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Agricultural Societies The evolution of Government and Religion From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy Text extracted from Guns Germs and Steel By Jared Diamond,

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Presentation on theme: "Agricultural Societies The evolution of Government and Religion From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy Text extracted from Guns Germs and Steel By Jared Diamond,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Agricultural Societies The evolution of Government and Religion From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy Text extracted from Guns Germs and Steel By Jared Diamond, 1997

2 Government and Religion Descendents of those societies that earliest achieved –centralized government – organized religion ended up dominating the modern world

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4 Government and Religion 4 main forces of history: Resulting in the broadest patterns –government & religion –germs –writing –technology Babylon

5 Government and Religion How did government and religion arise? How did they become combined? King Solomon

6 Levels of Social Organization Bands Tribes Chiefdoms States China: early state society

7 Bands Tiny Populations: typically 5-80 people Most are close relatives by birth or marriage All humans lived in bands until 40,000 years ago In recent history: –African Pygmies, Bushmen –Australian Aborigines –Eskimos Bushman

8 Bands Usually nomadic: –live in areas where food is scarce Land used by whole group No specialization: –all able-bodied individuals forage for food Economic system: –Reciprocal Exchange No laws, police, or treaties to resolve conflicts: –But being closely related helps

9 Bands No stratification into classes Egalitarian leadership based on – personality – strength – intelligence – fighting skill Australian Aboriginal

10 Fayu in New Guinea Four clans totaling 400 people Normally live as single families scattered in swampy area Come together once or twice a year to negotiate brides Formerly numbered 2,000 Population reduced by Fayu killing Fayu Lacked political and social mechanisms to resolve disputes

11 Tribes Society with hundreds of people, usually settled in many villages Few left today Shared language and culture More than one clan (kinship group) Land belongs to clans within a tribe Everyone knows everyone else by name and relationship

12 Tribes Conflicts still solved by being closely related If two New Guinea Tribesmen were both away from their villages and happened upon one another They would engage in a long discussion to determine possible family ties Otherwise, no reason not to kill one another

13 Tribes Social System egalitarian No upper or lower class Each has debts and obligations to many others No one can become more wealthy Government still egalitarian Decisions are made in a group “Big Man” would have limited power –may look and live like everyone else Tribal chief, Brazil

14 Reciprocity Reciprocity was the Basis of Early Economic Systems

15 Reciprocity Gift giving creates an obligation to return similar gifts Feasting improves relations, prevents hostility, is an excellent way to “store” food Reciprocity leads to intermarriage Villages are connected by multiple ties of kinship Reciprocity results in food security, balances inequities Political leadership is bestowed on those that give the most

16 Moalans live in 1200 scattered villages in Fiji Pacific Islands Kerekere is a formal request for a good or service Can only kerekere a relative, but everyone are relatives Are duty bound to honor a kerekere if you have what is asked for This system evens out inequity Prestige comes from giving more than taking Kerekere in Moala

17 Government IdeologyEconomy Hunting and Gathering Societies Hunting & GatheringNature Religions Bands and Tribes Reciprocal ExchangeGod and Goddess Worship Egalitarian

18 Chiefdoms Population: several thousand to tens of thousands Arose about 7,500 years ago with rising populations In 1492, widespread in – N. and S. America – Africa – Polynesia

19 Chiefdoms No chiefdoms left in 20th century Prime land taken by larger state societies Chiefdoms consolidated into states

20 Chiefdoms Usually have Public Architecture –Temples –Tombs Easter Islands

21 Chiefdoms Most people unrelated to others People don’t know most others by name For first time in history, – people had to learn how to encounter strangers regularly –without attempting to kill them De_Bry_Chief_Virginia.jpg

22 Chief Held monopoly on right to use force Held recognizable, hereditary office Wore distinguishing clothes: demanded respect

23 Chief Was thought of as a god –or had a hotline to the gods Centralized authority: –Monopoly on information –Levels of Bureaucrats work under Chief –Many specialized jobs that can be done by slaves

24 Redistributive Economy Chief receives food from everyone, then –Throws feast to redistribute –Stores it for later redistribution –Keeps much of it himself (tribute) Chief also claims labor for construction of public works: –Irrigation, –Lavish Tombs 20,000 workers built the Taj Mahal

25 Redistribution Chief receives foodstuffs, goods from many –because he has power Chief has power because –he regularly directs a flow of goods to his followers Early city-states operated on this principle

26 Traders Traders did not make a profit –were agents of the empire Goods traded on a fixed-price basis Did not buy low and sell high

27 Luxury Goods Food surpluses generated by common people feed –Chief –Bureaucrats & Priests –Craft Specialists Luxury Goods reserved for Chiefs

28 Contribution Enforced In Mesopotamia, police ensured that farmers contributed Impersonality of city life –ends feelings of obligation of Chief to people –or vice versa

29 Good Chiefdoms Good chiefdoms used tribute to provide important services to entire society –Irrigation –Religion –Defense Roman Aqueduct

30 Kleptocracies At worst, chiefdoms were kleptocracies Transferred net wealth from commoners to upper class

31 Kleptocracies How do kleptocracies keep from being overthrown? –Disarm the populace arm the elite –Redistribute tribute in popular ways –Use monopoly of force to keep public order –Construct an ideology or religion that justifies kleptocracy

32 State Religion Provides bond between people –not based on kinship –keeps them from killing each other Gives warriors a motive for sacrificing life in battle: –now much more effective in conquest

33 States Populations of 50,000 to 1 Billion Usually literate elites sometimes literate population Arose 3,700 BC in Mesopotamia Later in Mesoamerica, China, Southeast Asia, Andes, West Africa Babylon

34 Earliest States

35 States True cities, characterized by –Monumental public works –Palaces of rulers –Accumulation of capital from tribute or taxes –Concentration of people other than food producers

36 States Early states: –hereditary leader equivalent to a king Democracies today: –crucial knowledge still available to only a few Central control, redistribution of tribute more far-reaching –Even farmers not self- sufficient

37 Mesopotamia Food produced by 4 specialist groups –Cereal farmers –Herders –Fishermen –Orchard and Garden growers

38 Mesopotamia State took produce from each farming group Redistributed necessary supplies –and the other foods not produced Exchanged wool by long distance trade –for other essential raw materials Paid food rations to laborers –who maintained irrigation systems for farmers

39 Slavery Many states adopted slavery on much larger scale than chiefdoms because –More use for slave labor –More economic specialization –More mass production –More public works –Warfare on a larger scale meant more captives available Mesopotamian slaves

40 Bureaucracies More complex bureaucracies Formalized laws, judiciary, police Laws often written (by literate elite) Writing not developed until formation of state societies –Mesopotamia –Mesoamerica Code of Hammurabi, Mesopotamia

41 Religion Early: state religions – standardized temples Many kings divine Kings often head of state religion Mesopotamian Temple was center of –Religion –Economic redistribution –Writing –Crafts technology Mesopotamian Temple

42 Expansion of Agricultural Societies Small Group ConquestLand Agriculture Slaves Expanded Conquest Etc. Food Population Technology

43 Government IdeologyEconomy Agricultural Societies AgricultureState Religions Chiefdoms, States Redistribution, Tribute Male dominated Kleptocracies, Elites Conquest, Slavery Kings = Gods Central Temple

44 Agricultural Society Hierarchy Elite Conquered & Exploited: Peasants, Slaves, Workers Wealth, Tribute Conquest Food, Resources

45 Wealth and Poverty Elite Conquered & Exploited: Peasants, Slaves, Workers Wealth, Tribute Food, Resources Wealth: Own land, Well-fed Educated, Health care, Opportunities Poverty: Landless, hungry, uneducated, unhealthy, no opportunities

46 Organization of States States organized on political and territorial lines: not kinship and tribe boundaries States and empires often are multiethnic and multilingual Bureaucrats selected more on ability than heredity Modern states have non- hereditary leadership Roman Empire

47 Why Do States Arise? More complex societies usually conquer less complex ones Advantage of weapons, technology, numbers Centralized decision making more efficient in conquest Official religions, patriotic fervor –make troops willing to fight suicidially: fanaticism Arab Muslim Empire

48 How Do Chiefdoms Become States? Aristotle: – States are the natural condition of human society. Knew only Greek Societies of 400 BC Rousseau: –States formed by a social contract –a rational decision of people based on self interest. Never happened this way Small groups do not give up their sovereignty willingly Aristotle

49 Irrigation Theory Major civilizations had large- scale irrigation: –Mesopotamia, –Egypt –China –Mesoamerica Large-scale irrigation requires centralized bureaucracy for –Construction –Maintenance –Management Irrigation, Egypt

50 Irrigation Theory Disputed States formed to create irrigation systems? –But irrigation came after states formed States did not always have centrally controlled irrigation Hanging Gardens, Babylon

51 Population Theory Strong correlation between size of population –and complexity of society Autocatalysis: – population growth leads to social complexity Social complexity leads to intensified food production –and population growth Population density

52 Food Production Leads to Social Complexity Requires seasonal labor. After harvest, labor used for –public works, –wars of conquest Stored surpluses permit economic specialization, social stratification: –feed chiefs, elite, scribes, craftspeople, specialists, –feed farmers while they are working on public works

53 Food Production Leads to Social Complexity Sedentary living required for: –Possessions –Technology –Crafts –public works –control of people Mayan Temples, Mexico

54 Large Populations Require Complex Social System Conflict resolution needed between unrelated people: –need laws and authority Communal decisions impossible: –need structure Reciprocal economy impossible: –Need redistributive economy Density of population must be organized Argebam, Iran

55 Amalgamation of Smaller Units Occurs by merger under threat of external force: –40 Cherokee chiefdoms joined together, –American colonies joined together

56 Amalgamation of Smaller Units Occurs by conquest among chiefdoms –Zulu state –Hawaii, Tahiti –Aztecs, Incas before Spanish arrived –Rome, Macedonian empire –Etc. Roman Expansion

57 After Conquest Bands: –survivors can move away

58 After Conquest Tribes: –Need the land –Territory occupied. –No need for slaves –No need for survivors, except women as wives –Defeated men are killed

59 After Conquest States and Chiefdoms –Defeated can be used as slaves –Or defeated can be exploited left in place to produce food, goods –Deprived of political autonomy –Made to pay taxes, tribute –Amalgamate their society into victorious state or chiefdom

60 Aztec Tribute Aztec Empire received tribute from its subjects and had tribute lists Spanish wanted tribute from Mexico Interested in Aztec Empire’s tribute lists

61 Aztec Tribute Each year Aztec subjects paid Aztecs: –7,000 tons of corn –4,000 tons of amaranth –2,000,000 cotton cloaks –Huge quantities of Cacao beans war costumes Shields feather headdresses amber Aztec tribute list


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