The global economic downturn seems to be hitting every corner of the world — including the Gobi desert in Mongolia. A steep drop in demand for cashmere and wool made from the soft fibers of Mongolian goats are putting the country's nomadic herders out of work, according to a Wall Street Journal article.
The implications of the drop in demand for cashmere are very real in Mongolia. The Wall Street Journal reports that about a quarter of the population earns a living off of raising animals. Borrowing more than they could afford, many herders were living off credit from banks, who themselves put too much faith in the price for cashmere. Over-leveraged herders are now being forced to sell their tents or livestock to pay off their debts.
Purevdelger Budkhuu, a 38-year-old widow, sold all of her 128 goats to pay back her $1,270 loan to the bank. Budkhuu moved to the city with her two children in hopes of finding other work but has yet to find a job.
”I don’t know what to do. I can’t go back to the countryside because I have no animals...and I can’t stay here because I can’t find a job.”