Skip to main content
Visit the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Apply to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Give to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Visit the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Apply to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Give to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Chapter 7 ANTH 212
Chapter 7 Ember and Ember 14th edition.
Use the text input to search the transcript.
Click any line to jump to that spot in the video.
Use the icons to the right to toggle between list and paragraph view.
Toggle between list and paragraph view.
Alright, good afternoon.
We are on chapter seven, economic systems,
and we're gonna kinda review some of the details
that were presented on
hunting and gathering societies, horticultural societies,
pastoral societies in chapter six.
So we'll be talking about the allocation of resources
and here we're talking essentially
about the means of production, land,
and how land is made available.
Historically that's been the most crucial thing
people have had to work with through time.
Of course today, land isn't the only kind of resource.
We have other capital resources
such as money and things of that nature.
The conversion of resources,
that is the activities people engage in to convert land,
whether it's growing crops or hunting and gathering,
or herding cattle, into resources needed by families.
The distribution of goods and services,
that is part of the society's production,
which we'll see in the conversion of resources.
The other part of an economic system
is the movement of goods and services.
Goods clearly are pretty easy to understand,
they have to do with the things, food for example.
And services, these are activities
where you help or assist, or give your labor
to someone else, outside your family,
or within your family.
And then some of the worldwide trends
especially the issue of globalization,
which is very important politically and economically
as we engage in different kinds of trade agreements.
And also part of it has to do with the movement of people
to take advantage of economic opportunities.
And I remind you all that this is how our nation was built,
people in Europe and other parts of the globe
saw opportunities over here that weren't in
their own countries and as a consequence
they settled in our country,
creating who we are today.
Today, travel is much more efficient,
and so we have the phenomenon of migratory labor.
That is, people who come to a rich nation, like our nation,
or some places in Europe, to work for a time
and then return home.
They typically send their funds back to their families
to help support them.
And this is enabled by much more efficient
transportation system that we have today
compared with the past.
So these are the issues that we're gonna deal with
in Chapter Seven.
So we're talking about access to land.
And foragers, there pretty much wasn't any
private ownership of land.
Anybody in the group could go out,
hunt, gather, fish,
bring back what they brought in.
Although, there was an expectation,
that is if you brought in a lot,
then you would share with people outside of your family.
As horticulturalists, we begin to get a little bit
moved toward the development of private property.
That is, if you were farming a stretch of land,
then you would have possession to that land,
but only that land that you're actually working on.
You couldn't preemptively say, you know,
not only do I have this land right here
that I'm currently cropping,
but this area of forest over here that I plan to crop in.
And so what you essentially possessed
was what you were working on,
and you couldn't exclude others by saying that
you can't farm over there,
even though I'm not farming over there right now,
because some time in the future I might like
to farm there et cetera.
We'll move to pastoral people,
then ownership becomes really really interesting,
because different tribal groups communally own pastures
that members can use,
to the exclusion of other groups.
And what we know from the studies of pastoralists
is they tend to be very warlike,
they tent to raid one another
for their cattle resources.
They're a rich resource, easy to transport
because they can walk, you don't have to carry them.
And so we get of the development of private propety.
Intensive agriculturists, then we get the development
of private property, but it can be really complex.
Typically, people own the land that they farm on,
and they can exclude others from using that land.
But throughout history, the owners of the land
were not the people who cultivated the land,
but some wealthy lord, or king or prince,
or earl or duke.
And this occurred in Europe and Southeast Asia,
all over the world.
And essentially peasants had a right to work the land,
but they had to give up food supplies to the lord
in exchange for that right.
And so with intensive agriculturalists then,
we do really get the development of private property.
And a group of individuals, sometimes poor farmers
who really only have rights to work the land
owned by other people in exchange for some kind of taxation.
And then further on, as colonialism and imperialism spread,
the state began to have different sorts of rights to land.
And we'll explore this issue a little bit later on.
So in the conversion of resources,
in all societies the resources have to be transformed
or converted through labor into food, tools and other goods,
and so this is what we call production.
You know, what you do for a living,
how you engage the land through horticulture,
pastoralism, hunting and gathering, things of that nature.
And the conversion of these resources have to do with,
once produced, where do they go?
Throughout most of human history they've gone
to one's family.
That is they were used to satisfy
basic nutritional needs of the family.
In some systems, we have this sort of tributary system,
where we have social complexity developing,
and essentially, individual producers would have to
pay part of what they produced to a lord
who may technically own the land or control the land,
and this we call a tributary system.
And in industrial systems,
here we engage in production
that is essentially off the land,
that is we work for some kind of monetary reward,
And money comes into play a little bit later in history,
we'll talk about that a little bit further on.
But basically, you use your labor to get money,
then use that money to buy the food and shelter.
And then we have this kind of post-industrial situation,
where the service industry begins to become more important.
For example, I'm a member of the service industry,
I'm a teacher, I provide a service, called education.
And so, as we become more efficient at producing food,
people are freed up, as it were,
to engage in other kinds of economic transactions.
And finally, telecommuting,
which is a really interesting phenomenon.
Essentially, you don't have to be present at your workplace,
you can be present at home and do work
mainly through the internet
and other communication technologies.
So these are sorts of, and if you look at this pattern,
this is early on to later on through time,
these are kinds of historical, cultural,
Conversion of resources is incentives for labor,
forced and required labor, division of labor,
organization of labor and making decisions about work.
So what the next set of slides is gonna be talking about
is these sorts of activities,
what incentives are there to people to work.
And throughout most of human history
it's been to feed your own family.
But in some societies, not only do you do that,
but you're forced to engage in required labor
for some powerful political authority,
and a lot of times it has to do with the development
of infrastructure, for example, maintaining roads
or irrigation systems.
And so we'll talk about these issues
in the next set of slides.
But one of the things that was mentioned in the text
in one of the highlighted sections,
has to do with communal ownership.
As I mentioned early on,
there was essentially no private property,
resources were kind of communally held.
That is, the group could, sometimes,
through means of territory, exclude people outside the group
from using their hunting, gathering and pastoral resources.
But here we're talking about a classic article
by Gerrett Hardin called tragedy of the commons,
and it has to do with the problem of conservation.
And what he points out,
using historical England as the example,
there was an area of land they called the commons
that anyone could have access to.
And it was largely, essentially, grazing areas.
And what quickly happened,
when people had equal access to the commons
is that the resources in the commons,
the grassland, was quickly destroyed,
because there was no restraint on how many cattle,
or sheep in the case of England,
that people could set out to graze,
and there was just a positive incentive
to have as big a herd as possible.
And quickly these commons were destroyed,
in that they could no longer offer the grazing opportunities
that existed when there were fewer cattle or sheep
on the land.
His solution was private property,
that is the idea that people owned sections of the commons,
then they could essentially safeguard
the resources in these areas
because it would be in their best interest,
to have a perpetual amount of grazing areas
if you just cut down the number of cattle.
So there was an incentive to conserve.
However, sometimes we do have community control,
which has to do with regulation of exploitation.
And there are some examples about in the fishing resources
in Palau and Alaska, and the idea, I think,
is that not necessarily is private property
the only solution, but some kind of regulation
through community control of people
and their exploitations of what we call
common good resources.
So it's really clear that regulation,
whether it's in the hand of private individuals
or a community, are key to maintaining
the conservation, the integrity of ecosystems.
Division of labor.
This is how tasks are assigned to the society.
It's based, essentially, on gender and age.
There's also a mention of efficiency
and optimal foraging theory,
I've written a couple of pieces on this
in relation to the hunting activities
of the Yanamamo and the Yekuana.
It's kind of out of place here, it seems to me,
but what it really does point out is that
people in simple societies are very good
at maximizing their net rates of return,
which is a microeconomic idea,
that people try to get the greatest amount of return
they can get when they're doing something like agriculture
or hunting, because of how selective they are
in what they do.
So yup, this is true, it's shown to be true for modern firms
and individual hunters and gatherers.
But I think the more interesting thing
is the division of labor,
because it's changing through time,
we'll talk about this next.
Here's what you have in your textbook.
It talks about men and women, young and old,
agricultural production, hunting, fishing, food gathering.
Kinda hard to understand.
But basically, what this shows,
and the next slide I'm gonna show you, I think,
is much more revealing, but that you know,
kids do a lot of economic activities,
we sometimes back in the day called it chores,
and they contribute to the household economy.
They do activities that don't require a lot of strength
or a lot of skill.
And as they get older, then they move into activities
as adult males or females,
into activities that require more skill and more strength,
and so kids are part of the natural economy,
and they have been throughout most of human history.
But I think what's more interesting,
if we look at the division of labor.
And so we see, you know if you look at the top left,
certain kind of activity, called hunting,
dominated by males.
And if you look at the bottom right, down here,
you know, cooking, dominated by females.
And so, what are the theories,
why do we have this kind of division of labor
that is from a sample of cross-cultural studies?
One idea the textbook mentions is that men are stronger,
and as a consequence they engage in things like hunting,
metalwork, stonework, mining, land clearance,
the tending of large animals,
which require physical strength.
But if you look at large animal tending,
you find that women, they did a lot of this activity
in some societies, both men and women do these activities.
And that cooking, doesn't take a lot of strength,
dominated by women.
But the explanation I like best is the idea that
women largely are constrained by childcare activities.
Therefore they are restricted to activities
that permit simultaneous childcare.
You have to understand that throughout
most of human history,
women had about six to eight live births
through their lifetime.
And so, in their daily activities,
they were essentially always had to mind a child,
since men didn't do any of these activities.
So Judith Brown was the one who thought up this idea,
and the idea that women would do those activities
that are compatible with simultaneous childcare.
And essentially, many of these activities
have to do with tasks that are done near the home,
or in the home.
You know, you look at crop planting,
they'll typically, in many societies,
your farm is right next to the house,
and so it's easy to essentially care for a child
and do the cropping work such as harvesting or weeding.
On the other hand, for example, if you're a male,
trying to carry a child around while you're hunting
is gonna, one, make you less efficient,
because the child may make noise,
or two, if you're running after an animal,
carrying a child on your hip,
you're not gonna be able to run very effectively.
And three, you put that child in danger.
The reason I like this activity,
as fertility has declined,
and women only have one to two children,
all of a sudden today, they're freed up
to engage in activities that were dominated by men.
Now many of this form of domination
was through discrimination,
but at the same time,
if your husband and you see that, you know,
maybe your wife has an opportunity to engage
in a lucrative activity formerly dominated by men,
then you might be in favor of changing laws
that would ban discrimination.
And so I think the nice thing about his model
devised by Judith Brown,
is that it helps us understand the past,
and it helps us understand the current situation,
the division of labor.
Okay, so how do goods and services move
in a society, especially a society that doesn't have
money as a means of exchange?
And so we're gonna talk about, as I mentioned before,
and market or commercial exchange.
So reciprocity is essential giving and taking
without the use of money.
This is really key.
And so, for example, we talk about two different kinds
of reciprocity, generalized and balanced.
Generalized reciprocity, essentially one gives
without an expectation of immediate return,
or maybe a return at all.
For example, generalized reciprocity occurs
among people who are closely related.
For example, your grandparents have given you
birthday gift after birthday gift after birthday gift,
and what they've given to you is largely
much more costly than what you've given to them,
which is maybe a thank you note,
or you know a birthday card or something of that nature.
And so what we have in generalized reciprocity
is essentially the flow of goods
from older to younger members
without the expectation from the older members
that the younger members will return those sorts of things.
Balanced reciprocity is something that you engage in
with people who aren't related to you
but you have a social relationship,
that we'll call friendship.
And for example, I have a next-door neighbor
that goes to Puerto Rico every winter,
and while they're there,
I make sure that their driveway is plowed
and their walk is clean.
When they come back they don't give me any money,
but when I go on vacation in the summer,
they collect my mail, watch over my house,
make sure the newspaper is picked up,
that the trash can is moved back into the garage,
and sometimes they mow the lawn,
and I don't pay them anything.
And this is what we call balanced reciprocity,
things that you do to help out your friends
if they need a ride or something of that nature.
And there's an expectation that there's gonna be return,
but you don't say to your friend,
look I drove you to your doctor's appointment,
it cost me about $8, so pay up.
The expectation is that it'll rebalance itself
at some later point in time when your friend
needs assistance from you you'll be there for them.
And so this is a kind of non-monetized
dimension of our economy.
And that is very ancient and works today.
Redistribution is the accumulation of goods or labor
by a particular person, or in a particular place,
for the purpose of subsequent distribution.
So what you have is essentially, for example,
you have a chief, and the chief requires
that you on a periodic basis give him
some of your crops, he puts it in his storehouse.
And then at some later point,
he may use those resources you've given him
for a variety of tasks.
One thing, for example,
is that chieftains tend to be fairly large,
and in some areas there are natural catastrophes
that cause crops to fail, people are in need,
and so he'll use that stored wealth
to help those people out.
So it's like kind of social insurance.
He'll also use it, for example, for the common defense,
to pay warriors, or on trading expeditions
to facilitate trade.
And so the idea is that you give in to a central entity
and then that's redistributed,
not necessarily in the amount you gave
for the common good.
Sometimes the common good is
maintaining an irrigation system,
that he'll use the food you've given him
to pay laborers to fix a dam, fix canals,
dredge them, things of that nature.
This has occurred, you know,
when societies began to get a little complex,
about 12, 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture.
And another word for it is taxation.
And all states, regardless of whether they're capitalistic
or socialistic, depend on taxation to provide,
typically pro-social benefits,
that is benefits for the common good.
And so this is something that wasn't invented recently,
but is an old part of human history.
More on the distribution of goods and services,
market or commercial exchange.
And the text talks about kinds of money,
all-purpose versus special-purpose money.
We have all-purpose money,
that is we can use money to buy just about anything
you would want.
There are exceptions, obviously,
for example, you can't use money legally to buy sex,
or to buy drugs.
But barring those two sorts of,
or you can't use it to buy children
that you wanna adopt, for example.
So we have this kind of all-purpose money.
Early on in human history you had special-purpose money
that could only be used in a very limited way,
for example to pay for bride price
that we'll talk about a little bit later in the course,
or for some kind of indemnification
if you accidentally or purposely kill someone,
instead of war going on you could pay up
a kind of blood debt with it.
And then we'll also talk about degrees of commercialization,
why do money and market exchanges develop,
and possible leveling mechanisms in commercial economies.
And so, some other topics that are mentioned
are migratory labor, nonagricultural commercial production,
supplementary cash crops,
and introduction of commercial and industrial agriculture.
So we wanna kind of go through these things one by one.
Migratory labor has to do with some members of the community
move to a place that offers the possibility of working
for a wage.
You know, examples given were of Turkish men
moving into Germany after World War II.
Now, migratory labor has to be kind of put
in an historical context.
Way back, when the United States was growing,
we had people coming over from all parts of the world,
but largely Europe,
because of restrictive immigration rules,
because there were superior economic opportunities
here than in their own country.
Migratory labor works the same way,
except there's one little technological change
that has to do with the development of cheap transportation.
You could go to a country and work there for a while,
because transportation was easy,
and send money back home.
Some people would stay,
as the example of Turkish men moving into Germany
after World War II, because it was a labor shortage,
and they later brought their wives
and started families there.
But migratory labor is a phenomenon that has been
going on for a long time,
and was a phenomenon that essentially
built the United States.
Another trend that's going on
is nonagricultural commercial production.
Look at the bullet point down below.
In the US only 2% of the population
is engaged in agriculture.
At the turn of the century,
from the start of the 1900s,
it was about 80, 85% of people worked on the land.
And so what we've done is essentially created
an agricultural production system
that's so efficient that there are other kinds
of economic opportunities available to people.
And so it begins with supplementary cash crops,
when people cultivating the soil produce a surplus
above the subsistence requirements,
which is then sold by cash.
And so this is kind of like an historical section
of the text, talks about how the sorts of process go,
comes into being.
And so it begins with you not producing
just for your own consumption,
but selling on a market to get resources that you need
like perhaps steel goods.
And it talks about the rubber collection in the Amazon
by the Mudurucu in the text,
as an example of how former subsistence groups
are integrated into a world economic system
by selling some of what they produce
to get modern goods that they otherwise would not have had.
And now what happens is they're dependent
on outside resources,
because they can no longer produce
the goods they need to cultivate the land
because they now rely on steel goods
instead of wood or stone goods.
The screen size you are trying to search captions on is too small!
You can always
jump over to MediaHub
and check it out there.
Log in to post comments
icon arrow down
iframe embed code:
Copy the following code into your page
<div style="padding-top: 56.25%; overflow: hidden; position:relative; -webkit-box-flex: 1; flex-grow: 1;"> <iframe style="bottom: 0; left: 0; position: absolute; right: 0; top: 0; border: 0; height: 100%; width: 100%;" src="https://mediahub.unl.edu/media/8181?format=iframe&autoplay=0" title="Video Player: Chapter 7 ANTH 212" allowfullscreen></iframe> </div>