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  1. #1
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    Default How did we grow from Egalitarianism to Plutocracy?

    How did we grow from Egalitarianism to Plutocracy?

    Bands of 5 to about 80 individuals generally comprised the social grouping in primitive human societies. We find this sort of social grouping presently in our closest non human relatives such as gorillas and chimpanzees. These human groups were normally “egalitarian” in structure in that there would ordinarily be a leader who was often followed but each member fit into a structure within that society wherein each member maintained equality with respect to social, political, and economic rights and privileges.

    These bands slowly morphed into tribal structures, which typically contained hundreds of individuals. The tribe held many family groups, called clans, and they were normally fixed in place rather than being nomadic. The tribe held land in common, everyone knew everyone else. Just as bands these tribal groupings maintained an “egalitarian” system of governance. Information and decisions were spread across the whole group. While there was a “big man” he had no independent decision making authority. The “big man” obtained his status through achievement and not through inheritance. The tribe had no bureaucracy.

    “Band organization is often described as “egalitarian”: there is no formalized social stratification into upper and lower classes, no formalized hereditary leadership, and no formalized monopolies of information and decision making.”

    Bands shaded into tribes and tribes into chiefdoms. Through the year 1500 AD chiefdoms were still spread over much of the land now called the USA. Chiefdoms ranged in populations from several thousand to several tens of thousands. The rise of chiefdoms started about 7500 years ago. Because individuals had to be controlled such that they did not just kill people strange to them the chief had to be invested with authority to discipline the population. Commoners had to show ritual respect to the chiefdom.

    “The most distinctive economic feature of chiefdoms was their shift from reliance solely on the reciprocal exchanges characteristic of bands and tribes…A simple example would involve a chief receiving wheat at harvest time from every farmer in the chiefdom, and then throwing a feast for everybody and then serving bread or else storing the wheat and gradually giving it out again in the months between harvests.”

    At best the chiefs used this redistributive system to do good by providing services to the group, at worst the chiefdoms functioned as plutocracies. In modern society plutocracy is the standard rather than the exception; as is so evident to even the most disengaged and uncritical observer.

    As we see the movement from social structures such as bands where egalitarianism was the way of life to chiefdoms and from there to present day plutocratic economies one is forced to ask the question “Why do the common people tolerate the transfer of their hard earned wealth to the plutocracy?”


    Throughout the ages the plutocrats have managed to accomplish this feat in four different ways: 1) disarm the population; 2) make the masses contented through distributing ‘bread and circus’; 3) promise happiness by providing ‘law and order’ when chaos is pervasive throughout the land; and 4) through organizing religions and various other ideologies.

    Ideology was a common mode for controlling the masses in all social formats, and these various ideologies often morphed into religion. Temples and public works were means for keeping focus upon the cape rather than upon the Matador. These means kept the focus off of the chief they also provided the rationale for transferring wealth and the necessary bureaucratic organization into the hands of the plutocracy. Religion also provided the bonding required for the common people to offer their lives in combat for the society. All of this makes the society better able to overcome adversaries in wars of conquest.

    Quotes from Guns, Germs, and Steelby Jared Diamond

  2. #2
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    Society is no longer a small tightly knit tribe with limited resources facing possible extinction to a bad harvest.

    The common people tolerate the system because the system works. Anyone with enough drive can pull themselves up to a professional standing and live a wealthy life. The average person lives a much longer life with more luxeries than they would have a century ago. Food is cheaper relative to wealth, wealth is redistributed through social security/medical/unemployment systems, luxeries such as personal transportation and vacations are the norm rather than the exception, credit allows people to own items well beyond their worth rather than leasing until death, etc.

  3. #3
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Yes, I've read Guns, Germs, and Steel.

    You'll find that even within tribes there is a bit of variation in egalitarianism, and it's generally dependent on population and environment. The harsher the environement is for the population, the more egalitarian is has to be.

    As noted, the population sized changed the society from being a community to being an association, and that really scewed everything up. Population size but also technology has everything to do with that change.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  4. #4
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    You had a bourgeois revolution in which the bourgeoisie won and royalty lost.

    So rather than having a society based on Class, you have a society based on money.

    In America no one ever jokes about money.

    And the possession of money is seen as evidence of God's Grace.

    And the result is as your last President told the world, "The business of America is business".

    You have never had a proletarian revolution. You don't even have a Social Democrat political party.

    So egalitarianism has never even been on your agenda.

  5. #5
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    You had a bourgeoise revolution in which the bourgeoise won and aristocracy lost.

    So rather than having a society based on Class, you have a society based on money.

    In America no one ever jokes about money.

    And the possession of money is seen as evidence of God's Grace.

    And the result is as your last President told the world, "The business of America is business".

    You have never had a proletarian revolution. You don't even have a Social Democrat political party.

    So Egalitarianism has never even been on your agenda.
    Marxism 101 I presume?

    BTW, it was President Calvin Coolidge in the 1920's who stated "The business of America is business". Please get your facts straight.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Marxism 101 I presume?

    BTW, it was President Calvin Coolidge in the 1920's who stated "The business of America is business". Please get your facts straight.
    Dear Peguy,

    Your hatred of me is clouding your vision. My only consolation is that you also hate President Barack Obama - so I am in good company.

    However to set the record straight - I am an anti-Marxist. I regularly say that, across the world, over about 70 years, the Marxists killed one hundred million of their own people - not one hundred million of the enemy but one hundred million of their own people. This has been thoroughly documented in, "The Black Book of Communism", by a group of left-wing French historians.

    And President Coolidge did say that, "The business of America is business", and your last President, President Bush, in response to the current financial crisis, also repeated your core values to all of us that, "The business of America is business".

    Your Bęte Noire,
    Victor.

  7. #7
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Your hatred of me is clouding your vision.
    What's the matter Victor, was my post not tantalizing enough for you?

    And yes, I'm more than familiar with Communist history and the Black Book. I have several books dealing with the topic in my personal library. Guess you could call it my Red Guard soft porn collection.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    President Bush, in response to the current financial crisis, also repeated your core values to all of us that, "The business of America is business".
    Does this add to or remove credit from the point?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    What's the matter Victor, was my post not tantalizing enough for you?
    What is instructive is that we have never had any revolution here at all.

    We haven't had a bourgeois revolution. And we haven't had a proletarian revolution.

    So we retain the values of the aristocracy and the Enlightenment. So you can say we embody the values of the aristocratic Enlightenment.

    And in the meantime we have democratised our aristocratic Enlightenment values.

    So now each one of us little Aussies is an enlightened aristocrat.

    And with supreme irony, we are one of the most egalitarian countries in the world.

  10. #10
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    What is instructive is that we have never had any revolution here at all.

    We haven't had a bourgeois revolution. And we haven't had a proletarian revolution.

    So we retain the values of the aristocracy and the Enlightenment. So you can say we embody the values of the aristocratic Enlightenment.

    And in the meantime we have democratised our aristocratic Enlightenment values.

    So now each one of us little Aussies is an enlightened aristocrat.

    And with supreme irony, we are one of the most egalitarian countries in the world.

    Victor, if you're going to address me, please make an actual coherent point. This is just you twisting words around in a vain attempt to appear rather clever. You're not fooling me Victor, and in truth you never did.

    I'm looking for an actual intellectual discussion on this topic. This does not count.

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