|Can we find a social solution to this capitalist mess?|
Image courtesy of the Socialist Organizer.
by douglas reeser on june 10, 2013My recent return to southern Belize has been a pleasant and productive revisiting to a place where I spent nearly a year and a half working on my dissertation research in anthropology. I've written much about this place and Belize more generally, and while I am plumbing the depths of my experience here in an effort to complete my dissertation, I continue to find inspiration for shorter musings and reflections. One such experience occurred the other night while I was having some drinks with some non-Belizean friends of mine.
We were out at a local seafood restaurant, popular with expats and tourists. It's a place with good food and character, an old wooden building sitting on stilts out over the Caribbean Sea, with a large outdoor deck perfect for star-gazing and enjoying the cool sea breeze. It's also the center of social life for the younger ex-pat community, where you can run into any number of young foreigners, here doing research, volunteering or interning at local NGOs, or working in efforts to relocate to Belize. I was there with some archaeologist friends, one of whom I did my Master's schooling with, and some researchers who work with a local conservation organization, talking about different issues that come up in the world of "development."
Soon, a mutual friend walked up to say hello before leaving for the night. She runs a local company that helps to produce and export agricultural products, and has helped to develop a program that sources the product from local farmers, and connects them to "ultra-premium" producers in the US and elsewhere. It's a model in the vein of fair trade, and provides farmers with a decent price for their product, and more importantly to some, introduces a level of competition in a field that was previously dominated by one company that dictated prices and terms to the farmers. We asked her how her business was doing, and before long, I was engaged in a short conversation with one of the conservation people I was sitting with.