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Mongolia's Nomads Are Making Money Again

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Published on Oct 16, 2007

Modern Nomads (1996): Watch how capitalism has helped raise the incomes of Mongolian nomads

A look at how Mongolia's new capitalism has prompted a nomadic revival.

On the grasslands, it's time to brand the wild ponies. Nomadic farmer, Jamts, is marking out his property. In post-communist Mongolia, nomads are once again permitted to own their own livestock. Inside their traditional ger tent, Jamts' wife, Dorj, prepares the day's fresh milk and cream. With skilful management of their resources, Jamts and Dorj have brought up 13 children. But as Mongolia heads for full blown capitalism, nomads now battle with powerful market forces. Jamts has thrived where many have failed because his enterprising nephew, Mendsaikhan, helps him sell produce in the city. Mendsaikhan takes Jamts' adult daughter, Pagma, back home for a visit. Far away from city nightclubs and medical student life, Pagma falls back into the nomadic routine. Haggling at the market, Mendsaikhan gets a good price for his uncle's sheepskins. Traders like he and Jamts can provide Mongolia's stumbling economy with much needed income. But government advisers believe that the nomadic lifestyle will inevitably collide with economic reform.

ABC Australia - Ref. 278

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