Consumption Patterns Of Bands Tribes Cheifdoms Agricultural States And Industrial States

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5/13/08

In characterizing the different consumption patterns of bands, tribes, chiefdoms, agricultural states, and industrial states, we must first recognize that the consumption of a society depends on the economy. The economy of a society consists of three key things: production, exchange, and finally, consumption. Production is the organized system for the creation of goods and services. Exchange is the process whereby members of society transfer goods and services among one another. Consumption is the use of goods and services to satisfy desires and needs.

Bands are nomadic, hunter-gatherers. They have created a generalized reciprocity, which means that all food, tools, shelter, personal possessions, etc.. This is done because food and possessions are scarce. Since the band is so small jealousy and hunger could take hold and cause a division between members with different capacities. This is what we call an egalitarian society, which refers to societies that have very small differences in wealth among individuals. There are no rich or poor in these types of societies (S&D, Ch.14, p.356). They create an idea within their group a collective ownership of property. Also, this sort of behavior is expected, so an apology may make someone feel uncomfortable, confused, or even insulted.

Other than generalized, there are two other types of reciprocity that are characterized in the economies of tribal peoples. Balanced reciprocity is giving with the expectation of immediate returned, for example, a barter and trade situation. Negative reciprocity is no reciprocity at all. Imagine raiding parties riding through a rival tribes village, or herd of domesticated horses and taking what they can for themselves. There are forms of monetary exchange in some tribal societies, as well as more defined and singular forms of property ownership. Kinship groups tend to inherit properties and reciprocal exchanges are a normal means of daily consumption.

Chiefdoms have a somewhat similar ideology than tribes, but are much larger in size. With a larger size comes the need to create more complicated social structures, more extensive technologies, distribution and exchange systems, etc… Status played a small role in the lives of people living within a tribal structure, but in chiefdoms we see the division of classes and a more uneven distribution of wealth began to develop. Sumptuary rules are the cultural norms and practices used to differentiate the higher-status groups from the rest of society. These rules can be seen in chiefdoms where the higher ranked individuals worn more ornate jewelry and clothing. Taboos against touching, and eating with people of different status are demonstrated as well. Slavery can be found in this echelon of the sociocultural system.

Agricultural states could be vast, controlling many outlying areas, and their peoples. They had governments, and a hierarchy. Taxes and a police force, or military of sorts. It usually included rural, and “urban” areas, with villages, towns, and cities included under it’s wing. This allowed for many types of technology, as well as the development of several different levels of class amongst people. Feudalism was a form of decentralized political economy based on landed estates, and existed in agricultural states. This sort of governance created a working class of poverty stricken and uneducated individuals, of whom it was demanded that they show dedication and loyalty to their ruler. They accomplished this by serving with hard labor, and much tribute. The tributary form is what we call the paying of taxes, rent, labor services, replaced economic exchanges based on kinship reciprocity, or chiefdom distribution (S&D, Ch. 18, p. 431).

Industrial states have become modernized. The Industrial Revolution happened in Europe during the late 18th century. These states exhibit a complex division of labor. Industrial economies consist of the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors, with jobs increasingly located in the tertiary sector, consisting of white collar, service industries. Industrialization also stimulated new exchange patterns, resulting in the development of a market economy. Both capitalists and socialist systems developed in industrial societies (S&D, Ch. 19, p.475) Industrial states are classified as open societies in which social status can be achieved through individual efforts. However, the gaps between status in these states is much larger than in other socioeconomic structures.

In the dictionary the definition for affluence is:
The a: an abundant flow or supply : profusion b: abundance of property : wealth2: a flowing to or toward a point : influx. I think the affluence of the United States is a farce. It is won over the backs of the multitude of people whom serve it. It’s wealth is not sustainable and unfortunately it is stripping the last remaining resources from our earth and poverty stricken nations abroad, to feed it’s ever growing need placate it’s public with fuel, and material goods, so the government can continue to reap the worlds bounties with out interference. I love this planet, not just this nation. I am a citizen of the world. I believe that the bounty provided by nature could most closely mimic the passages in the bible that outline the Christian God’s ability to provide for all without fear of hunger for any. But we have little faith! I am not an opponent to America. I do believe that with all our power we should be striving as a nation to set the bar in social reform and global justice, instead of covering up for Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dumb’s ever flowing river of mistakes. I think that there is a balance to be struck, but the affluence that America provides should not be modeled after it’s economy, but the idea that was once presented in this great nation. Freedom, equality, and justice for all. Throw in some peace, love, communication, and understanding and you’ve sold me! My definition of affluence would be; the social capital brought from within a particular society and put forth for the betterment of all. Then you would need to define all.

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