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Chapter 7

Week 5 - Harris Chapter 7, Kane Chapter 10, 11, 12.doc

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ANTH 1150
Scott Schau

Harris Chapter 7 • Economy: refers to the kinds of decisions people make when they have only limited resources or wealth and there are unlimited goods and services they would like to acquire or use • Economizing: refers to the choices people make that they believe will provide the greatest benefit to them • Views people as active strategist, as economizing actors who select the opportunity that yields the maximum good • People may define maximal good in terms of prestige, risk aversion, or increased leisure time, depending on how a culture defines self interest • Economy o Refers to the activities people engage in to produce and obtain goods and services o A set of institutionalized activities which combine natural resources, human labour, and technology to acquire, produce, and distribute material goods and specialist services in a structured, repetitive fashion • Some cultures emphasize economic cooperation, others emphasize competition Exchange • The practice of giving and receiving valued objects and services • Human beings could not survive infancy without receiving basic resources and services from their parents • Three main types of exchange: Reciprocal, Redistributive, and market Generalized Reciprocity • Mutually giving and receiving among people of equal status in which there is not need for immediate return, no systematic calculation of the value of the services and products exchanged and an overt denial that a balance is being calculated or that the balance must come out even Reciprocity and the Freeloader • Failure of an individual to reciprocate in some degree with eventually lead to bad feelings • Asymmetrical exchange does not go unnoticed Balanced Reciprocity • The expectation that goods or services of equivalent value will be returned within a specific period of time • Ex. Birthday presents • Silent trade: objects to be exchanged are set out in a clearing, and the first group retreats out of sight. Other group comes out and inspects then lays out what they think is a fair exchange and then goes and hides • Trade establishes alliances Kula Ring • A system of exchange in the Tobrian Islands, where trading partners from different islands take risky voyages to exchange sell ornaments around the ring of islands; white cowrie shell armbands are traded in a counterclockwise direction, and red shell necklaces are traded clockwise • Vary in value depending on their history • The ornaments are used to obtain other armbands and necklaces • Men establish partner ships on different islands • Entails more than a ceremonial exchange of valued shell ornaments. Utilitarian items are traded at the same time, so that people from different islands are able to exchange locally specialized food and craft products • System of achieving and validating political rank Redistribution Exchange • Coercive forms of exchange supplement or almost entirely replace reciprocal exchange • Redistribution: involves the accumulation of large amount of labor products produced by different individuals in a central place where they are sorted and counted and then given away to producers and nonproducers alike • Considerable organization effort required • Continuously attempt to increase and intensify production, for which they gain prestige in the eyes of their peers • Nonstratisfied system: redistribution is carried out by a redistributor who works harder than anyone else producing the items to be given away, takes the smallest portion or non at all, and is left with no greater material wealth that anyone else • Extreme example or reciprocity • The provider gives everything away, and nothing in return except admirations o Will be able to call on the recipients for favors • Stratification system: redistributor lets others do most of the work, retains the largest share, and ends up with more material wealth that anymore else • Usually embedded in kinship relationships • Boastful and competitive attitude of the redistributors and their kins • More likely to be associated with economies where intensification is possible without depleting the environment • Involves public proclamations that the host is a generous person and a great provider Potlatches • Boasting is one of the most conspicuous features • Guests grumble and complained never appear satisfied Reciprocity and Distribution • Reciprocity is a way of controlling intensification that would eventually return and environmental depletions • Simple hunters and gatherers seldom have an opportunity to intensity production without rapidly reaching the point of diminishing returns. Intensification poses a grave threat in the form of faunal overkills The Origin or Destructive Potlatches • Declining populations and a sudden influx in wealth had combined to make the potlatches increasingly competitive and destructive • One potlatch giver to outdo another had become all consuming passion • Potlatches that ended in destruction were considered great victories • With the shift of the Europeans, there was a shift toward more destructive forms of redistribution. Contact led to epidemics and decimated the population and intensified competition for manpower • Change in the technology and intensity of warfare led to even more destructive potlatches Stratified Redistribution • The workers must contribute to the central pool or suffer penalties and they may not get back anything • Existence of a class of rulers who have the power to compel others to do their bidding Price Marketing Exchange: Buying and Selling • Marketplaces occur in rudimentary forms wherever groups of strangers assemble and trade one item for another • Barter of one valuable consumable item for another • Great bulk of exchange transactions take place outside the marketplace and continue to involve various forms of reciprocity and redistribution • Dominate all other forms of exchange • Price of the goods and services exchanged is determined by buyers competing with buyers and sellers competing with sellers • Buying and selling in a price market is distinctive mode of exchange; the exchange involves specification or a precise time, quantity, and type of payment, and the participants’ main concern is maximizing financial gain • No further obligation exists between buyer and seller Money • A medium of exchange that has standard value. It is used as a mean of payment for goods and services in a wide range of transactions where trade is well developed and economizing is a guiding principle • Money has the following characteristics: o Portability: sizes and shapes that make it convenient o Divisibility: various forms and values o Generality: measured by a single common monetary value o Anonymity: anyone can conclude a transaction o Legality: controlled by government Capitalism • States reach their highest development as part of the political economy • Buying and selling by means of all-purpose money extends to land, resources, and housing • Labor has a price called wages • Associated with a change from production for use value to production for profit value • Production for use is aimed at satisfying specific material needs of individuals in households, capitalist production is aimed at accumulating wealth in order to purchase commodities for consumption • Prestige is awarded not to the person who works hardest or gives away the greatest amount of wealth but rater to the person who has the most possessions and who consumes at the highest rate. Capitalism inevitably leads to marked inequalities in wealth based on differential access to capital, technology, and resources Property Ownership • Ownership of land and resources is one of the most important aspects of political control • Ownership of garden land in nonstratisfied societies is usually claimed by kin groups in village communities, but everybody belongs to such kin groups, and hence adults cannot be prevented from using resources they need to make a living • Ownership of garden land in stratisfied societies is claimed and managed by the chief, who allocated land to individuals for their use in
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