Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What markets thrive in(spite of) war and poverty??...


Banana "Wine" out of a jerry can. Apparently it tasted like rubbing alcohol (yummm...??) (photo courtesy: Laura Darby)

Yesterday, a friend and I were talking about industries that thrive during war (still not sure quite how we got into it). But other than the usual guns and ammo market, and natural resource bartering (eg. diamonds or water or whatever else the fight started over), we both were surprised at the presence of alcohol in the middle of all of this. Em (my friend) tells me that the only factories that stayed open without a moment's pause during the first and second Liberian civil wars, were the alcohol distilleries! Come to think of it, alcohol is the one big thriving business even in parts of the world with extreme poverty. I've been to some POOR parts of the world; there is often no food, but there'll invariably be a drunk man (usually more) roaming around there. Where and how (t)he(y) got the money, time, resources, and motivation are beyond me. I often wonder if the drunks or the factory owners applied the same level of motivation and resourcefulness to other things, how different a country they would be in...

(as a caveat, in countries where alcohol is banned (though invariably I've seen that there is an equally booming business of contraband and moonshine), drugs seem to do well as a replacement.)

Definitely something to ponder...

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