Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Never was there a more appropriately titled website than Damn Interesting. In a recent story titled The Ruins of Fordlandia, you can read about an ill-fated attempt by automobile mogul Henry Ford to establish a rubber tree plantation in South America.

It's fascinating stuff, as is always the case with articles on the site. Most fascinating was the following two sections:

"Ford chose not to employ any botanists in the development of Fordlandia's rubber tree fields, instead relying on the cleverness of company engineers. Having no prior knowledge of rubber-raising, the engineers made their best guess, and planted about two hundred trees per acre despite the fact that there were only about seven wild rubber trees per acre in the Amazon jungle."

"Certainly he was unable to buy his way into rubber royalty, and his efforts to spread his American "healthy lifestyle" were met with resentment and hostility ... but history has repeatedly shown that obscene wealth gives one the privilege - perhaps even the obligation - to make bizarre and astonishing mistakes on a grand scale."
Hmm ... not soliciting the advice of experts before going into a foreign venture, trying to change a culture without any understanding of it, and then throwing tons of money at it in the false hope that it will all get better. Did Dubya study this guy at Yale?

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