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9029 - Small is beautiful, authenticity is the best way

“Small is beautiful” is a title of a book, 1973, and written by E.F. Schumacker, an economist, who chose as a subtitle “Economics as if people mattered”. He defends that technology should be adapted to each circumstance, preferring the small unities of development instead of big projects. Each project should be designed for a village, for a community.

The truth is that the official models for development have been resulting in less empowered communities, in local impoverishment, in massive migrations, and in the loss of culture and authenticity, risking the total deprivation of local identity. The final consequence is the poor getting poorer and more distant from the political and economical power, although before they had their own model to live and to survive to adversity.

In the Mesoamerican case, we find communities living for centuries with their own organization and lifestyle, maintaining their traditions in a dynamic way. The challenge is to be able make them a partner and an actor of their development, defending territories and cultures from abuse caused by economic and political pressures, in a perspective of complementarity. The community as a unit can be the answer to these questions, because has the necessary cohesion and organization and at the same time involves each individual to participate in a dynamic way in the construction of new solutions for social, economical and political problems.

In this work we will try to see how the traditional communities can get involved in national and international social movements that assure a vision of complementarity and reciprocity, refusing conflictive relations, and trying to negotiate as ancient communities with the national power, more recent. Instead of opposition postures based on the opposition tradition/modernity, make culture and tradition a way to achieve new ways of development based on sustainable relations with nature and valuing the local knowledge and showing their own dynamics.

Keywords: community, authenticity, tradition, complementarily, project design

Author: Costa, Cátia Miriam (Universidade de Écora, Portugal / Portugal)

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