Analyzing Economic Systems:

  • Economic system: methods of allocating resources, and the production, distribution, consumption, and exchange of goods and services
  • Economic processes: allocation -> production -> distribution -> consumption
  • Economic anthropologists stuffy economic systems and economic behaviours cross culturally

o Compare economies of exchange, how societies organize their labour, etc

  • Industrial agriculture: land is privately owned
  • Horticulture: land publically owned

Allocating Land and Resources:

  • Ideas and rules about rights to resources
  • Valuation, allocation, and use
  • Political, religious, and other cultural considerations

o May effect land tenure (=ownership)

o Ex: fraternal polyandry

  • Fraternal = brothers
  • Polyandry = many men
  • One woman marrying a set of brothers
  • Plays into the ideas of land use rights, communal ownership, private property
  • Land use rights, communal ownership, or private property

o Ex: Nepal/Tibet - land is scarce

o Normally: dividing land among the brothers within a family, land you get is very small

o With fraternal polyandry: land is kept intact because there is only one eldest son because there is one woman

Organizing Labour:

  • Assignment of work roles

o According to age, gender, social status

o “Gender division of labour”

  • Domestic production (non-industrial societies)

o Labour organized by households

  • Industrial and post-industrial economies

o Commoditized labour - “job market”

Sweatshops and Child Labour:

  • “I'm sitting in a nice, air conditioned office. Why should people in Vietnam really have to work in those terrible factories?”
  • You've got to compare things with the alternatives that people actually have in their own countries
  • Swedish economist - Johan Norberg
  • People have a very ethnocentric view of child labour (but they were earning money they needed for their family to survive, and without those jobs they turn to be sex workers)

o These factory jobs are good for their culture and countries

Capital Goods and Social Capital:

  • Capital goods: items produced not for consumption but for the production of other goods

o Ex: factories that produce machines, that produce other goods

o Ex: raw rubber

  • Social capital: bonds of reliable friendship, support, and obligations acquired within a community

o Ex: friendships, alliances, gift giving (bond and obligation)

Distributing and Exchanging Products and Services:

  • Types of reciprocity:

o Generalized - don't keep track (I give you something, you give me something - friends)

o Balanced - more formal (specific values) - opposite of generalized (what I gave you, I want back the same)

o Negative - one of the people makes a profit

  • Ex: when we buy something

o Barter - trade

  • Example of balanced reciprocity:

o Trobriand Islands (South Pacific)

  • Kula - two step process
  • Step 1:

n Men travel in circular patterns, island to island, stop along the way

n Give their hosts a shell necklace or armband (depending which direction their traveling - clockwise or counter clockwise)

n Kula builds bonds, alliances, and friendship, although the shells have no value

n Ritual exchange of the objects

  • Step 2:

n Once they have established friendships, then they can ease into real trade (rubber, coffee, etc)

n Once you are apart of a Kula, always a Kula

Redistributive Networks:

  • Food and other goods collected by an organizer
  • Distributed to community members
  • Redistribution often occurs at large public gatherings

o Feasts, ceremonial events

o Example: potlatch, pacific Northwest First Nations

  • Redistribution in modern states: taxes

Markets and Trade:

  • Immediate and impersonal exchanges
  • Goods are bartered or bought and sold for money
  • Does not reflect or create social ties or obligations
  • Based on forces of supply and demand
  • Competitive exchange

General and Special Purpose Money:

  • Money: a medium of exchange used to acquire goods and services, and held as store of value for later use

Market Economies and Capitalism:

  • Market economies

o Allocation and distribution according to prices determined by market forces o General purpose money - currency

o Commodities

o Commodification

■ Essentially non-economic things turned into saleable items

n People, their talents, events in their lives, their DNA, etc

  • Capitalism

o Workers do not control means of production

o Workers earn incomes through wages

o Workers produce surplus value

Industrial Economies:

  • Based on capitalism and market system
  • Developed through Industrial Revolution

o Late 18th-Early 19th centuries

o Began with textile industry in Great Britain

o Quickly spread to North America and Europe

  • Social implications

o Massive urban migration

o Increased inequality

  • Consumerism

Impacts of Colonial Expansion, Industrialism, and Globalization:

  • Colonialism propelled by European capitalism
  • Closely tied to nation building
  • Expansion of control over resources, labour, and markets
  • Transformation of traditional economies based on foraging, pastoralism, and horticulture

Impacts of Colonial Expansion, Industrialism and Globalization

  • As colonialism grew so did the need for resources
  • Imperialism = Broad indirect control, mostly economic
  • Colonialism = Much more direct, setting up shop in the country you control
  • 3 waves:

o Discovery - 15th-17th century, Columbus, etc

o Early industrial - 18th century, needed raw material - Britain

o Industrial colonialism - late 19th/early 20th century - US, France, Germany, Japan, etc

Commoditization of people

  • 1) Direct slave trade
  • 2) “Blackbirding” Kidnapping
  • 3) Conscripted labor - signed contract in home country and then shipped off
  • 4) Dispossession of land - get people to them work for you

5 Impacts:

  • Depopulation

o Disease

o War

o Genocide a white mans burden to civilize

  • Dispossession of the land

o Indian removal of 1830 a took away land and put them on reserves

o Privatizing ownership of land - corporate ownership

  • Abusive forms of labor control

o Slavery

  • Environmental degradation

o Coffee plantations on mountains a hillsides stripped of everything and literally fell off into the ocean

  • Language

o Changes to local language and culture

o Indigenous languages were forbidden

Colonialism and the Exploitation of Labour:

  • Slavery
  • Forced labour
  • Poll taxes
  • Resource extraction and plantations

Post-Industrial Society:

  • Based on expansion of service economy, especially knowledge sector
  • Globally organized corporations and institutions
  • Liberalization and privatization
  • Technological innovations
  • Complex impacts on local communities
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