Presentation on theme: "HISTORY OF INEQUALITY The Origins of Political Order."— Presentation transcript:
HISTORY OF INEQUALITY The Origins of Political Order
“Getting to Denmark” The state The rule of law Accountable government
Aristotle vs. Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau State of Nature?
In our DNA... By analogy to chimps, we live in patrilineal, male-bonded communities, with male-intense territorial aggression, raiding on neighboring communities.
The prevalence of human emotions of shame, guilt, and pride suggests a strongly embedded tendency for norm following. (This also means our investment in norms can be very emotionally charged.)
Patrimonialism Natural human sociability is built around two principles, kin selection and reciprocal altruism. Kin selection suggests humans act altruistically towards those who have (or are believed to have) common DNA. Reciprocal altruism is based on personal experiences—interactions between individual humans, whether beneficial or harmful.
Recognition Human beings, by nature, desire not just material resources, but also recognition. A great deal of human politics revolves around struggles for recognition.
Bands Tribes Chiefdoms States Four Types of “Political” Organization
Bands Tiniest societies Typically 5-80 people Egalitarian No formalized social stratification No formalized hereditary leadership No monopolies of information in decision making Band leadership is informal and acquired through personal qualities. Gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos live in bands.
Tribes Larger than bands. Usually has fixed settlements. In distant past determined archaeologically because they lack hallmarks of chiefdoms. Began to emerge around 13,000 BP in the Fertile Crescent. Need either food production or concentrated food resources. Probably stimulated by the combination of climate change and technology that allowed for cereal production. Tribes still have informal, egalitarian systems of government. Information and decision-making are still communal. They may have a “big man,” but the position is still informal and not inherited. They are also egalitarian. They lack both economic specialists and slaves. Each individual has debts and obligations to many others.
Chiefdoms On reason that groups rise from Tribes to Chiefdoms is that conflict resolution is difficult for groups of a few hundred or more. As the group grows, kinship ties, and thus kinship pressures, diminish. Chiefdoms arose in the Fertile Crescent around 5500 BCE and around 1000 BCE in Mesoamerica and the Andes
Chiefdoms (cont.) With the rise of chiefdoms people had to learn how to encounter strangers regularly without attempting to kill them. Part of the solution was for the chief to monopolize violence. Chief held a recognized, hereditary office. Unlike “big men,” Chiefs had distinctive dress, trappings, and marking to distinguish them. Commoners were obliged to perform ritual marks of respect. Larger population requires lots of food that was obtained by food production in most cases. Surplus created by the mass of people allowed for chiefs, bureaucrats, and craft specialists to emerge. Luxury goods begin to emerge that both enhance elite status and serve as goods for long- distance trade. They have many different jobs that can be filled by slaves. Reciprocal exchange is replaced by extraction (kleptocracy). This included not only goods, but labor, military service.
Kleptocracies “The difference between a kleptocrat and a wise statesman, between a robber baron and a public benefactor, is merely one of degree...” –Jared Diamond.
Legitimating Strategies in Kleptocracies 1.Disarm the populace; arm the elite. 2.Redistribute tribute in popular ways. 3.Use monopoly of force to promote happiness by maintaining public order and curbing violence. 4.Construct an ideology or religion to legitimize and justify the kleptocracy. Priests support the kleptocracy. Religion/ideology helps solve the problem of unrelated individuals are to live together without killing each other; it gives people a motive, apart from genetic self-interest, to sacrifice themselves for the group.
States Cities differ from villages in their monumental public works, palaces, accumulation of capital, and concentration of people other than food producers. Information is controlled by a few individuals. Central control is more far-reaching, and redistribution more extensive. A collapse of central government is, thus, catastrophic. Most early states adopted slavery in some form. Proliferation of classes both vertically and horizontally (in labor specialization).
Advantages of Chiefdoms and States when in conflict with bands and tribes: Weaponry Technology Centralized decision-making. Religion/Ideology/Patriotism Willing to sacrifice and annihilate.
Aristotle: natural condition. Rousseau: based on calculated self-interest. Hydraulic Theory Population Size/Density Theories of State Formation
State-level societies differ from tribes in several respects: They possess a centralized source of authority. The source of authority is backed by a monopoly of legitimate means of coercion. The authority of the state is territorial rather than kin based. States are more stratified and more unequal than tribal societies. States are legitimated by much more elaborate forms of religious belief with a separate priestly class as its guardian.
Food Production as the Ultimate Cause of States: Involves seasonally pulsed inputs of labor. Can generate stored food surpluses. Requires sedentary living.
Other factors... The problem of the conflict between strangers. Growing impossibility of communal decision-making. Economic considerations. Large societies can function economically only if they have a redistributive economy.
For Fukuyama, Pristine state formation occurs when there is a confluence of factors: Sufficient abundance to create surplus. Scale has to be large enough to permit division of labor. Population needs to be physically constrained. Tribal groups have to be motivated to give up their freedom to the authority of the state.
Possible outcomes of conquest: If population densities are low... the hunter- gatherers can move away. If they are moderate... they have no use of slaves and so will kill the men and possibly marry the women. If they are large... the defeated can be come enslaved or lose their political autonomy.
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