Kunnas J (2010) Tensions originating from different time perspectives (Presentation) Cultural Histories: Close Readings, Critical Syntheses: International Society for Cultural History Conference, Turku, Finland, 26-30 May 2010, Turku, Finland, 26.05.2010-30.05.2010. http://isch2010.utu.fi/ISCH2010_Conference_Book_online.pdf
I hypothesize that much of the historical tensions between the elite and the subalterns stems from different time perspectives originating from differences in wealth. The elite can afford a long time perspective, the wealthier the longer. A peasant can afford as long time perspective as there is grain in storage, while a landless person an even shorter. My first example of the tensions and different opinion between the elite and the subaltern is from my research on slash-and-burn cultivation. The elite considered it as a waste of valuable timber; while peasants favoured slash-and-burn cultivation as it did not call for major capital inputs and required less work than clearing land for permanent cultivation. In Ostrobothnia, tar burning displaced slash-and-burn cultivation by the end of the 18th century. Many contemporary writers, however, thought that it would be wiser to concentrate on permanent field cultivation than to waste the forests for the burning of tar. Again we can trace conflicting views stemming from different time perspectives. The clearing of permanent would have required enough savings to survive the period between the clearance and the first yields. An important question is: What would have happened if the subalterns would have listened to the advice given from the elite, and stopped both slash-and-burn cultivation and tar burning and concentrated on the clearance of permanent fields. What effects would it have had on the availability on food, tax revenues and income distribution?