to please a woman; his acts were motivated by future aims,
not by the established past.
- With the end of World War II, the American forces assumed full administrative
responsibility for all of Palau, and this group of islands was transferred
formally [from?] to American trusteeship ; the Trust
Territory came into being legally in July 1947.
Contact between the foreign and native economic systems began with the
intermittent visits of private traders who were eagerly welcomed by the
natives; and the German and Japanese eras brought about the dual economy.
Production for profit was made a central theme; the
virtues of the work ethic were indoctrinated into the younger generations
through schools; incentives for output were offered in foreign goods.
Numerous new crops and livestock were introduced. Scientific experiments in
agriculture were undertaken and the findings taught to native farmers.
Implements suitable to the local industries were sold at a modest price.
Subsidies were granted to expand land under cultivation,and where these proved
an insufficient incentive, persuasion and some pressure were used. Joint
governmental and private capital concerns built installations, factories and
transportation facilities. Joint native and foreign associations were formed
to market native products, to import manufactured goods from abroad, and to
foster commercial enterprise in the islands. Groups of foreign experts were
sent in to explore the potentially useful resources and to work out feasible
means for their development.
// This was prior to WW2
- during one three-month-interval study, two-thirds of the families had
contributed under mutual aid patterns and but one of four families secured
income by these means. Because the circulation of funds under these patterns is
not an equal one, pressure had been keenly felt. This in part explains the
mounting discontent among members of the younger generation, who are primarily
wage earners and who are not in a position to use the mutual aid patterns as a
source of income.
Hierarchy was already there, and the coming of the foreigners meant adding a
new apex to the established social pyramid.
Social change is expected to stem from the top rather than from below.
- Most human affairs are subject to manipulation, and those who display
virtuosity in the handling of persons and processes in social situations are
greatly admired. Deceit is both legitimate and expected, and even honoured if
the outcome is successful.
- Perhaps the most effective technique of social control was, and still is, the
use of open scolding which puts a person to shame.
No one actually advocates complete equity in the distribution of rewards and
there are no records of anyone openly urging any major reforms in the power
structure- until the coming of the foreigners.
The challenge to the men in power in Palau was to
invent new techniques or refashion old ones to fit the changing social scene.
The foreigners recruited and trained natives to serve as administrative
assistants, interpreters, clerks, constables, medical assistants, school-
teachers. Because they were close to the seat of ultimate power they were in a
strategic position to influence policies. Native interpreters, for
example, controlled most of the channels of communication between the
foreigners and the natives. They became not merely translators, but arbitrators
and explainers, experts in knowing what to say. Palauans expected the
interpreters not to convey precisely what was told them but to offer advice on
what tactics to pursue. The leading clans of the élite class early perceived
the advisability of placing some of their most able members in these positions.
Still the elite were not fully protected,for some of these young men were
captivated by the foreigners and began to place their allegiance to the
“modernization” of Palau even above their own clan or class interests.Various
corrective remedies were attempted. One individual who
proved too informative to the foreigners was killed.
the élite shifted their efforts to extracting as much as possible
of the foreign moneys from those who secured them. The traditional
customs of Palau gift-exchange and related patterns were converted
by a series of inventions and adaptations into taxation enterprises
capable of producing sizable sums.
The introduction of foreign schools has provided an
orientation for youth, which exalts foreign models of life over native
ones. Spear- headed by the schoolteachers, many younger people have
increasingly favoured changes in Palau, many of which would undermine the ruling class.
The younger generation, for example, has employed the theme of liberty to
gain greater freedom from authority. The Palauan authorities have countered
with the argument that the right to do as one pleased
was not inherent in the concept of liberty, for surely the victorious
foreigners in the recent war exercised group discipline,
- The younger generation prefer to stress the nuclear
family whereas the older ones are more oriented toward the extended nuclear
- A major and continuing source of division between parents and children stems
from the contrasting types of training a child receives at home and in
school. The home education is oriented around traditional Palau customs whereas
the school‘s emphasis is on “modern” values.
- But even where weakening has occurred in the extended family, token
obligations are still customary.
- The schools have taken over the education of the younger generation and those
charged with this responsibility within societies are mainly foreign- trained
individuals who know little of the traditions.
- There are 14 districts with both a name and a title, at the present time.
Among people of the older generation, the titles are still used, as it is
more dignified to refer to a district by title and name. Following the Japanese land surveys, maps marked with names
only were used in the schools, and as a result the younger generation tend to
use only the district names.
The Spanish Americans of New Mexico , U.S.A.
- Through sharp legalistic manipulation by members of the dominant group, the
Spanish Americans have been deprived of much of their land. They are now
suspicious of the dominant group; they fear its schemes for land improvement,
its legal papers, the Anglos who ask questions for their records; yet they are
in daily contact with this group, and are taking on many of its ways.
- Though Anglo ways, seeping into the village through the school and through
wage labour, are introducing the need for planning, private life still
appears to run along the old spontaneous lines.
People do not tend to settle far apart from their neighbour-relatives to
assert their independence. The breaking up of
extended family ties which occurs constantly in Anglo society as one brother
gets ahead of another is not carried very far in Spanish American
society. Indeed it seems almost inevitable that if one member of the family
gets ahead, the whole extended kin group is involved in the process and
included in the benefit.
The Church seems to have less community meaning, but
as much or more meaning in the structure of authority. The priest in
one larger Spanish American town is having trouble getting people to come to
confession, to buy the church newspaper, or to come to bingo parties.2 But a
Spanish American political leader can speak with finality “speaking as a
Spanish Americans have come to put great stress on the idea of education, but
it is always “for the children”. It is almost never for oneself! Soon these
children are old enough to go to work, then to marry and settle down. They want
education-for their children.
- Radio, with its continuous programming, is
well suited to Spanish Americans, who like listening to Spanish American
“folk” music and campaign speeches.
Young people have taken over Anglo recreations, but
with certain differences. At dances, there is still formality in boy-girl
relationships and it is not quite right to ask directly for a date. Boys and
girls may go in separate groups to a “show”, as before; but they will pair off
in the dark-a situation defined by the culture as permissive. From here on the
new pattern takes over; it is a date and couples come out together. “It almost
seems that without the movies, the change could never have taken
When the boy and the girl marry and have children,
however, they are mainly father and mother, not husband and wife. The old
pattern reasserts itself.
It is cereal foods- the main body builders
traditionally-that have been most acceptable: macaroni, potatoes, oatmeal,
bread, doughnuts, cinnamon buns.
Anglo foods such as ice cream and bread have prestige, and white bread is
considered a food that is more “delicate” than tortillas.
Chapter 4: Cross-Cultural Studies of Aspects of Technical Change
He will be the instrument of change;and all change, even in techniques
and tools used, will affect his way of life and his relations with others.
The immediate need for agricultural changes arises from the great increase in
population in recent years. This has come about as a result of public health
measures which improved sanitation and controlled epidemic disease, through
induced changes which destroyed the practices affecting the depletion of
population and maintaining the balance through
abortion, infanticide, and birth control; and in individual countries,
the United States and elsewhere, through the tightening of immigration laws.
// Did the population increase because of sanitation or
because more food was available with the agricultural changes they are
proposing to combat the population that grew out of agriculture?
If the proposed further improvements in public health and nutrition are
carried out, there may be a further increase in population.
The general changes directed at the land and its produce fall in the
following areas; soil conservation, including
reforestation and contour ploughing; livestock improvement ; seed
improvement; pest control;land improvement; introduction of cash crops ;
mechanization. Non-human as these categories appear to be, they actually
concern the life of people at every turn. For example,
prevention of overgrazing and of the burning of brush mean that shepherds,
abandoning the ways of their fathers, have to take on a strange occupation out
of necessity, not from choice.
// Why can't the simply continue? Population would sort
itself out if food was not made available.
Water control may mean that the course of rivers must be changed, as it does
in Greece, perhaps moving people away from the land of their fathers.
// Who controls it? To what ends? It has been working for
a LONG time in Greece.
Where immunization of cattle is necessary, farmers will hide their cattle.4
And where land reform is introduced without accompanying measures for a
reformed credit system, the land will again be
concentrated in the hands of a few within a few years.5
// Most of the cultures were set up where the families all
had a little land, few had the landowners (oligarchs the UN represents?) and
when they did, it was an intimate relationship more than dominating.
The ownership unit may be the tribe, as in the case of the grazing lands in
Saudi Arabia where agriculture and individual ownership are being introduced
together. 8 It may be the village, apportioning land for family use; it may be
the family, including a number of adult men; or it may be the individual.
// But I thought it would all fall into the hands of few
without reforms? Or should it be understood as: reforms are how the oligarchy
can get its hands on the land and therefor control the population.
Systems of inheritance according to which every son receives a parcel of
land, or every daughter receives land as dowry, make for a continual division
of fields and the scattering of the arable land of a farmer over a wide area;
in Greece a farmer’s fields, containing a fraction of an acre each, may lie an
hour’s walk away from one another.
// From "the hands of a few" to "a far walk"...
In many sections of the world we find that the land
is in the hands of a few owners, often absentee owners. This condition
may have its roots in a feudal past. Quite often, however, it is a recent result of the introduction of change by a
conquering people. The great Latin American haciendas, affecting the
lives of millions of the conquered Indians, came into being by fiat, as state
short, the introduction of change without reference
to the existing patterns and without a programme, led to overwhelming
indebtedness, a landless peasantry, and the concentration of land in the hands
of a few moneylenders, or other- wise of people whose one aim was the
exploitation of the land.
- But actually we now have a radical change,from making
a living to earning a living.
- The religious objection that co-operative credit
societies charge interest on loans, going against Koran law, is
counteracted by the argument that the interest charged is for the purpose of
mutual aid,which is enjoined by the Koran.2
Not one cent of the half million dollars which the
Near East Foundation spends annually in Greece goes to hire labour; it
spends money on education until the villages co-operate freely in the
improvement of their land, sanitation, or water supply.
// What was a half million (in Greece by 1 org) in
In 1940 the First International Conference on Indian Life resolved to
recommend support of the continued existence of the ayllu, the unit which
holds land in common, found in several Latin American countries, both for the
advantages it affords for mechanization and because of the social function it
Among the Tanala of Madagascar individual ownership was introduced indirectly
as a by-product of the introduction of wet-rice culture, which made the
continuous farming of one tract possible and so led to individual ownership.
One of the clans, which valued its joint-family ownership and co-operative
labour above material wealth, outlawed the disruptive change and returned to
dry-rice culture.' The chiefs of Basutoland, who also prize community
solidarity, discourage measures essential to the preservation of land, such as
tree-planting or the fencing of pasture lands, because these imply individual
rights over the communal land and may lead to individual ownership.2
From Bechuanaland and East Africa comes the objection that improvements such
as drainage, terracing, planting permanent
crops ,reduction of stock as an anti-erosion measure meet with little
incentive under this system because the results of the individual would be lost
to him without the co-operation of his neighbours;4
The group which recommended the support of the ayllu also pointed out this
anti-progressive effect of communal ownership. The difficulty is, of
course, not insurmountable. It can probably be overcome
through education and through a knowledge of the existing structure which can
be used in rooting the new co-operatives.
In Spanish American communities in New Mexico, extra income may be changed to
silver dollars and buried in some forgotten place; it does not affect living?
Experts show concern for women who have to carry water from the village
fountain to the home, or wash clothes on the stones by the brook; but the
women who are the subject of their concern find in
these functions a pleasant social activity and an opportunity to be
out-of-doors. And their men ask, “What will our women do all day long?”7
education is necessary so that the added income and the released time can
have the intended effect.
- “seeing is believing”. This is the principle upon which the Near East
Foundation has always operated, with excellent results.
Unfortunately, it [distrust] is also rooted in the
mistakes made by the agents of change who sometimes
managed to persuade the peasants to use new ways which proved disastrous
because of local conditions. In Burma, deep ploughing introduced by European
agricultural experts broke up the hard pan that held the water in the rice
fields. The weeding of rubber plantations reduced the sap. The new tomato,
which the Burmese were persuaded to grow because it was more productive, had a
flavour they did not like.1
During World War II, a United States Government
agent almost caused a mutiny among his
workers in a Latin American country when he ordered that mangoès, held
sacred by these people, be cut down to make ground available for a crop needed
for the war.3
// "His" workers.
// All these are things permaculture talks about
In Greece, farmers are required to report the presence of locusts, and then
to give “compulsory free labour” in setting
down poisoned bait. As this is a measure imposed by the central government,
whose authority is not respected, and since the peasant does not see that it
concerns his own meaningful unit, it has not met with success.
Among many groups the introduction of cash crops has resulted in lowered
nutrition, since the farmers are tempted to put their best efforts into the
cash crop, or to sell the best.3 The increase of a tropical disease, found to
result from predisposing malnutrition, is more prevalent in cash crop areas.4
In Malaya, where small rubber holdings form the cash crop of the farmer,they
are a source of tension in the country’s economy since,when supply is high
and prices are low, the farmers produce even more rubber in order to make the
- In some areas it is uneconomical to introduce mechanization because human
labour is cheaper, and remains cheaper because the people themselves place a
low valuation upon it. In Indonesia, the workers fatalistically accept the fact
that the rate of pay for buffalo labour is twice that of human 1abour.1
Certainly with the increase in population which accompanied contact with
Western civilization itself, with industrialization and its by-products, the
[food] supply has become inadequate.
// Industrialization leads to increased population with
increased production leads to less food?
Increase of crops has not kept up with the population growth, even though
since the war plans for increasing agricultural yield have been put
// There is not enough food for the current population but
there was enough to stimulate the reproduction. I am going to need to look
into population growth and industrialization... this makes no sense at face
value. Unless there is an external source of food. Was the whole idea to get
control of the populations by introducing food from abroad and to pull it away
(control) when populations became too large? All this driven by
in many sections this has meant that the village has
had to import four-fifths of its food.
A study made by the Committee on Food Habits of the National Research Council
in the United States during World War II has made workers aware of the importance of the “role which learning plays in the
maintenance of a viable dietary pattern. We now ask, not how we change a
people’s bad habits into good habits, but what are their habits, how are they
learned, by what mechanisms are the self- preservative choices of some foods
and rejections of others,perpetuated”.1 Margaret Mead, 1950 a.
we are aware that if we must make a substitution,this should also substitute
adequately for the lost symbol.
In Lower Burma, however, where a cash crop economy flourishes, malnutrition
is reported. In general,the introduction of a money economy has been a
serious factor in nutritional imbalance.
Given money as the base for creating a meal, the
people have no traditional pattern on which to fall back, and, in fact, they
usually have to make their choice entirely on the basis of expense and avail-
- A pediatrician, writing for women who are at least moderately well-to-do,
suggests that city babies be given supplementary food earlier than village
babies, since the village mother’s milk is richer in vitamins.
- // People often cling to their staple food with religious
is the feeling that fruit is “cold”, a term used of something objectionable.
// Reminds me of the "warm" music from records and CD over
- Food preferences and aversions have successfully been taken into
consideration in introducing change.
Maternal and Child Care
Figures on maternal and infant mortality in many sections of the world are
shocking,and reveal how great is the need for technical assistance in this
// How would this affect population? They are so quick to talk
about good intentions leading to disastrous results, but no mention that if
you keep all the babies alive, the population may explode. In nature, the babies
are the food much of the time and readily replenished.
In some regions, mothers have to learn further, in order to save the lives of
infants, that it is not natural and necessary for babies to die.
// Seems natural to me...
- Industrialization has had an indirect effect on the size of families in South
Africa, through separating couples for long periods of time,through
introducing the desire to spend money on trade goods, through increasing
atomization of the social group and by giving the woman a different picture of
herself. Christianity, in destroying the ancestor cults, has rendered it
unnecessary for people to have numerous progeny, or any progeny through whom to
continue the social unit after death. Education has introduced budgeting and
the need to educate one’s children, and has brought attempts to limit
- However, where cash crops have been substituted for subsistence farming, the
maternal diet is reported to be dangerously inadequate, due to factors which
are not rooted in the value system.
In the United States, 12 years ago women having children followed
approximately the Greek lochial pattern (a six-weeks lochial period); now
they follow a pattern nearer to the Burmese four-day period. But these women
belong to a society where physician and patient are accustomed to trying out
new things, new fads, new gadgets, enjoying experimentation.
In some societies, the prenatal and lochial regulations apply to the father
also. To rationally-minded people these may appear wasteful and unnecessary.
However in cultures where continuity with the family unit is paramount, this is
an important aspect of the father’s share in the creation of the infant, and
its loss may be a factor of family
the reasons for urging scheduled feeding
appear irrelevant, and the introduction of such feeding would necessitate as well the teaching of the mother to equate breast-feeding
with nutrition alone.
- // Scheduled feeding is mentioned a lot, but I don't see
why it is better than "as the baby wants".
- Where work is life, and working with the mother is sharing her life, and
increasing one’s sense of belonging with the social unit, it is probably
harmful to the child to be given instead “play activity” and contrived
projects, which are discontinuous with the life and work of his group.
In many cultures throughout the world man is continuous with his environment.
Therefore, he is not healthy unless his environment is "healthy", or,
conversely, the well-being of his environment depends upon his acts.
// When is man not continuous with his environment?
- So also the Australian Murngin will psychologically cut off any one of their
members who is known to have been magically attacked; they stop treating him
in terms of his place in the balanced system of structured roles;the mother
does not act as his mother, the brother does nor relate himself to the man who
is magically stricken as his brother. The stricken one is “isolated”, and the
social unit thus protects itself against his contagion.
- The revulsion felt toward bodily effluvia in the United States has gone under
the name of hygiene, but is actually deeper than
preoccupation with germs.
- Teaching hygienic habits has been difficult where the background of science
on which they rest is lacking or even rejected.
- In 1948, after 15 years of an intermittent
campaign for the introduction of latrines, 98 per cent of the Greek
farmers were reported to be without latrines.3 And this was in a country where
the only resistance came from the people's contentment with the habitual and
from seeing no need for change.
Medicine: Disease Treatment and Prevention
To introduce a new concept of disease, and penicillin instead of confession,
to people for whom illness has a significant place in the universal order is
often impossible, or dangerous to psychosomatic health.
// Like the DSM introducing a million mental health
In West Africa “the whole family would rather contract disease and die from
it than part with the infected member”.2
When a Burmese villager is ill, it is he who immediately sends for a
physician, for drugs, for treatment. When a Greek is ill, he does not exhibit
any need for care, does not go to bed unless he is incapable of standing up,
thus exercising fortitude. When a Navaho is ill, it is his relatives who decide
what is to be done and make the necessary arrangements. When a Jew from Eastern
Europe is ill, he must be helpless, go to bed immediately, and give his
relatives the opportunity to fulfil their role in the pattern of beneficence.
The worker who knows this picture addresses his recommendations to the
appropriate person. It is not much use to try to persuade a sick Navaho to go
to the hospital, since it is his family who will actually make the decision for
him. It is cruel to tell a Greek that he must stay in bed and do nothing for
himself; it is much kinder to say this to his wife or other relatives, so that
the sick one should not have to be put in the position of asking for this
// Know who to ask, some have power over others under
certain conditions. Use this to introduce change.
- Control through elimination of insect carriers met with resistance in
Buddhist societies; some groups, however, may agree to destroy life if they
are made to do so by someone who will assume the responsibility.
- Industrialization and the migration of labour, as well as the opening of
roads and the establishment of improved transportation, have meant that local
diseases have been spread to areas where there was no immunity. From tropical
areas in Africa, tsetse infection is brought to temperate regions, and here the
newcomers are exposed to cerebrospinal meningitis and tuberculosis, and take
the latter home with them. Tuberculosis in Africa has
been aggravated by industrialization and urbanization. In the home
village where work was not compulsive, where one could sit or work in the sun,
where the hut of the dead was burned, conditions worked against the spread of
Civilization in the last century has meant increasing industrialization in
Europe as well as in the United States, and in the countries with which they
came in contact, and which, courted or coerced
into commerce with them, also became progressively industrialized. In both West
and East the process was, for long, unplanned.
Even now, after long experience, and with all our awareness and intensive
investigation of the concomitants of industrialization, w e are astounded
when we see the far-reaching results of the introduction of money into a
barter economy, or of a new tool as simple as the kerosene lamp or a
Sometimes, in introducing a programme of industrialization or the building of
great public works and large factories, such countries have introduced
radical change in the standard of living, drastically curtailing consumers’
goods? Usually the effects have been much more far-reaching and costly in human
welfare than this statement implies.
// Factories curtails consumers' goods? I guess when they
In addition, mechanization itself, whether in agriculture or in industry,
separates man from the traditional processes and techniques of his social
unit, from the skills which he learned as an aspect of his belongingness with
his family, or of his identification with his father and his line of ancestors.
Finally, even on small farms, where cash crops have been introduced, the
effects of the new money economy have often been of the same kind as with the
introduction of industrial wages.
The new laws have given workers protection, but the
efficiency measures, and measures undertaken honestly for the protection of
children, have worked toward breaking up the family unit during the
Such factors must be taken into account when and if industrialization is to
be introduced without undue destruction.
// As opposed to the due destruction?
Again, the FAO report suggests that Greeks be persuaded to
invest their money in industry, so as to make industrialization possible;
but this runs counter to the Greek attitude of trusting only a sure
thing, the known present. One speculates about the future, not in
the future. A Greek traditionally likes his money in the form of a
lump under the mattress, not as so many figures on a chart, or a
number of shares of stock. And when people love their life on the
land so much that the greatest gift of gratitude they can send to the
United Nations is a jar of Peloponnesian earth, the displacement
of the individual or the family from the village to the industrial
centre could bring much distress. All these difficulties are not insurmountable, but to effect technological change with the least human
destruction, these problems and others of their kind must be taken
// You'll need to pay for the industrialization you don't
want. Destruction is ok, but let's try to limit it.
The health of the Navaho children, it was found, had been maintained at a
higher level under the conditions of a subsistence economy.
In Africa, the introduction of a money economy has
usually meant atomization of the individuals within the family, complete
destruction of the structuring of family relationships, and of the social and
economic system of the group.
The money economy has meant secession and revolt, the
undermining of parental authority and the authority of tradition, and
this has resulted in the rise of the “younger generation” as a class apart.
The traditional lobola, the bride price, which cemented two families in
interdependence and maintained strongly structured continuities within the
family,is now frequently handed by the boy to the girl, closely imitating the pattern of prostitution which is
prevalent in the cities.2
Where a traveller always knew he could find ready hospitality, he now often
has to pay for food and shelter, even to his relatives; or he may find that
his friend, seeing a traveller arriving, has conveniently disappeared, to spare
himself the expense of entertaining with bought food, or food he could sell for
In China also, industrialization has meant that “family relations are more and more disregarded in property
Where money economy has not been accepted or understood by people living in
the midst of this industrial society, there is frequently a tendency toward exploitation.3
- In Africa railroads were built as a measure in the campaign against slavery,
particularly the slavery encouraged by the need for porters. But until
contact with the West, the need for porterage had been non- existent. Slavery
had been merely a form of agricultural or domestic service. The West, in an attempt to eradicate an evil of its own
making, built a railroad by compulsory labour at the expense of a very high
toll of life, supporting the introduction of cash crops and a money economy for
its own uses, destroying traditional patterns of family living,
marriage, and parental authority. Ultimately the public works were perhaps
“instruments of world welfare” at best. They have yet, however, to be made
instruments of African welfare.4
- Where the conquered peoples under Western
jurisdiction have been considered an inferior species of humanity,
legislation protecting the welfare of workers has often been weak.
- In general, the effect of a cash crop or wage economy on nutrition has been
one of lowering...
- // Many places require the man to leave his family/village
to make money. This is disruptive to varying degrees.
Without the men, the home lost its place as an educational unit, and there was no way of passing on the values of the society to
the growing boy.3
With the dislocation in family life, the displacement of authority, came
demoralization. Young girls, unwilling to stay in villages without men,
followed the men to the cities, where they often became
- in many other cultures, wages for the sons have been
a wedge, introducing increasing atomization. Sons stop working for the
economic welfare of the family unit, and in turn cease being dependent on the
father. Eventually, grown children cease to be an insurance against old age,so
old age brings indigence; or else the parents must save toward it, or the state
must take care of it. This change of events, encouraged
by changes in legislation and in land tenure introduced by British
administrators, took place in Burma in recent years.
There appears to be general agreement that decentralization of industry,
bringing work to the village or to its vicinity, within the framework of
known associations and associational ties, will make for less disruption and,
at the same time, will bring the increase in income needed for raising the
standard of living.
// Funny how the internet generation is also pushing for
decentralization. Not that it is bad, but it should be understood by this
book that changes are FAR reaching and can have disastrous results.
- “The centre of political power of the village has been definitely shifted
from the elders and old gentry to the business firms wherein reside the
trinity of userers, landlords,merchants.
With the impact of civilization, and particularly because of contact with
Western culture, the function of education has necessarily changed. The need now is to move away to new knowledge and skills, to
a new place in a new social order; education is now not for the maintenance of
the old, but for change. Whether these cultures have sought Western contact or
not, whether they want to change or not, the fact is that they have felt the
effects of Western contact, and must now be taught how to cope with these
// Roads end up destroying the market for handicrafts and
bringing in disease. Cash crops end up destroying the soil and bring
malnutrition. Credit and money ends up robbing people of their land.
The task of Fundamental Education is to cover the whole of living. In
addition, it is to teach, not only new ways, but the
need and the incentive for new ways.
For many years schooling was not only ineffective, but also disruptive,
because it was applied only to the young.
Roles were reversed in the home, so that the children
became the teachers of the parents, creating confusion in relationships, and
resentment on the part of the displaced leaders. A "younger" generation
in conflict with an “older” generation was created where there had been no such
In past years, as Margaret Mead says, education of
dependent peoples was for the purpose of their successful exploitation by
more advanced economy.7
- In most areas people cannot be motivated to adopt new ways on the basis of
logical evidence of better results or of charts or scientific arguments.
Chapter 5: Specific Mental Health Implications of Technical Change
On a wider front, it may be said that the goal of
technical change is to give to people of each country a way of life within
which greater mental health may be achieved for all the members of that
// Greater mental health in juxtaposition to the hell they
are really bringing in, not compared to the anxiety-less life they have been
living for generations (or much more).
Even in Western countries where psychiatry is highly
developed, the criteria are inadequate for distinguishing between mental
illness and behaviour which is bizarre because the cultural context is not
known-as when a former member of a secret society, which operates by
periodic assassination of members of a rival society, informs the police in an
American city that people are trying to kill him, and, until his nationality
and society membership are known, is diagnosed as dangerously paranoid.
// What a great example, secret societies
- Behaviour which would be regarded-in the Western world-as a sign of a highly
developed obsessional neurosis,may be quite conventional in another culture.
- At present, in spite of attempts to use existing sources, there is no valid information on the incidence of mental ill
health outside the westernized portions of the world.
The psychiatrists working in the industrialized West may come to emphasize
the hazards of the weakened family structure and the broken home. But the
psychiatrists working in unindustrialized sections of southern Europe or the
Near East may simultaneously be emphasizing the hazards of a too closely knit
family for the mental health of individuals who, later in life, must adapt to
the impersonal system of human relations which will come with the introduction
of modern industry.
// Being "too close" to your family is mental illness...
because it interferes with modern industry.
- Technical change makes it difficult for individuals to pattern their lives as
adults on the lives which, as children, they watched their parents live.
- A common consequence of such a state of frustration is that the individual
returns to the old responses that he had begun to abandon. But these old
responses are likely to seem less satisfactory than they once were, and so he
may remain maladjusted. The illiterate who attempts to learn to read and fails
is a very much less satisfied person than the peasant by whom learning to
read was never considered a possible or even a suitable activity.
- But if means are made available, then the created frustrations can become the
basis for new, desired and self-perpetuating behaviour,
[frustration may lead to] The individual’s
behaviour may become less mature, more childish; his feelings and emotions
may be more poorly con- trolled or new forms of dependency may develop.
// Extended adolescence.
The accumulated tensions may find expression in aggressive acts, such as
feelings and actions of anger and rage, actual physical violence against
objects and people, verbal attacks, slander and denunciation, or preoccupations
with thoughts of violence. The objects of such aggressive acts are often not at
all connected with the frustrating situation or agent; so a man frustrated by
a superior may spank his child,or denounce the tax collector.
Hugh H. Bennett, founder of the Soil Conservation Service of the United
States Department of Agriculture. waited many years until he could interest
American farmers in soil conservation, and was only really successful after the
great floods and droughts of the 1930’s swept the United States. H e believed
that he could not force men to become good stewards of their land, any more
than he could prevent them from becoming good stewards once they realized its
importance-“felt the need”. (Wellington Brink, 1951.)
- The individual may withdraw psychologically or physically from the
frustrating situation, as did some of the Indians of the North American
Plains, who became apathetic after the disappearance [They
didn't "disappear", they were exterminated. Buffalo Bill killed thousands in 1
season... for sport.] of the buffalo. Withdrawal may be into apathy,
into substitute activities such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or gambling, or
into nativistic cults in which the former state, now seen as a golden age, is
acted out symbolically.
An effective way to encourage the learning of new behaviours and attitudes is
by consistent prompt attachment of some form of satisfaction to them. This
may take the form of consistent praise, approval, privilege, improved social
status, strengthened integration with one’s group, or material reward.
// Like the praise given to the LGBT humans in the 2010's.
"Oh, your so brave for coming out" etc. Similarly in the "slut walks"
encouraging promiscuity in women.
The use of consistent approval or reward underlies the successful
introduction of technical change in many parts of the world, as in the work
of the Near East Foundation.1
// Also use "punishments" to stop certain
behaviour. Simple operant conditioning.
- It is important to remember that this way of
encouraging new learning can be abused. It can be used to attach fear
to all sorts of symptoms or behaviour, while promising relief of the aroused
fear by the purchase of an advertiser’s worthless or dangerous medicine. It
can be used to stimulate purchases beyond a person’s means by consistent verbal
and non-verbal attachment of the purchases to the satisfactions of superior
status, real or imagined. It can be used to cultivate hate as well as
co-operation.It can be used to indoctrinate people so strongly with beliefs
that the intellectual processes involved in knowledge and judgment are
paralysed. It has been so used deliberately in many countries in which some
interested group-private or public-has sought to manipulate people to a desired
As Hegel says: “Man, in so far as he acts on nature to change it, changes his
// Good to know the authors are familiar with Hegel. No
mention of his dialectic though...
- In earlier chapters the importance of taking the whole culture into account
has been emphasized; it is also desirable to have a way of following a series
of identified individuals, which can be used as a basis for planning. One very
good method is to record very carefully the behaviour which individuals
manifest over specified periods of time (14 days is a useful unit in modern
society where weekends are important).
- A man thrown out of a job in an industrial society tries to adjust himself to
living unemployed, and he may also for the first time feel a need to
understand how the economic system works. Thus, at
times of individual or group crisis, the situation is more favourable for
adaptive changes in habitual behaviours, beliefs and attitudes.
- The agents of change have a wide choice of methods: they can attempt to
influence the perceiving individual directly ; they can alter the environment
so that it will in turn alter his perception; they can create situations within
which he will continue to remain in contact with the new situations;they can
attempt to satisfy the needs and emotions which lie at the root of the existing
behaviours in a way which will include the proposed change; they may create
social support for the individual who adopts the new behaviours.
- Here there is urgent need for agencies which will
help parents develop new ways of being parents, and' children develop new
ways of growing up. Assuring mental health to the second generation, the
children of the uprooted who have not yet themselves taken root, requires more
than the observation of sound psychological principles such as those outlined
in this chapter for adjusting adults to change; it
requires new social inventions, most of which have not even been glimpsed in
- We need new methods of education which will leave the
child’s mind open longer,
Chapter 6: Principles Involved in Developing Mental Health During Technical
For example, it is possible to point out that in any programme involving
popular education in public health, the problem of language is a serious
one-exact meanings must be explored, questions of
adapting old words to new ideas, as opposed to coining new words, must
be weighed, choice must be made among rival dialects, ...
All changes should be introduced with the fullest
possible consent and participation of those whose daily lives will be
affected by the changes.
// The fullest POSSIBLE extent could be no consent.
It is realized that the technologies and inventions of modern science are
themselves the outgrowth of a very particular historically limited type of
culture-a culture in which the focus of interest has been upon the observable,
the repeatable, the measurable, upon using the external world as a model even
when processes within the body were concerned.
It is also probable that too much emphasis upon the whole complex of cultural
attitudes surrounding such inventions as clocks, thermometers, shock therapy, printing, caloric food counts, assembly
line production, diesel engines, or electronic self-corrective devices, may
slow down the possibility of invention in the world, because the members of the
new cultures who import and adopt the invention are prevented from making a
contribution to its further development. If, in order to use a certain type of
machine, it is necessary to adopt all the attitudes towards punctuality of
Western factories and school systems, absorbing this alien type of education
may act selectively within the new culture, so that only the deviant or only
the obedient and frightened learn, and the gifted and
creative may turn away.
An alien technology, supported by forms of education
and inter-personal relations which are also alien, is likely to separate the
practitioner of the new skill from his cultural roots, prevent the new practice
from becoming integrated in the living habits of the mass of the people, and
produce populations who are confused and disoriented because they do not
participate meaningfully in the new forms of their society.
Indeed, it is possible to contrast the often childlike dependence of members
of old societies towards their governments, which they feel ought to look
after them, protect them and provide for them, and the responsible adulthood of
the members of some new nations who regard their young governments as
institutions which must be protected and cherished by the citizenry.
// What? The whole book talks about independent tribes,
unless by government taking care of the people they are talking about chiefs
and local councils. Similarly, while maybe the 1950s were different, today the
modern countries are dependant on government for so much. Welfare state can't
happen without the state part.
The most complex invention of the Western world- radar or psychoanalytic
Where a system of piped-on water is gradually spread through a country, with
each village taking responsibility for its own water supply, ...
// A page later talking about each village being
responsible for itself. Which is it? Childlike dependence on government or
- In brief, if there is to be purposive change, directed by those with power and resources, to
introduce programmes of vast scope with unprecedented speed, so as to add 20
years to the expectation of life within a single generation,or alter the level
of literacy from 10 per cent to 90 per cent within a decade, it is necessary to
develop substitutes for “experience”, so that people may learn in a few weeks
what they once learned in a lifetime, and yet learn it with all of the
complexity of genuine human experience.
APPENDIX A - Original Plan Presented to UNESCO by the World Federation for Mental Health - MEMORANDUM
To: Social Sciences Department, Unesco.
From : World Federation for Mental Health.
Subject : Technological Change and Mental Health.
Problem: To explore the mental health implications of the changes in living
habits resulting from technological development.
Background of problem. In the past the introduction of new techniques and
practices into the life of so-called under-developed peoples has usually been
undertaken without adequate consideration of the effects of such changes on
mental health and social adjustment. The changes planned will undoubtedly
affect many areas of activity- sanitation, nutrition, wages and conditions of
labour, agricultural techniques, pediatrics, obstetrics, preventive medicine,
etc. Such changes are bound to alter the “way of life” of the group. the
relations between parents and children, the hierarchy of authority, the
acquisition of status and prestige, etc. These are precisely aspects of
existence which are important for personality development and which give to
individuals their feelings of happiness or unhappiness, security or insecurity,
respectively. No programme of technological development can hope to succeed in
the long run if it leaves people unhappy and maladjusted. In the long run also,
such unhappy and maladjusted people are the ones who are more likely to turn to
violence and even war, because of their dissatisfaction with the conditions
under which they live. This is not a necessary consequence of technological
development, but it is a possible one. It can be rendered much less probable if
adequate attention is paid to the effect of technological development on
people. The most important single fact to be kept in mind is that new
techniques must be introduced with proper regard for the existing culture and
with as little violence as possible to the folkways of the groups concerned.
For example, if a people have been accustomed to pre-chew food and feed it as
supplementary during breast feeding, two quite different courses are open in
public health education. The public health innovator who has neither interest
nor respect for native custom, may insist that the “disgraceful and dangerous”
habit be given up and the infants fed only from the breast,without recognizing
that the maternal nutritional status may be inadequate, and severe infant
malnutrition may result.Alternatively, after an investigation of the whole
pattern of infant feeding,the innovator may recommend mashing up food and
continued supplementary feeding, in which a minimum of change is introduced
into the maternal habits. A society may depend upon a new mother being trained
by her mother,after a child is born, in the care of the child; hospitalization
for deliveries may separate the new mother and the grandmother, and while
increasing the chances of survival of the infant at birth, so impair the
mother’s care of her child, as to decrease or compromise its survival chances.
It should be possible to introduce hospitalization while continuing to utilize
at least some of the techniques upon which the society has depended in the
past. There are many examples of both successful and unsuccessful
introductions of changes in these and other respects. A collection of such
examples should serve a useful purpose as a guide to those who will be
responsible for future innovations in the life of so-called under- developed
The Project. It is proposed, therefore,to prepare a manual or guide,
utilizing existing source material which is at present scattered and
relatively inaccessible,in order to aid those who will introduce and carry out
the processes of technological change. This manual would contain sample
techniques to be followed,as well as indications of methods which could be used
in different countries to obtain the necessary information about food
habits,hygiene, agriculture, family organization, methods of sharing of
household expenses, which would be needed in order to facilitate and expedite
the process of change, while at the same time protecting and advancing mental
Technique. The World Federation for Mental Health will undertake to place
this problem in the hands of a committee of experts, representing not only the
field of psychiatry but related disciplines as well, who would supervise the
preparation of such. a manual. The actual work of writing the manual would be
done by an expert who combines a knowledge of anthropology with familiarity
with the principles and problems of psychiatry and mental hygiene. The manual
will give special attention to the mental health aspects of technological
change, especially as these affect attitudes in the field of international
relations. Care will be taken to coordinate this activity with similar
activities on the part of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies.