ANTH 202 Midterm 2 Study Guide
ANTH 202 Midterm 2 Study Guide ANTH 202
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Cultural Anthropology Class Notes Midterm #2 Environmental Determinism: the climate, the habitat, the way of life shaped certain types of people They are shaped by their environment Anthropologists reject this Adaptation: a cultural process (it can also be a biological process) Sustainability: the notion of adaptation is related to sustainability; systems that are able to perpetuate themselves through time given the resources to them at hand Cases: Kaiko, Patrilineal Band 2 Cases Discuss… Residence Rules: where people live after they’re married Incest: applies to nuclear family even in places where there’s no law; it is frowned upon; must marry outside of relatives Patrilocality: when the young couple lives with the father of the groom Matrilocality: when the young couple lives with the mother of the bride Neolocality: establish their own separate residence Don’t want to mix up residence rules with decent Patrilineality Exogamy: to marry outside of a group; territories that are defined by lineages Cultural Ecology focuses on Ecology: total web of relationships among life-forms in an area Look at interconnections between o Divisions of labor (& emic categories) o Technology o Environment Ritual, Religion, Ecology Remember this is how folks get access to resources Territory is dominioin Pigs, opossums, eels Swidden agriculture Pig Contribution Good protein Distribute pork surpluses Facilitate trade and marriage Adjust population level to the land Restricts incidence of warfare Keeps garden fallow periods longer This case exhibits sustainability – high population density areas without regulation to maintain many groups within a level of land use that can support them/population Not something an individual does; something culture does Ecological Adjustment & Kaiki (ritual) Calibrated periodically according to some subjective judgment – no scientists, priests, chiefs, etc.) Elders are the authorities (closer to ancestors) With a given technology in a given environment, people have to do some things a certain way or not at all, that explains cultural similarities. People face different problems in different environments and with different technologies and that explains cultural differences. Forms of Exchange (or Distribution) Reciprocity Redistribution Marketplace (e.g. Niger) Markets How do we study cultural difference in a globalized world? Methods for studying value, organization of production and exchange (multiple regimes of value; multiple organizations of production) Methods for studying global and local markets that tie these together – exchange value, political power, productivity, and labor Where does capitalism come from? Is it a political system? A cultural system? An economic system? A choice? Made by whom? A development of a previous system? Capitalism: the destruction of self-sufficient economies If land is a common resource, you can privatize the land to make it unavailable to others Capital: expanding value; self-expanding value Different from money; money you exchange for something while capital is a certain kind of social relation whereby the holder of capital in that social relation gets richer (accumulates value); capital only makes sense in a system of social relations “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor and could never have existed if labor had no first existed. Labor ist he superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.” - Abraham Lincoln Preconditions for Capitalism Market exchange (with some universal measure of value) [no distinct spheres of exchange] Labor for hire Create surplus value by expanding labor time above what is necessary for its reproduction [No interference with process] Lack of access to necessary resources by a part of the population Production Who makes the decisions to produce under capitalism? Capitalists Why are things produced? Profit How are factors of production mobilized in order to produce? (labor, tools, knowledge, space/land) It’s the capitalists ability to buy/rent land, produce, etc. Graph: Unit of production and consumption How do you increase what this household economy will produce? Introduce new technology New technology doesn’t necessarily mean people produce more if it incurs more costs Most people in household economies are already producing what they want/need New technologies have unforeseen consequences – not always just beneficial Why the imperative for economic growth? Economy run for profit and not to meet human needs, except incidentally Capitalist economies are market-based rather than managed and capitalists (and sometimes governments) get to decide how to invest Sustainability Household economies can be sustainable and usually are because they are managed with the next generation in mind The “bottom line” is continuity of social life Push vs. Pull out of household economies “If people could work for themselves sin household production, they would never work for wages” What about children of farmers who don’t want to keep farmers and move to the cities and work in a factory? Factors: instability, precarious existence, community breakdown Types of Political Organization Fits into economic Policy: Public order Intentional behavior between people; interaction between people (equals between two different groups) There’s a hidden side to the politics and as much as the systems in which we live under have different impacts on our daily life it is a result of a particular way of structure Do all social systems have government? Power; who has influence? Authority? Influence? Priviledge? Egalitarian Society: Is one in which there are enough postions and prestiage as there are people to fill them; everybody is unequal and appreciated for their particular talents and what they contribute to the group ** TEST** Access to resources is largely a matter of luck Focus on how people develop and use their abilities You are given status on the basis of your achievement The group benefits when people are recognized for who they are Access to resources and culture code as opposed to power Egalitarian Political Order Cultural Ecology Reciprocity Influence Institutions (bundle of ideals/ideas/relationships) Hobbes: it’s a war of everybody against everybody at all times Where’s power? Who is exhibiting power? Chiefdom Like Trobriand Islands – redistribution used to form alliances but no monopoly of force Kin own property Kindred organization Slaves and retainers (followers) Trade was important (as in Trobriand) and ecological change Nobody had the power to maintain social order; clear notions of property (boundaries); property eliminates the escape path for slaves Concepts on Midterm #2 Cultural ecology Kaiko (what it does, part that it plays in ordering ecological and social relations) Economic system Forms of exchange Reciprocity Redistribution Markets Market-places – central places in which objects are explained by living actors Property Use-value Exchange-value Forms of production Household production Feudalism Capitalist production Drudgery – a criteria that household producers use to decide when to produce and stop producing; they don’t work with a profit motive, work with utility and drudgery rather than value and surplus value; don’t produce value for outsiders Marginal Utility Free labor Commodity Example of Ranked Society Access to positions of prestige is limited but access to productive resources is not Canela Indians of Brazil Iceland – people with different degrees of social control How does that system of power come into being? How is it maintained? Chiefdom Like Trobriand Islands – redistribution used to form alliances but not monopoly of force Kin own property Kindred organized Slaves and retainers (followers) Trade was important (like in Trobriand) What was Law? How was order maintained? Ideology? Internally – reciprocity & redistribution Externally – diplomacy, councils, warfare Labor is the key to keeping your political power Some Conclusions about Stratification It is the upper classes that may need a state – source of siorder is competition among those who have resources Hobbesian state of warre is a result of stratification Civilization is a cage When the escape option is available, people will leave and work for themselves (and be ungovernable) Example: North American settlement Shared Culture does not equal shared interests Adaption is a system-level process Once stratification becomes part of human social organization then we need to incorporate this into our understanding How has cultural understanding of wealth changed? Historical TEST: Ecology, economic state, political, 3 types of relation: affiliation, marriage, siblingship The slaves in Iceland came from long distance trade connected to empires stratified societies that existed in the East so that the vikings (Norwegians) would go down the river and meet up with people (from Syria, Persia) they would trade what they had for slaves So the slaves weren’t from Iceland, they were the result of long distance trade from other stratified political forms Waged laborers came from the end of slavery The Rise of Islam Similiarites between Iceland and the Middle East in terms of the way people were organized They had kindreds that were headed by a chief and the chief had his own family members to deal with but also other dependents and slaves The slaves came from neighboring areas where people had been enslaved during the course of warfare In Iceland, a state never occurred – it eventually evolved into a Kingdom of Norway In contrast, in the Middle East a state did form (Islamic) The existing social order based on kinship ties (decent groups that were formed on basis of lineages) – what existed before become transformed become into a state about the idea of Islam. What change? What existed there gave rise to something new. Wolf Hypothesis: Functions of internal order and external order removed from lineages and placed under the administration of a state (i.e. state is what enables stratified society to function) The Rise of Corporation in America Secondary states: they become states on their own in the absence of primary states Islam arose in the context of neighboring states How has cultural understanding of wealth changed? Historical experience with trusts taking over the business of the valley (loss of relative autonomy) [remember colonial Africa, Icelandic fishing, enclosures in Europe] Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations): The difference of natural talents in different men is, in reality, much less than we are aware of; and the very difference genius which appears to distinguish men of different professions when grown up… The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education He’s talking about luck – not that people get what they deserve Anthropology Unbound Chapter 4 Culture codes are mental We base our actions on the conclusions we can draw from the evidence we have and the logic of our culture codes As people the only way we have to deal with our environments is the cultural codes that define our understandings of reality Example: Every time you put the keys in a car and turn on the engine you contribute to global warming. It doesn’t matter what you think about it – you may be “for the environment” and driving a load of stuff to the recycling center. Your actions have the exact same consequences as if you’d set out to pollute the environment. All industrial processes are polluting USA, Brazil, China, etc. You cannot make a car without polluting the environment; you cannot drive a car without polluting the environment Not all forms of agriculture are sustainable Industrial agriculture like people use in the U.S. are not We know this because it takes more energy to produce the food than the food has in it That’s why growing corn to make ethanol to burn in cars isn’t eh answer to oil dependency; it takes more energy to grow the corn than the ethanol has in it Maya – corn growing culture Civilization collapsed (the whole complex of their civilization: kings, wars, temples) According to their culture code, the way to increase corn production would be to make the gods happy To make the gods happy they built temples and made sacrifices But when they took labor away from corn production to build temples, there was less corn and the problem got worse So they built more temples, and so on Sometimes people do things that work well without even knowing it How can they solve problems without knowing what they are? Over the course of years they have tried things that turn out to work for them and continue to work for them so they do not need to know how the system works; it just does People’s understandings of what they are doing, their culture codes, may differ from ours – but what counts ecologically is the results of their actions Tsembaga – people of New Guinea who kill pigs There are ecological problems whenever these people kill pigs They kill pigs to pay their debts to their ancestors In debt to ancestors because they helped them in a war with nearby groups so they kill their pigs and sponsor a great feast to pay back the ancestors for their help and to treat their allies They promise to pay the ancestors when they have enough pigs and start with the pigs that remain to rebuild their stocks of pigs Tsemabaga cannot go to war again until they pay the debt because the ancestors will not help them All of this stuff about ancestors and debts is part of their cultural code But, it informs their actions and their actions have ecological consequences Pigs and people eat the same food (sweet potatoes) Women do most of work to grow potatoes in garden At the end of war they only have a few pigs in the garden Because they only have to feed the people and a few pigs, the women make fewer gardens and the land that isn’t used recovers its fertility People pen their pigs on the old garden spots to root and soften the ground; pigs act as bionic plows Then wild plants take over the garden spot The longer the land recuperates the more fertile it is and the women can use the most productive gardens The longer they use the gardens the less productive they become until they aren’t worth cultivating and cannot be used for gardens until they lie fallow again The number of gardens fluctuates up/down with the number of pigs The length of fallow changes opposite the number of gardens (the more gardens the shorter the fallow periods) The fertility varies in the same direction as the length of fallow The fertility goes up in the opposite direction from the number of gardens More pigs more gardens shorter fallow less fertility more gardens Fewer pigs fewer gardens longer fallow more fertility fewer gardens Pigs get into neighbors gardens and root around and destroy other people’s crops When this happens the other people complain and take legal action against the pig’s owner More pigs also means more disputes and more complaints of overwork from the women When these negative aspects of having so many pigs become intolerable to the elders they conclude that there are enough pigs to pay off the debt to the ancestors and sponsor another big feast and kill off most of the pigs Then they are free to go to war again because the ancestors will help them Another variable in this system: how healthy people are Not so much because health determines how hard they can work, but because when someone is sick (like Lisu) they sacrifice a pig as part of the curing ritual So if everyone is in good health then the population of pigs grows faster than if they kill off some of the pigs for curing ceremonies Roy Rappaport: studied Tsembaga and wrote book Pigs for the Ancestors He concluded that Tsembaga ritual was a regulating mechanism in this system Regulating Mechanism: a part of the system that keeps the values of variables within certain limits Example: Thermostat – when temperature in a room gets hot enough the heat trips a heat-sensitive switch that turns off the furnace. As the room cools down, the switch turns on the furnace and it begins to heat up the air again until the switch turns it off. The heat-sensitive switch is the regulating mechanism that keeps the air temperature within certain limits. The Tsembaga cultural code keeps the number of pigs within certain limits because it provides a way to turn on or off the sacrifice that regulates the number of pigs What is “enough” pigs? Enough pigs is the number that makes the complaints and disputes too annoying for the elders, so they are willing to flip the switch and repay the ancestors the pigs they owe them from the last war; after they do that they can go to war again until they have enough pigs to pay the debt they got into from starting the war and so on This ritual cycle assures local groups a supply of good protein especially when they need it the most (when they are sick) It distributes local surpluses of pork throughout the region by the feasts so those who have extra pigs feed those with less than enough It facilitates trade because the allies people invite to their feasts bring gifts It keeps the number of people adjusted to the area of land It limits the fighting to frequencies that don’t endanger any of the groups It maintains the environment in good condition for gardening by guaranteeing that the fallow periods don’t get too short of the fertility too low (most important) Tsembaga warfare is not like American wars Differences: They cannot fight another war until they are out of debt for the previous one They do not use napalm, drones, machine guns, grenades, Humvees, tanks and airplanes – they use spears and bows and arrows Warefare more like American football – long meetings with short periods of violence; people get hurt and some die, but not all that many Similarities: The more livestock we feed the more of our land and agricultural effort goes to growing feed for the animals Giant factories in the Midwest convert corn into ethanol as an additive for gasoline Corporations seem to have the fix in with politicians from the area to support tax breaks for ethanol and promote this fuel additive as environmentally safe Corn is converted into endless tank-car-loads of corn sweetener destined for soda and bakery goods The biggest single “food” in the U.S. diet is soda; accounts for 1 of every 5 calories that Americans consume Contents of almost any industrially produced food or drink product you will see “corn sweeteners” or “corn syrup” from ADM (giant agricultural corporation, Archer Daniels Midland) ADM supports an army of lobbyists in D.C., to retain a high tariff on imported sugar and work with the right-wing sugar magnates who fled from Cuba to Florida and drained the wetlands of that state to reestablish their sugar plantations in the USA ADM and the Cubans form a strong political block to keep Cuban sugar expensive relative to their products As with the Tsembaga, the political decisions are connected to the economics ones and the economic actions have consequences for the environment The corn from the Midwest that doesn’t go to sweeteners or ethanol is destined to feed the livestock in industrial animal production facilities close by or to feed livestock in Russia, China, and other lands One thing that is different from Tsembaga or Lisu is that it’s hard to find any regulating mechanism that puts limits on anything in this system Signals that go through the system determine how it will act Example: Tsembaga women complain of overwork; that is a signal. There are too many disputes; that’s another signal. When the signals all align, the elders trip the regulating mechanism and the feasting begins Tsembaga and American system responds to signals Julian Steward: anthropologist who did a lot to develop cultural ecology in the 1950’s with his book Theory of Culture Change Roy Rappaport’s work on Tsembaga is example of cultural ecology Cultural Ecology: an approach in anthropology that emphasizes that although all of the elements of a culture are interrelated, the parts that have most to do with the way people make their livings, the cultural core, are the most important and determine the rest Steward calls the culture core: the social, political, and religious patterns most closely connected to the way people get their livings; central aspects of the culture Different emic systems define different cultures Steward wanted to understand the reasons these differences came to be Ruled out the environment itself because people with different cultures live in the same environments Steward borrowed the idea of ecology: the total web of relationships among life forms in an area – from biology Ecology: understands a population in terms of its relations with the web of life in an area Cultural ecology: describes the interactions of physical, biological, and cultural factors in an area to explain why different cultures take different forms Steward suggests that anthropologists analyze the interrelationships of the productive technology with the environment We see a division of labor between men and women and we go on to see how people organize themselves for production and what the consequences are Example: Tsembaga men make gardens by digging with sticks; women tend the gardens and keep them up after that People solve problems and the solutions create other problems Example: Tsembaga feed their pigs sweet potatoes but the more gardens they make and the more pigs they have the more the pigs invade other people’s gardens and cause disputes Steward suggests that after we describe the interactions of the technology and environment, we check how the patterns of behavior involved in making a living affect other areas of behavior Example: Tsembaga ritual regulates the frequency of warfare, the number of pigs, the amount of land people cultivate, and the fertility of the land The kinds of factors that are important to cultural ecology are interrelations of land use, land tenure, kinship, residence rules – all of the emic or cultural code stuff that has consequences for how people produce things Steward also wanted to understand consequences of actions Example: Consequences of the Tsembaga ritual system; USA love affair with soda Cultural ecology also studies the results of peoples actions (obesity, global warming, pollution) and whether or not people have the same understanding of these things as we do Our understandings may differ because we develop etic understandings based on different assumptions and procedures than the ones in the cultural codes of the people in the systems Steward’s idea was that people solve similar problems in similar ways everywhere and at every time Explains cultural similarities Different problems of using their various technologies in dissimilar environments cause the cultural differences From the point of view of cultural ecology, the environment is much broader than people’s physical surroundings Involves other social groups as well Example: We cannot understand Tsembaga unless we understand how they trade and make war with their neighbors Adaptive Responses: solving problems Can have disadvantageous side effects It is not to achieve a perfect fit but to find reasonable solutions to the problems that face people Cultural Adaptation: the way people solve problems; the solutions don’t always work in the long run; the solutions may cause new problems or make old ones worse There is no necessity in evolution; just because a system needs something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen Was it stupid for Mayans to continue to build temples when they were running short of corn? (Maybe from our perspective; from theirs maybe not) Sahlins wrote about how in Fiji people fish for food and make dried coconut (copra) to sell for money Cosmetic products and food products use oil from copra Fijians use boats for fishing but cost money to buy/maintain boat Since they use boats for fishing and fishing is a subsistence activity, all kinsmen can use the boat because there is an ethic of mutuality and share and share alike for anything that has to do with subsistence People can put their money into houses with tin roofs to gain prestige hten their kinsmen cant use the product of their work How do Fijians allocate their money? – To houses or to boats? Put it into houses so they can reserve the benefits to themselves in line with the individualist market ethic of coconut production If use for boats, they help themselves but also help their kinsmen just as much (and the kinsmen do nothing for it) Everyone continues to have relatives but they put their resources into houses and have fewer and fewer boats; because there are fewer boats they fish less and their diet has less protein thus the quality of their diet decreases and they live in hot and unhealthy houses This is their way of adapting to the factors they face in daily life Is it smart? Maybe not. Is it adaptive? Yes. Is it sustainable? No. Cultural ecology directs our attention to those aspects of the culture most related to making a living (economic systems) We need a framework that allows us to compare all economic systems such as Tsembaga and the American one in the same terms Important to understand systems from inside, to understand their emic meanings anthropologists step outside them to develop frameworks that do not depend on the ideas of any single culture so we can compare cultures An ethnographer cannot be satisfied with a mere cataloging of the components of a cultural ecosystem according to the categories of Western science He must also describe the environment as the people themselves construe it according to the categories of their ethnoscience Chapter 5 The economic framework that anthropologists have developed does not share much with what you learn from economists in a department of economics or business administration The wisdom of ethnography is “assume nothing” Any assumptions are likely to be based on our own cultural codes and experience Thus could mislead us in understanding the people we want to understand We’d be understanding them in our own emic terms instead of their emic/etic terms Etic Economics: (1)All societies provide themselves with the things people use (2)All useful things are products of someone’s labor (3)People exchange some things for others These 3 observations define 3 dimensions of economic life: Consumption Production Exchange Consumption: everyone consumes things By direct consumption (eating; using things to produce other things; the seed – people can eat it or plant it to grow more but either way they consume it) Production: all useful things are the product of someone’s labor Exchange: people trade things for other things 3 forms of exchange: reciprocity, redistribution, market exchange Reciprocity: giving as much as you get at least in the long run; usually a time delay between the giving and the getting Example: I’ll take care of your kids tonight and you take care of mine tomorrow night; Christmas presents, birthday presents, wedding and graduation presents in the U.S. Redistribution: based on the idea of reciprocity – give something and get something equal – but it works differently; instead of giving something directly back to the person or group that gave it to us we give things to some central person who then redistributes them to the people who need them Example: systems of taxation; use the revenues for things that everyone needs like water, sewer systems, and roads Market Exchange: people exchange things for money Example: people exchange money for labor; you can hire someone to fix a broken electric switch Commodity: something that people can buy and sell on a market What determines the price of things in markets? Things are valuable because of their uses, the needs they fill Use value: the value of things because of the need they fill It is qualitative: not something we can count of quantify Example: A rake if useful for raking leaves. It may be useful for batting a ball or swatting a groundhog, but other things are more useful than a rake for those tasks. And rakes aren’t useful for driving nails or digging holes. A broom is useful for sweeping – a rake might help but it’s not very good. A coat is useful to keep us warm but we cant compare the use of values of rakes, brooms, and coats except to say that they are different – we can’t say one is more useful than the other except in terms of what we use it for. People exchange things with one use value for things of different use values Exchange value: value determined by the amount of labor it takes to produce something; how much you can get for something if you trade it for another thing Example: trade a rake for a coat This is quantitative: something we can count Five rakes for one coat or if the value of a rake is $1 then the value of a coat is $5 Where does the exchange value of things come from? The one thing that all useful things have in common is that they are the product of someone’s labor; the amount of labor that it takes to make things is their exchange value and sets the ratio of their exchange in markets Can exchange either directly or indirectly using money as an intermediary Think in terms of long-term averages Example: Furry boots come into fashion when movie star wears them. A lot of people want to buy these boots and they are expensive. Soon every company is making them and the price comes down and finally the boots are out of fashion and you only see them at thrift stores The price of things can differ from their value because of these kinds of processes What is useful depends on what people need and want beyond food This sets the needs people have for production Consumption, production, and exchange are related in a way that if one changes, the others also change; they form an economic system How the things are produced is the cultural core, the most important dimension of the system because it conditions how people can exchange and consume How people allocate their labor to grow different crops and what happens to the product of their labor: Like Tsembaga, Lisu have a cultural code that makes it reasonable to sacrifice pigs to make sick people well; but sacrificing a pig sends another message in that it lets people know that the household is keeping up with its responsibilities to other households and that it is keeping its place in the reciprocal relationships; when someone in a household falls ill the householders think about when they last sponsored a feast and who has sponsored feasts lately; if the household is falling behind they will sacrifice a pig and is they are already even or a bit ahead they will sacrifice a chicken So, the curing ceremonies also have a political dimension; they are the way everyone keeps up with everyone else in this egalitarian society; provides motive to produce pigs, rice, and opium To stay equal everyone produces rice and pig and opium so that they can sponsor feasts In this system there are market transactions and reciprocity but no redistribution Because the land is freely available to anyone who wants to clear and ise it and because people rely mostly on household members for labor there are no categories of capital, rent, and wages There are two ways to study economic systems As a business tool: may be sufficient as a tool for business calculations but that doesn’t make it adequate to describe real economic systems or useful as a framework for comparing economic systems As cultural systems: as part of cultures so we can compare them with others In some systems, market exchange is the main way of organizing production; this doesn’t mean everything is done by market principles but it does mean that the market organizes most production Example: A married couple may share the tasks of washing dishes and doing laundry, or one may do more than the other – but, that is not a market exchange; hiring someone to come in and clean and cook for them is a market exchange The market is the major way of organizing production; there is money and people buy and sell commodities including most raw materials, tools, machines, labor, and almost everything else People use labor, tools, and raw materials to produce commodities with different use values and sell them In this kind of system they use money to buy commodities (labor, machines, raw materials) to make commodities (products) to sell for money The reason people do this is not just to get the same amount of money but some extra profit: surplus value that the owners of capital appropriate and may put back into production or into political action or consumption The value of labor comes from the labor it contains The amount of things other produced that we consume so we can work is the value of our subsidence; that is what determines the value of labor for a period of time – the amount of labor it takes to produce all of the things someone needs to work for that period of time and to reproduce labor for the next generation to keep the system going If we buy labor at its value, we pay for all of the necessary subsistence goods for the time we use the labor Goods may include the value of a house, a car, television, food, cooking, cleaning, child care, and education for kids Part of the value of labor is the amount of value it takes to produce the next generation of workers to keep the system going – to reproduce the system Necessary value: the total amount of what it takes to keep people working and reproduce workers This total value is what people get paid as wages; wages is the value that a worker needs to keep working and to keep the system going When we hire workers we ask them to produce the amount of value of their wages and some more; we ask people to put in enough work to equal the amount of their wages and some more on top (that “more on top” is profit) Necessary labor: the amount of work to produce necessary value, the value necessary to reproduce the same amount of labor It’s necessary in the sense that without it there couldn’t be any labor at all Surplus labor: the amount of labor people do after they’ve produced the value necessary for them to work another day and reproduce; to get people to do it, you must have a system that doesn’t allow them any other alternatives, often based on force Surplus value: the extra value that surplus labor produces; the source of profit in capitalist systems “Surplus” because it is above and beyond the amount of value that is necessary to pay for the value of the labor If it takes me half a day to produce the value of my wages, then I’m working for myself that half of the day; the rest of the day’s work the boss gets to keep in return for letting me come to work and get any wages at all If two firms are both producing the same thing using the same machines and raw materials, they will offer their products on the market at the same price If one of them invests in a process that produces the same things with less labor, it can sell the products for less The first firm can imitate the second or improve the process of production even more The same amount of labor produces more of the product (the productivty has increased) Now the amount of labor in each thing is less and the value is less so the firm can sell it for less Through this process of competition, the production processes come to use less and less labor; anything that consumes less labor has less exchange value and is less expensive As this happens throughout the entire society, the value of the things necessary to support workers decreases and the value of labor decreases As the value of labor decreases, the surplus value increases This is the Wal-Mart phenomenon: low wages, high profits Industrialization of Agriculture: productivity increased as people invested more and more in technology Labor creates all value People can use profits to invest in research and development to increase productivity but it is the labor of the working people that created the profits that bought the machines Capital: the money that goes into production; any system organized in this way is a capitalist system Advantages of this system: greater specialization, productivity of labor, and efficiency A capitalist system is a precondition for this ^ dynamic to take hold The preconditions for capitalism include: Market exchange Labor that is available to hire The possibility to expand labor time beyond necessary labor to create surplus value No interference with the process Karl Marx: 1867 book Capital Put together the ideas of use value, exchange value, necessary value, surplus value and how all of those relate to wages and the development of the capitalist system As necessary labor decreases, surplus labor increases and the rate of profits increases Marx called this the increasing increase of relative surplus value – surplus value increases over time relative to necessary value The rates of profit increase over time and the value of labor decreases Growth rate of the economy: the increase of the production of value in the economy French economist Thomas Piketty book called Capital in the Twenty-First Century Used tax data from many countries to compare the rates of growth of the whole economy and the rate of growth in financial return to investments, the rate of return on capital; found that over several hundred years the rate of return to capital exceeds the rate of growth of the whole economy Piketty finds that the returns to labor, wages, do not keep up with returns to capital or the growth of the economy; an inherent part of capitalism as a system is increasing inequality Piketty seems to offer a different view of economics but in the end, as anthropologist Chris Gregory points out, his understanding s based on the same assumptions as that of classical economists and his understand of the dynamics of the distribution of wealth between the owners of capital and the owners of labor is that it is the result of the tidy operation of quantitative relationships among several variables in a political vacuum Paul Krugman suggests that much of the discussion of the book in the United States revolved around the fact that conservatives do not lke Piketty’s demolition of their cherished myth that we live in a meritocracy where the wealthy earn and deserve their wealth because they create jobs for others Krugman doubtful of political impact of book in U.S.; calls people who think inequality is not increasing “inequality deniers” Joseph Stiglitz points out that Picketty’s finding of a concentration of wealth and income at the top is correct, but return us to issues of political economy Suggests that stagnation of wages and increases of inequality in U.S. are a consequence of our political system not a necessary feature of capitalism; they are the result of political processes that favor the wealthy Suggests that markets are not natural; they are established through a political process that lays down and enforces rules of the market Firms that produce things to sell – exchange values – produce most things in capitalist systems but there is also a previous kind of production called household production Household production: production units based on the balance of need and drudgery Households don’t produce exchange values, only use values; if they produce things to sell it is so they can buy commodities they need The usefulness of the things households produce is relative to the needs of the people Washing dishes after supper, cooking supper, shopping, taking care of kids – people don’t sell these things; they aren’t exchange values The usefulness of goods declines as you have more of the goods The more of something you have, the less you need the next one Marginal utility: the usefulness of the next thing compared with the one before Negative utility: a metaphor based on the idea of utility as usefulness; negative usefulness would be something damaging How much do you need the next one? People’s valuation of the amount of work they want to do runs in the opposite direction; the more people work, the less they want to work anymore How much you don’t want to do the work to get the next one Exponential curve of increasing drudgery of work; drudgery: how much a person doesn’t want to work anymore; the drudgery of labor depends on how important it is to produce whatever the people are working to produce At left, when people haven’t produced anything they haven’t done any work; the more the produce the more work it takes and the less they want to work anymore When you quit Two curves together to show the point at which it is no longer worth a person’s while to produce any more – when the marginal utility of the next unit of value produced is equal to the drudgery of the work it takes to produce it That is when the people in households stop working Effect of doubling productivity Drugery of labor is inversely related to productivity; if the same amount of effort produces twice as much value, then the drudgery of labor is cut in half Each value of drudgery in the dotted line is half the value of that in the solid line for each unit of value because the people have some way to double productivity Maybe they have access to an irrigation system or a harvesting machine – something that doubles the amount they produce in the same time Although people increase production with the new technology from point A to B, they do not double it The increase in production is not doubled even if productivity is – the relationship between productivity and amount produced is indirect Marginal utility is relative to needs: the greater the need, the higher the curve of marginal utility Effects of increased need Dotted line shows an increase in the marginal utility of the value produced; these people need the product more than the people with the solid line May have more mouths to feed, must pay taxes for the irrigation system; source of need doesn’t matter Any increase in need acts the same way as adding mouths to the number of consumers in the household Costs and benefits of new technology The overall level of drudgery with the new technology – the drudgery to produce up to the level of B – is higher than without it – the old system where they only produce up to the level of A B would be the new amount they would produce considering both the increase in productivity and the increase in need that the new method of production creates in the household This isn’t just a theory – this is the way household production units actually work Lowell, Massachusetts – water-powered textile mills Owner offers to pay a worker the amount of necessary labor so there is no profit in the system (not worth owners while) If owner can get people to work an extra hour then there is some surplus in the system No one would trade what they had in their household economy for the monotonous and dreary work of a factory Best owners could do was hire daughters of farmers to work Was not nice arrangement; people refused to work in factories until government gave them no alternative Labor is not naturally a commodity that people can buy and sell on markets; some government policy makes that happen, that changes the structures of choice so that most people can no longer satisfy their subsistence needs through their household economies Such policies are likely to anger the people who get thrown off their land, so policies like this require force – armies and police and a government that is willing to use force to make all of this work together One of the consequences of these political and economic developments was ideaologies and institutions to make the new system of production possible and to make it seem reasonable One idea was the idea of freedom One reason to oppose slavery was that it stood in the way of free labor (available labor that producers could hire, a critical commodity for capitalism to develop) In capitalist systems of production there are people who sell labor and people who buy it The middle class is in our imaginations; an ideaological myth that was made up to make the system seem reasonable Chapter 6 Key to capitalism: the availability of people who are willing to work for a wage or who have no choice except to work for a wage These people are called free labor because they are not tied to the land or to lineages and are not slaves; they are free to be hired Households stop production when they reach a definite level of well-being so they produce no surplus value unless a government or someone else forces them to Household systems are static unless something changes their needs Example: having children; taxes and the demands of the government; being in debt Capitalism can never compete with households for labor Households never benefit from sending people to work for wages as a major means of subsistence unless they have no access to resources to use for their own production It is always more advantageous in terms of the curves of productivity and drudgery to work for yourself than to work for someone else because you keep everything you produce except what you must pay in taxes, tribute, or debts If you work for someone else they take most of what you produce and you still must pay taxes, tribute, and debts The places where capitalism can get people to work are those where the conditions of work are so bad that working for wages looks good Example: happened in Iceland when if you didn’t have land, the law said you had to work for someone who did; landowners did everything they could to keep commercial fishing from getting started, as they knew that people would go work in the fishing industry for wages because anything was better than working on a farm They disobeyed this, though and went fishing Government and Capitalism Northwest Thailand, village of people called Shan 1970’s, anthropologist Paul A few people owned much more land they needed and some people owned none But the people with extra land could not hire people to work it People could do better working for themselves on swiddens (land cleared by slashing and burning) than they could working for others for wages (a hired worker gets necessary value as a wage but in return for that produces surplus value) A worker in a household system only produces necessary value without the demand for surplus value so although there was a market and other preconditions of capitalism it wouldn’t work because people had the alternative of making swiddens instead of working for wages In the 1980’s with more control the government was able to assert its power over the forests and prohibit swiddening so those people who did not have enough irrigated rice land to feed their families has no choice but to work for the people iwht more land than they needed When some people are directly or indirectly forced to sell their labor rather than use it for their own households we see the beginnings of a system of classes in which some people buy labor and some sell it The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism After collapse of Roman Empire rise of Islam Local lords dominated Europe with system of feudalism and incessant warfare until some could make good their claim to being God’s chosen kings These aristocrats required exotic goods beyond those that ordinary peasants produced and used Merchants began to supply them with these goods from the East and new markets developed Money began to circulate and banks developed to help merchants handle it Then began a process called import substitution: making the things for yourself instead of importing them This was the beginning of the factory system (crafts developed and so did workshops) Royalty controlled economic and political system Sources of wealth were: taxes, skimming from traders, warfare, not production of surplus value Aristocrats wanted to control wealth not production The rulers just wanted to the products they did not care how they were produced The people who were producing things were developing new technologies and new ways of organizing production and beginning a factory system (on verge of capitalism but had to play by rules of aristocracy) th 18 century Germany, France, and England wanted to changes rules so people who were organizing production could control it Faced problem: as long as people were either tied to the land as serfs or peasants or had access to land for their own household production, they wouldn’t work for wages. If people had access to land they would not sell their labor and there would be no commodity labor. The solution: to deprive people of access to land; they enclosed the land people had been using for their own subsistence and gave the land to large landowner for their sheep herds. The people who had been farming were left with no alternative but to go to the towns to look for work Governments across Europe made policies that made cheap labor available They changed the structure of choice; if people could work for themselves in household production they would never work for wages; the new governments prevented that option; they drove people from farms to cities American Exceptionalism What makes America different from any other place is that we had vast amounts of land available on our western frontiers Why people went to America to begin; there was so much land that this policy wouldn’t work at first For labor, industry had to rely on new immigrants coming to the cities Because of the attractions of household production, capitalism can only be established by government policies th There were revolutions in the 18 century to establish new governments friendly to capitalism Those governments made household production impossible for most people and provided the labor the new capitalists needed for their factories After capitalism developed government policies (antitrust laws, labor laws), laws against lying and such maintain it (enforced by police and judicial system) Lesson of comparative anthropology: economic, political, and religious systems are closely linked; cultures are systems We cannot understand how economic systems work unless we understand how political systems work Egalitarian Systems Puzzled British anthropologists: how people could get along without kinds and aristocrats and governments Called these people acephalous: Latin word for “headless” Answer is that as long as everyone depends on everyone else, as long as everyone needs everyone else, they will find ways of getting along with each other and don’t need judges, cops, courts, and armies to make them behave – called reciprocity Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and the converse If everyone follows that rule people don’t need all of the appartatus of governments Shan word for it: joi kan – two words together mean “you help me when I need it and I help you when you need it” Where reciprocity is the main mode of exchange, there is a political form that we call egalitarian: a political form in which there are as many positions of prestige as people capable of filling them; all have equal access to resources; there is equality within each age and sex category Morton Fried on equality: as many positions of prestige as there are people capable of filling them; talent and effort pay off in prestige; nobody can fake anything when everyone knows all about you from the time you were born Why doesn’t the strongest person take over and rule? People wouldn’t put up with it; they can leave; the have relatives and in-laws all over the place who would be glad to see them and have them in their own groups People depend on eachother so if people leabe one person alone then that person wouldn’t be able to make it When people who leave join other groups they wont have anything good to say about the guy they left and none of the other groups will help him out How can egalitarian people deal with conflict? If everyone depends on everyone else, nobody wants to split up the group; relatives will back you up but they will also pressure you into getting along so that you don’t split up the group; they don’t want your problem to become theirs so they pressure you to solve your problems with other people; they also help you solve them in any way they can so they don’t spread May be a headman but has no power over anyone; listens more than speaks The most important thing about egalitarian societies is that everyone has equal access to all resources Like Lisu, land is theirs to use while they use it and when they stop using it they have no claim on it Reciprocricy relies on a sense of obligation – if someone gives you something you owe them something of equal value Run into contradiction: in systems of household production, not all households are equally able to produce Lisu control household production; they set their production at just the amount the least able can produce to keep up with the obligations for feasts Households with more workers per consumer can slack off (and they do); they don’t try to overproduce because that would be ostentatious; it’s good to be equal and not good to get too far ahead/behind Hierarchy A lucky household can get a bit ahead – if they give more than they receive, the less lucky households become obliged to them Everyone owes them and the goods begin to concentrate with them But, they are obliged to give away what they receive Thus they can move into the center of a redistributive system of exchange Redistribution comes with its own political form The central person in this system has more prestige than others In these rank systems there are fewer positions of prestige than people capable of filling them; there may be more than one person equally able to be at the center Except for these differences, rank-organized societies are similar to egalitarian ones – everyone has equal access to resources, and the center person doesn’t have any power over others except persuasion Anthropologists Marshall Sahlins: political systems of the Pacific Island Where there are diverse ecological situations, there are advantages to redistribution People can specialize to increase the productivity or efficiency of their work Example: If some people grow sweet potatoes inland and other fish on the shore, everyone can enjoy both seafood and sweet potatoes. The diet can be more diverse – everyone benefits and they can achieve a higher degree of well-being with less labor In rank systems the center person has no more power than others In redistributive systems of exchange there may be another development – the center person may not distribute everything that comes in as he may keep some for his own family or kinsmen and start producing less than others Balanced reciprocity: when you get exactly as much as you give (as in a barter relationship); when there’s an exact exchange (such as days of labor among Shan) General reciprocity: when there is no exact equivalence or people don’t keep track of it ( as Shan joi kan or family sharing) Asymmetrical redistribution: you give and you receive but you do not receive as much as you give Egalitarian relationships and reciprocity are symmetrical Redistribution is not necessarily symmetrical – the central person may hold back some of the goods for his family If the chieftain can convert his control of the redistributive system into control over resources then he ahs created a stratified system Sometimes people go along with this because it benefits them If the chieftain doesn’t have any force or no cops or army to call then people don’t have to go along with them If people don’t agree to it then there is nothing a chieftain can do unless he can control or get some force to use against his own people That is what defines stratification – the ability to control access to resources by force In stratified systems the chieftain is the ultimate giver because he gives wealth to his subordinates and is the ultimate receiver because everyone owes him a share of what they produce A hierarchy of chieftains may develop so people give the product of their work to one chieftain who passes it up the line to a king The kinds and chieftains use some of the wealth to support armies, palace guards, and warfare to build forts and palaces; can use it to build churches/temples etc. The reason they do this is to create or support a cultural code that makes the system seem reasonable and natural Any stratified system has a ruling class that has access to resources and suborindate classes that do not The ruling class takes away some of the product of the labor of the subord
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