Peasantology

July 8, 2009 at 10:24 pm (English, Social issues and politics)

The coolest neologism I have heard in a long time …

Teodor Shanin is a sociologist who studies the contemporary Russian peasantry, and more specifically the informal economy on which a huge proportion of the world population get by on a daily basis. Choice quotes from a New Scientist article on the topic:

[In the former S.U.] there are no signs of mass hunger and the services by and large have not collapsed. Considering the chaos of
the formal economy, this is remarkable. Teachers still go to teach and scientists go to their laboratories even though they may not have been paid for six months. Under normal economic rules, there is no explanation for this.

Later on, he goes on to say:

Sociologists can understand this, economists cannot.

This is easily one of the most thought-provoking piece I have read on the web lately. Most definitely worth the 20 minutes to read it! :)

As an aside, I stumbled on that article through Planet Debian, thanks to Joey Hess. I love Planet Debian, it’s the most eclectic software-related planet I read.

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