Thursday, October 16, 2014

#290 / Something Different From A Cargo Cult

I studied "cargo cults" in my anthropology class, when I was an undergraduate student at Stanford University. Click the link just above if you'd like to see what Wikipedia has to say about them.

Somehow, out of that long ago study in the only anthropology class I ever took, the cargo cult phenomenon popped into my mind last Tuesday, as I was writing about the nature of our "free market" financial system. Belief in the "free market" system, as a way to deliver economic benefits, is a lot like a cargo cult. Believers keep waiting around for their ship to come in.

I have always loved Bob Dylan's song, which also talks about the ship coming in. The lyrics to the song are printed below. You can hear the music by clicking the title.

Dylan's not talking about any cargo cult. Do a close reading and you will see that we're going to be ON that ship, not waiting for it.

When The Ship Comes In

Oh the time will come up 
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin’
Like the stillness in the wind
’Fore the hurricane begins
The hour when the ship comes in
Oh the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking
Oh the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they’ll be smiling
And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand
The hour that the ship comes in
And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they’re spoken
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean
A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck
The hour that the ship comes in
Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin’
And the ship’s wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin’
Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they’ll jerk from their beds and think they’re dreamin’
But they’ll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it’s for real
The hour when the ship comes in
Then they’ll raise their hands
Sayin’ we’ll meet all your demands
But we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered
And like Pharoah’s tribe
They’ll be drownded in the tide
And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered

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1 comment:

  1. Your analogy isn't even internally consistent. These hypothetical believers in the "free market" would not "keep waiting around for their ship to come in" because such inaction is not in keeping with their beliefs. They would trade labor for wages. Duh.

    In fact, economic freedom is associated with per capita income including income earned by women and the poorest 10%, life expectancy, political rights, civil liberties, and gender equality [1, 2].



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