Daniel Quinn: It has to be. Hierarchy is the disaster. So i'm pointing to the -- oh, what is it called, the Marcora law in Italy - which makes it possible for a group of ten people who want to get together to work - basically as a tribe, work cooperatively - unemployed people, who will be given three years worth of dole payments as capital to start a new venture. It's an amazing idea, very much a bottom up idea. It's been a tremendous success in Italy, and I hope it will get more attention in the United States.
Rob Kall: What's it called?
Daniel Quinn: I think
. I've got it written down.
Rob Kall: I'll get the spelling from you after we're done the interview. So. going back. You've described how early on you'd spent an awful lot of time looking at anthropology, and archeology, and aboriginal cultures; we still have aboriginal cultures on this planet now. I personally believe that they should be protected to the point where anybody attempting to reach them is shot.
Daniel Quinn: (laughs)
Rob Kall: I really believe that. I believe that we need them desperately because they provide a connection to our past that is totally unavailable once a tribe becomes civilized or gets touched by culture. But I wonder from you, what have you learned looking at aboriginal culture? There's a new book out now by Jared Diamond called The World Until Yesterday, where he discusses some of the ideas about aboriginal culture and what we can learn from them. What are some of the things you learned from aboriginal culture?
Daniel Quinn: Basically that each tribe had it's own identity, had it's own laws, which were very bottom up. They were not laws that punished people, they were laws that helped to make things right, rather than punishing what was wrong. They were not the same from tribe to tribe: the Sioux didn't think that everybody should have their laws, or should live the way the Sioux lived, and the Pueblos didn't think that everybody should live the way they lived. And the fact that, in a tribe, you're never sick all by yourself; you're never dying all by yourself, you're never poor all by yourself. The bringing up of children is not all your problem, it's the problem if the whole tribe. All of these things, the function of the tribe, is to make life work for everyone. If food is scarce, everyone is hungry. There aren't a few at the top who get to keep on eating. And if there's a lot of food, everybody gets more food.
So it's a much friendlier, (laughs) God knows, way of life than ours, where each of us is isolated, each of us, everyone for himself. That just doesn't work as a principle for people. It's very hard on people. And people think we're rich, but what I saw in studies of aboriginal peoples was how rich they were; not in toys, but in their lives, in the security they had. They had no jobs to lose, they couldn't become poorer unless they were all poorer.