New Internationalist

How To Catch A Monkey

Issue 329

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Sustainability / PARABLE

How to catch a monkey
A parable of growth and sustainability...

Illustration by Chum McLeod / i2i Art 1 Hollow out a coconut.
2 Carve a hole in the top and fill the nut with rice.
3 Find a likely location and wedge it firmly between two large boulders so the top half is clearly visible.
4 Fasten the nut with a chain to a stake in the ground.
5 The hole should be just large enough to allow a monkey to put an extended hand inside but not big enough to withdraw its fist when full of rice.
6 If it refuses to let go of the rice the monkey is trapped.
7 If it relaxes its grip and takes less it will be free and fed.
8 Can our species relax its grip and take only what we need?

Adapted from 'Developing Economies and the Steady State' by Herman Daly
in his Steady-State Economics, Earthscan, London, 1992

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