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Sustaining cultural vitality in a globalizing world: the Balinese example

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It is generally accepted that massive tourism and a vibrant indigenous culture are mutually exclusive. Bali has so far proven to be an exception to this rule. This article explores a hitherto overlooked socio-economic mechanism behind that exception. It is a dual complementary currency system used for centuries by highly decentralized and democratic decision-making organizations. The reasons why such a dual currency system is so effective in mobilizing popular cultural creativity is investigated, and a systems framework is proposed to determine the conditions under which this model could be applicable outside of Bali. This framework is then tested with a second case study: traditional shell currencies in Papua New Guinea. Finally, some potential applications in areas in the world other than traditional cultures are portrayed.
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Keywords: Culture (Sociology); Economic Sustainability; Indonesia; Pacific Region

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 13, 2003

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