MOUNT BROMO, Indonesia – Indonesian legend has it that six centuries ago, a princess hurled her youngest child into a fiery volcano to appease mountain gods who had granted her fertility.
Today thousands of pilgrims flock to Mount Bromo on East Java each year to offer the spirits food, live animals and money and ask for prosperity and health. Bromo, a 7,641-foot volcano, is one of Java’s most popular tourist attractions.
The poor arrive days ahead of the ceremony, carrying fishing nets to catch money and anything edible. They camp under tarps in the crater atop the mountain’s chilly slopes.
The alternative to this would be to discourage delusional beliefs in an assortment of magic sky and earth fairies and instead to encourage the donation of this wasted money, food, and livestock to the poor people desperate for anything they can get to aid in their survival. I’m undecided as whether to call this bottom-up economics or just not-being-fucking-stupid.