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THINKING ALLOWED


Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

Monitoring Exporting Western Culture Through Trash

North Miami Beach, FL September 27, 2009
A.H. Schectman

           Here's the story.  Holland's police are guarding dumpsters to prevent the rich culture found in their garbage from infecting Africans or Asians with Western ideas as well as components for a technology rich society.

This is the way civilization is transmitted.  Think about the slums perched on Rio de Janeiro's garbage heaps.

 Does anyone remember the early 1930's comic strip, " Abby and Slats"?  This elderly lady set up a home for herself and a young man on top of a garbage dump outside an American city.  The strip told of the every day problems encountered by this couple.  Life was hard then but life goes on.  What did we learn about a rich country throwing away enough of its wealth in the form of disposable goods to enable the poor to survive?  We created all sorts of programs but the poor remained with us.  They continue to forage amidst what the better off class in any country throw away.  A case in point occurred right at front of our Condominium. An elderly man living here was a collector of huge amounts of what turned out to be junk.  He died and the Board of Directors was left with the job of cleaning the apartment filled with towering piles of mildewed junk he gathered but left no record of why or how he wanted it to be disposed of. The Board hired a firm to clean out the apartment.  For days a huge dumpster has been filled, emptied and filled again.  But this moudering pile of trash acted like a magnet, attracting individuals who wanted bits and pieces before they were taken to the dump.

 The logic of preventing trash from being sent abroad from a rich Western nation escapes me.  We learn about the transmittal of civilization by digging through successive cultures built on top of the garbage heaps of the ones who came before.

 Archaeologists and anthropologists study that ancient garbage.  You can tell a lot about the people who discarded it.  You can tell a lot about The Haves and what they value.  The have- nots would be foolish not to appropriate the still usable bots and pieces

 America is still trying to handle the idea that while our nation is rich, we still have the poor and don't know how to deal with them.

 The hungry, the sick and the wounded are everywhere.  We don't know how to care for them, feed them or house them.  Of course they could go and rummage through what we throw away.


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