27 Jan 2011

Viva La Revolución

In 1990, when the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. Import of oil dropped by more than 50% - and that of food by 80%!

Cubans got desperate. But they soon got smart - and came up with a highly decentralised way to tackle the shortages. They grew their food everywhere they could - in backyards, on terraces and rooftops. In cities, towns and villages, people got together and came up with extremely low-tech solutions for problems.

The above video shows largely what finally took shape.

Now fast forward to 2011.

One of these days, it may be oil prices or hyper-inflation that spirals out of control, and leave people across the world with two options of how to react...

ONE WAY is the Cuban experience. It involves communities closing ranks, sticking their hands into the earth, and trying to help themselves by farming their way out of hunger.


The North Koreans were just as dependent on the Soviet Union, economically. But in early 1990s, the Koreans decided to wait for the central government to interve and come to the rescue.

It didn't.

And between 900,000 and 3.5 million people out of a population of about 22 million died from starvation and hunger-related illnesses!

Go on, watch the film. It's about 41 minutes long... But what we can learn from it could perhaps one day, give us back a lot more than just 41 minutes.

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