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A community with one foot in the past, but only for now

Turning perceived misfortune into profit – landowners as conmen


Ambua-lodge-guard( you reach an age when you start to recognise recycled ideas. Progressive innovation becomes an oxymoron; just as history repeats itself, so do ideas.  And of course we learn from neither.

With respect to recycled ideas, this is nowhere more evident than in human relations and management theory.

Once you work through the new jargon you suddenly become aware that you read the same ground breaking and radical innovation now taking the world by storm way back in the 1960s.  New name, new spin, same old ideas, same hackneyed motives.

And when it comes to motives, money and power tend to come to the fore in the idea-recycling business.

While some ideas might be innocently recycled by illiterate people who believe they’ve come up with something new and exciting others are revived deliberately by the unscrupulous.

I was reminded of this when I read Archbishop Doug Young’s comments about landowners claiming compensation for land gifted to the Catholic Church in Mount Hagen.

What the current landowners are doing is taking the very old highland custom of compensation designed to ensure harmony among the clans and reinvesting it with a profit motive.

Their great grandparents must be turning in their graves.

Doug Young rightly labels this practice as an ‘industry’ – the ever growing Papua New Guinean compensation industry.

People rushing out to plant gardens in the way of proposed road realignments or other developments with the sole aim of claiming monetary compensation is a classic example.

That they are aided and abetted by shonky lawyers introduces another invidious aspect to the nature of the industry.

The subversion of what was essentially a benign custom to make money should be abhorrent to most Papua New Guineans but I doubt whether this is the case.  Given the opportunity to make a few kina from the government or a big company most people will take it.

It is on a par with the way greedy politicians have subverted the customary status of big men and great men for economic purposes.

Taking something good and making it evil is not the way forward for any nation.

The sooner the compensation industry is curtailed the better.


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Gary Juffa

Agreed Phil. Compensation was an industry cultivated by politicians who were seeking to gain voter popularity. Even State entities have encouraged this activity which is nothing short of extortion. Along with the lack of law and order, it shall be the greatest impediment to progress and development of any sort.

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