Economic anthropology All societies have systems to allocate access to natural resources, systematic ways to convert resources to goods and services, and ways to distribute goods and services Kinds of economies Reciprocity, redistribution, and market exchange Market exchange is eventually based on all-purpose money.
Hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, horticulturalists, agriculturalists and industrial food production. Hunter-gatherers Subsistence technology, including implements for hunting and fishing Paleolithic technology, small groups, patrilineal and patrilocal
Reciprocity Generalized reciprocity: Balanced reciprocity: under conditions of low technology and unpredictability without scarcity.
short term and explicit, including silent trade Andaman Islands, Australian Aborigines, !Kung San, Semang of Malysia, Pygmies of central Africa, Inuit, Hadza from Raymond Hames work on the Yanomamo of Brazil (figure 6 at http://www.unl.edu/rhames/aaa96/egalexch.htm Pastoralists
This is a special adaptation to areas that dont support agriculture but that do support extensive grasses Dry climate Steep hills Poor soils Where are the pastoralists?
East Africa (cattle) Maasai and Fulani North Africa (camels) Bedouins SW Asia (sheep, goats) Kurds Central Asia (yaks) Kazhaks Subarctic (caribou and reindeer) Lapps Material goods are limited by migration Little craft specialization, but some regional trade agreements with agricultural villages Transhumant and nomadic pastoralism
East Africa Men and boys move livestock; women may remain in permanent villages. Nomadic pastoralists move the whole village. The Nama of South Africa
Clan organization rather than tribal or national The Nama pastoralists migrated constantly and lived on meat and milk from cattle, sheep, and goats, with hunted meat and gathered vegetables. Oxen made it easier for them to pack and cover large areas. Pastoralists today Being settled by governments Range being taken by agriculture But for some countries (Ethiopia and
Afghanistan, for example), restoring pastoralism would improve peoples lives: especially if they are integrated into international markets for animal products Horticulturalists
Hills of India, Pacific islands, Amazon forest Yanomamo, for example Slash and burn (swidden) agriculture plus hunting Warm forest regions of the world Textiles and pottery are rudimentary 5-25 families in impermanent villages Village autonomy and little tribal level organization Some intervillage trade, but very limited
Agriculturalists These are advanced cultivators: SW Pacific, agricultural regions of subSaharan Africa Permanent settlements Crop rotation and fallow practices Often combined with stock raising and
little hunting Tribal government well developed Dahomey In Dahomey (Benin), a city of over 100,000 developed from 1650-1894 Very high level of specialization Capital city of Agbome was a
centralized state based on a monarchy Independence in 1960 Highland cultivators of NW Aztecs, Incas and prior civilizations in those regions Maize, potatoes, beans, roots, squash, chili peppers
Irrigated dry lands and terraced fields on hilly slopes Permanently cleared land Organized towns and states Hand cultivation (only the llama in Peru for wool and pack, but no wheel) Well-established trade system and great specialization and achievement in government, with rods and temples and houses; complex superstructure, including religion and arts and crafts Asian agrarian civilizations
India, Burma, Cambodia, China, Japan before industrialization Irrigated rice cultivation and some millet, fruit trees, spices, vegetables, oil-producing seeds, fibrous plants, and fish Plow cultivation Elaborate arts, crafts, and religion Highly developed government, including states Very dense population: up to 1500/sq mi Permanent villages with either a feudal or
peasant society Industrial economies Europe, brazil, Argentina, the U.S., South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia many in transition today Irrigated and non-irrigated plow cultivation, with mechanization and large-scale domestication of
animals Industry and exploitation of oil, cola, gas, timber, minerals, and water Highest level of specialization with large urban centers and small proportion of rural food producers Reciprocity: Karl Polanyis categories Generalized reciprocity
under conditions of low technology and unpredictability without scarcity: !Kung, parents and children Balanced reciprocity: short term and explicit, including silent trade Mbuti Negative reciprocity We continue to have elements of, generalized, balanced, and negative reciprocity in our economic system. The Kula Ring
Bronislaw Malinowski described this system in the Trobriand Islands Advanced cultivators, boat builders and fishermen Produced a lot of surplus using Neolithic tools. Strong specialization in foods and crafts. Ritual exchange as part of the system of trade
The Mwali are the white shell armbands and move counter-clockwise; the Soulava are red shell necklaces and move clockwise The Potlatch of the NW Coast Northwest Coast of North America: Haida of Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, Kwakiutl, Tlingit, Nootka
Totem poles, old and modern Mild climate, heavy rainfall. Rich forests and marine fauna. Hunting, fishing and gathering. Stratified society and highly developed craft specialization, WITHOUT agriculture Elaborately carved boats, paddles, boxes and other artifacts Potlatch
Potlatching is tied to rank and status in a highly stratified society like the Haida Moiety social organization: each person belongs to the moiety of his or her mother, and must take a spouse from the opposite moiety Each moiety may have up to 20 clans, each with many households, and up to 30 people in a household
Clans control hunting territories, including salmon streams and sea mammal grounds. Clans also own names and titles to boats, songs, dances, ceremonies, and carvings People accumulate foods, oils, furs, blankets, slaves, and copper shields, but this was traditionally for potlatching, not for trade Traditional potlatches Surplus is distributed through potlatches Funeral potlatch ascension to a
title after the death of a relative Face-saving potlatch to establish place after being humiliated Vengeance potlatch to destroy an enemy Redistribution mechanisms The potlatch, the New Guinea pig feasts, and the Mexican cargo system distribute
surplus, but not the means of production. Thus, they are not wealth leveling mechanisms. Roy Rappaport study of New Guinea pig feasts: Pigs for the Ancestors (1984) Frank Cancians study of the Mexican cargo system: Economics and Prestige in a Maya Community (1992) The Tsembaga say that the pig feast is part of the cycle of war and peace and that the spirits of the ancestors would be upset if the Tsembaga failed to sacrifice the pigs. Rappaport showed both the cycle of
war and the pig sacrifices were part of a single process that maintained meat protein up to a point. Money True money has portability, durability, homogeneity, and divisibility Examples include: Diawara shells in New Britain, Melanesia; Wampum in Nieuw Amsterdam; Kwakiutl copper shields; Sudanese cowries; and Yap money wheels
Diawara shells Diawara shells in New Britain, Melanesia were efficient. Standard unit of one fathom string of shells One string bought 60-80 taro roots, but a chicken was one quarter of a unit Stored in large coils in money houses and accumulated as capital, with bankers
lending at interest the money given to them by wealthy men Chumash bead money from olivella (purple olive) shells on the Channel Islands. Like wampum, the value of Chumash money depended on the labor required to make it. Beads made from the opening of the shell were more valuable because. As with other shell money systems around the world, Chumash money was measured by the length of the string. Wampum
Also fathom length string, but used as measures of wealth, as ornaments, and as means of recording important events, in addition to trade. Given as tokens of friendship and as a pledge of honor in treaties Value of wampum was determined by the number of beads and the color: purple and white had different values Porcelain wampum
It took skill and time to make wampum and there was hardly any inflation until the 19th century, when fur traders brought in porcelain beads. The Dutch law of 1650: good quality = 6 white and 3 purple per stiver poor quality = 8 and 4 Yap money wheels: Rai Caroline Islands, Micronesia the
Yap trading empire The wheels were from 1-12 feet in diameter. This meant that some wheels never moved, but changed hands (one remained in the lagoon). The wheels are not portable or divisible, but they are very durable. The cost of manufacture The wheels were made from argonite that was quarried on Palau and Guam. Guam is 550 miles from Yap; Palau is 300 miles.
Open ocean expeditions required provisions to crews on the islands during the quarrying. OKeefe money A 12-14 stone of good quality was worth 50 baskets of taro, yams, or bananas; or 1 pig of 80-100 pounds. Large wheels could be traded for land even whole plantations. OKeefe money (David Dean OKeefe) was discounted because of the difference in labor and risk.
Optimal foraging theory From Eric Smith at the University of Washington: The decision rule in OFT is: add prey types to the set taken, in descending rank order, until reach the jth prey type where Vj/Hj < Vi / (Ts + Hi) [Note: V = value (e.g., calories) for each prey type; Ts
= total search time; = "sum of"; H = average sum of"sum of"; H = average ; H = average handling time for prey items of each prey type] OFT "sum of"; H = average Add prey types until the return rate from a prey type is lower than the average rate of return for all higher-ranked prey types (including search time)"sum of"; H = average So, the optimal diet means that adding types of prey to diet eventually leads to a decrease in the overall rate of return. Optimal foraging theory
The Ach of eastern Paraguay choose to hunt chacoan peccaries (which are hard to find and take) rather than armadillos (which are easy to find and take) Peccaries yield 4,600/hr Armadillos yield 1,800 calories/hr A hunt of only peccaries and deer yields 148/hr OFT II
Adding coatis and pacas increases the yield to 405/hr Palm fruit 946/hr; you cant live only on palm fruit Adding a total of 16 species yields 872/hr Thus, abundance of a food resource does not by itself determine its use. The amount it contributes to the overall efficiency of food production is important.
Harris environmental efficiency rating Richard Lee studied the !Kung (Bushmen) of the Kalahari desert in South Africa For a sample of days, there were, on average, 7.4 workers per day, each working, an avg. of 6 hours. Avg. caloric expenditure is 150 cal/hr, for
normal work regimes. Thus: 7.4 x 6 x 150 = 6660 calories/day Lee calculated that the !Kung produced, on average, 64,200 cal/day across the sample of days The efficiency rating of the !Kung is thus:
64,200/6660 = 9.6 Lee counted 20 food producers in the group. He then calculated the number of hours per year per food producer 23,433,000 = 813 hours/yr The Genieri Genieri of Gambia produce 460,000,000 cal/yr with 334 food producers, each working
about 820 hr/yr. Their environmental efficiency is thus about 11.2 For a similar effort, there is a 20-fold increase in calories produced because of the higher carrying capacity of the land under the technology of horticulture. Thus, the working population of the Genieri village was about 500, or about 25 times that of the !Kung. Tesmbaga Maring of Papua New Guinea Early Neolithic technology thus produces larger and more stable populations, but not that much more
efficiency in food production. Tsembaga Maring of highland New Guinea. They produce 150,000 calories per year, with 146 workers, each working, on average, 380 hours per year. Efficiency: about 18. The Tsembaga planted 42 acres out of
864 when Rappaport studied them in 1962-1963. They also kept pigs -- 160 maximum. The efficiency rating for pigs is much lower (about 2.1), but pigs are a stable source of protein. The Tsembaga regenerated their forest every 20 years and their density was stable at 67/sq mile Compare to the !Kung, at 1/sq mile So the Tsembaga depleted the biomass of the forest, but their pigs and their increased technology sustained them.
Note the principle of intensification Lutsun Village in China 1947 Lutsu'un village in Yunan province
Rice cultivation with intensive agriculture 418 workers (total population of about 700) in 1947. They produced about about 3.6b calories, working 1129 hours each, with ER = 53.5. Allow 2,500/day per person. This requires 633 million cal. Where does the surplus go? Industrial U.S.
In the 1980s, about 5 million food producers generated three trillion calories in the U.S. They worked 1,700 - 3,600 hours/yr This produced a maximum ER = 210. However, Harris pointed out that in the 1980s it took 8 calories of inputs to produce 1 calorie of food Technoenvironmental efficiency ratings Source: Marvin Harris 1984 People, Culture, Nature (data from 1980) Society
Annual Food Hours/ Calories/ Efficiency Technology calories (in producers food hour/ rating millions) in 1980 producer person 23 200 805 150 9.6 H/G !Kung 460
150 53.5 irrig. ag. 210.0 indust. ag. Why do people work more now than they did 30 years ago? One farmer produces 52m calories or 30,000
calories per hour. In 1970, the average blue-collar worker earned $3.42/hr and food cost $600/yr. Food was $600/$6840 annual wages = ~ 9% In 1990, the average blue-collar worker earned $13.50/hr and food cost about $4860/yr Food was $4860/$27,000 = ~18% Today, Americans are working ~2000 hours per year and earn, but food costs more. Chayanovs rule:
Chayanovs rule: the largest number of producers relative to the number of consumers in a family yields less work per producer. So, if household consumption is the only reason to work, the evolution of efficiency in production systems will produce less work per person. But we see that this rule doesnt apply in industrial economies with high costs for children. Political and economic systems
Just as we ask how and why did people give up H/G for agriculture, we should ask why did people develop hierarchical systems of control? Power, authority and responsibility Headmen have no real power All hunting groups have leaders Of course we have headmen! the ! Kung told Lee. We are all headmen. Each one of us is a headman over himself.
Mehinaku leaders give public speeches every night, exhorting people and must show largesse Among pastoralists, with concentrated wealth, we can see authority with power emerging Mekranoti Dennis Werner studied the Mekranoti village of Kayapo in the Amazon 285 people and one village chief Leadership reputation depends more on knowledge of Brazilians and
Portuguese than on closeness of descent from a chief. The steps to the Big Man complex Surplus and redistribution is the first step toward inequalities. Headmen are redistributors, but not chiefs. They must use egalitarian principles to maintain their prestige. Intensification produced greater surplus, which produced competition for the role of redistributor.
Leopard Skin Chief The Nuer of Sudan: the Leopard Skin Chief can cleanse murderers and negotiate the cattle price for taking a life. He can mediate only with the assent of the parties. We see the emergence of the Big Man complex with swidden agriculture: for
example, the Siuai of Bouganville, Solomon Islands Douglas Oliver showed how young men fall into the trap of competing for the honor of being a Mumi, or Big Man, where feasts were like potlatches, with different goods being distributed. The Mumis, however, did not have the power of the Kwakiutl chiefs. Once again, the key was storage technology. People depend on emergent chiefs during famines and droughts. This is the transition to chiefdoms
and the first social contract. Economic and Political Systems Mode of production Size H/G Principle of Distribution organization mechanism
<200 egalitarian reciprocity extensive ag. and herding small village egalitarian
reciprocity extensive ag. and herding large village rank reciprocity and redistribution.
Level of integration Band Tribe Chiefdom State intensive ag. and herding city
class Redistribution and markets Demography and cultural evolution To recap: H. sapiens lived in H-G bands of 30 50 for 98% of human history As recently as 3000 ya, most peoples (not people) were still hunters and gatherers
Transition to surplus The transition to redistribution probably began with seasonal surpluses and then storage technology. At the first stage, headmen reinforce the principles of egalitarianism, working harder and receiving prestige and perhaps greater access to polygynous marriage. The first social contract
At the next stage, technology made the storage of surplus possible. This made the headmans feasts more of a ratification of wealth and, eventually, power. The transition is the point in human history in which the social contract was established and the link between power and authority emerges.
Development of chiefdoms The Trobriand chiefs ruled over a set of 1015 villages with several thousand people. Gifts of yams from many affinal relatives as chiefs accumulated wives. The Cherokee also had chiefs and a paramount chief. The granaries were given special donations for chiefs, who
lived in luxury. Chiefdoms and states Chiefdoms everywhere display big architecture: Stonehenge, Easter Island, Olmec, Ohio-Tennessee-Mississippi Valley Chiefdoms are all on their way to becoming states.
But stratification based on sex and race and class are quite recent in human history. Neither inequality nor war are genetic. Why then, do we have war? Melvin and Carol Ember have studied this across cultures: 1. Centralized societies have armies, and all
that this entails in terms of arms and organization, but the frequency of war is no greater than in band or tribal level societies. 2. War is unlikely in small populations and territories. 3. Formal alliances dont lessen the chance of war. 4. Trading partners go to war more often
than non-partners. 5. Military equality did not traditionally lessen the likelihood of war, though the nuclear age has partly changed this at least temporarily. 6. Democracies do not go to war with one another, the American Civil War notwithstanding. The problem of causation, again Societies do not go to war over chronic food shortage. In preindustrial societies, people often go to war over fear of unpredictable natural disasters.
War is not universal The Semai of the Malay penninsula hold nonviolence as an ideal. Among 12,000, Clayton Robarchek found a single case of homicide during 1963-1976, or <1/100k Richard Lee found 29/100k for the ! Kung The Yanamamo case
The Yanamamo have very high level of violence 64/100 F/M ratio for under 10 years, despite the killing of men in battle (25% of all male deaths). New Guinea case In New Guinea highlands, warfare was endemic.
There was an increase in intertribal warfare after contact with Europeans in some areas of New Guinea. Prior to contact, tribes traded for salt, axes, shells, feathers, pandanus oil, and fur. After contact, European trade goods led to endogamy and a lack of trading between villages at different elevations. The reduction in intertribal marriage led to loss of political relations between autonomous groups War in New Guinea highlands before and after contact Before contact After contact
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