Keep the gear wet, never miss a tow.
By Amy Willis
What’s the best way to really learn about life in another community? Is it ever possible for industry to really connect with a community? In this episode, author Lamorna Ash describes her experiences in a Cornish fishing villages- and time spent working on a trawler- to EconTalk host Russ Roberts.
Ash first visited a Cornish village to to learn how fishing impacted the community, but the village became much more to her, including as the subject of her book, Dark, Salt, Clear. We hope you’ll help us continue the conversation- here in the Comments, or perhaps on your own offline. Either way, we love to hear from you.
1- What surprised you most about Ash’s description of life and work on the trawler? Roberts notes the lack of automation. Why do you think there seem to have been relatively few technological advances in this industry?
2- Why does Ash suggest that seasickness might be more psychological than physical? What doe she mean when she says it depends on “the relationship to the world you left behind?” Can you think of a similar phenomenon from another line of work?
3- What does Ash think is the most important thing she learned through this experience? What’s a similar experience you have had, and how did it change you?
4- Ash and Roberts talk a great deal about the trade-offs of economic growth, particularly in small towns such as the one in Ash’s book. Roberts says, “Creative destruction, technological change. All these things that lead to a higher standard of living, international trade, also affect your sense of self, your sense of place. It’s disruptive.” how do we know when enough is enough, or how can we help the retired fisherman working at Tesco from falling into despair?
5- How do fishing quotas help solve the tragedy of the commons? Given Ash’s description, how likely do you think it is that the younger generations of fishermen will focus more on sustainability than the old?
Fun Bonus Question: Ash tells the story of her trawler nickname, Raymundo. What would your nickname be, and why?)