Monday, April 12, 2010

Capital flows

From the Taipei Times a while back: Gifts for ghosts changing from cash to flash goods.
It seems that fake paper money is no longer good enough for the dead of Taiwan, where relatives traditionally burn make-believe cash to help ease the passage of their deceased loved ones through the byways of the netherworld.

Instead, many people now opt to provide ancestral ghosts with more elaborate paper gifts — models of everything from Ferraris to iPhones and even villas.

This article is a wonderful source of food for thought. I like the straightforward statement that the afterlife is a place where "buying opportunities have never been convincingly documented".

There's also the bit about burning paper replicas of guns for dead gangster relatives, so that they may continue their lifestyles as ghosts.

I must admit I'm very curious: if a gangster ghost uses lethal force against a rival gangster ghost... what happens, exactly?

I'd like to read more socioeconomic studies of what goes on in the afterlife. A while back, PodCastle ran Maureen McHugh's story "Ancestor Money", which was a good start.

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