Stone age economics

Generalized reciprocity refers to putatively altruistic transactions, the "true gift" marked by "weak reciprocity" due to the vagueness of the obligation to reciprocate. Ambitiously tackling the nature of economic life and how to study it comparatively, Sahlins radically revises traditional views of the hunter-gatherer and so-called primitive societies, revealing them to be the original "affluent society.

They assert that hunter-gatherer societies were not "affluent" but suffered from extremely high infant mortality, frequent disease, and perennial warfare. The tricky bit is living long enough to have the time to develop the skill to make a lion man at a time when average life expectancy is in the 30s, having the spare time to sit by the fire and do carving an entirely natural consequence of Sahlins' "The Original Affluent Society".

These are the reasons the original affluent society is that of the hunter-gatherer. From the idea of Stone Age Economics representing something distant and alien I had a sudden sense instead of how alien and recent our own way of life is.

Although they have been pushed to the margins of society, there are still many such societies in the world and they differ greatly from each other. But in a way the economics of the stone-age turn out to be oddly central and still inescapable in our present because economic, social and political theories all have their myths and just so stories that explain why the life we lead is the way it is and where we came from, and this little book aims to overthrow all that by discussing how actual stone-age economies worked.

Stone Age Economics

Again the pace of work is slow and irregular. Through knowledge of their environment hunter-gatherers are able to change what foreigners may deem as meager and unreliable natural resources into rich subsistence resources.

It is a within group relationship, whereas reciprocity is a between relationship. The kind of reciprocity reflects the moral nature of the social relationship, hence morality is not universal, but dependent on social distance. Lots here to think over and plenty to re-read.

He thus claimed all human relationships are based on the norm of reciprocity. There are all kind of implications to this. The Three to Five Hour Working Day[ edit ] Sahlins concludes that the hunter-gatherer only works three to five hours per adult worker each day in food production.

Basic types[ edit ] The domestic mode of production[ edit ] Marshall Sahlins has emphasized that non-market exchange is constrained by social relationships. A director could even make a nice documentary film about its subject which is the lives of surviving stone-age hunter gatherers in Africa and Australia.

On the Sociology of Primitive Exchange 6. The lack of surplus also demonstrates that they trust their environment will continuously provide for them. The production of subsistence goods is under the control of domestic units and hence marked by generalized reciprocity.

The Chief might be able to mobilise labour, the Chief is an ersatz father, a giver of gifts, a bull. Intensification of Production 4.

Reciprocity (cultural anthropology)

But in a way the economics of the stone-age turn out to be oddly central and still inescapable in our present because economic, social and political theories all have their myths and just so stories that explain why the life we lead is the way it is and where we came from, and this little book aims to overthrow all that by discussing how actual stone-age economies worked.

But it is with the search for esteem that things move in another interesting direction. People wander off for days or work for half a day before returning home but all the same easily support an extended family meeting their physiological, safety and belonging needs.

The argument is developed in "The Domestic Mode of Production". Again the pace of work is slow and irregular. The key finding is that even restricted to fairly desert areas they barely have to work to feed and support themselves. The Original Affluent Society 2. However, one must take into consideration that there has been much progress in this field since and that ideas on the category of hunter-gatherer are always shifting, with new paradigms continuously emerging.

By stepping away from western notions of affluence, the theory of the original affluent society thus dispels notions about hunter-gatherer societies that were popular at the time of the symposium.

By foraging only for their immediate needs among plentiful resources, hunter-gatherers are able to increase the amount of leisure time available to them.

Stone Age Economics

However, one must take into consideration that there has been much progress in this field since and that ideas on the category of hunter-gatherer are always shifting, with new paradigms continuously emerging.

The pace of work is slow. It is competitive, individualistic and may border on barter. This demonstrates that hunter-gatherers do not exist on a mere subsistence economy but rather live among plenty.

The stone age appears to be pretty much over apart from here and there and so it's economics can hardly be relevant. Of a sudden reading this I wasn't reading about stone age cultures but seeing perhaps how Old Kingdom Egypt emerged, were the Pharaoh was a father-figure, had a bull's tail as part of his regalia, if I remember correctly, received and redistributed food and mobilised labour to record his generosity.

Subsistence and networks of reciprocal gift giving come out as a pretty good survival strategy. These studies show that hunter-gatherers need only work about fifteen to twenty hours a week in order to survive and may devote the rest of their time to leisure.

People sleep a lot. By the sweat of your brow you can make yourself into a Big Man Big Women apparently don't exist, not even in the Amazon basin.

Original affluent society

When total time spent on food acquisition, processing, and cooking was added together, the estimate per week was. LibraryThing Review User Review - dono - LibraryThing.

This classic text can be read as an extended dissection of the concept of reciprocity, which has served as a cornerstone of anthropological economics and social relations.4/5(2). Ambitiously tackling the nature of economic life and how to study it comparatively, Stone Age Economics includes six studies that reflect the author's ideas on revising traditional views of hunter-gatherer and so-called primitive societies, revealing them to /5(27).

“If economics is the dismal science, the study of hunting and gathering economies must be its most advanced branch” (Sahlins 1). Stone Age Economics is one of the well-known books in the subfield of economic anthropology provided by an American cultural anthropologist, Marshall Sahlins.

Since its first publication over forty years ago Marshall Sahlins's Stone Age Economics has established itself as a classic of modern anthropology and arguably one of the founding works of anthropological economics. Ambitiously tackling the nature.

viii Stone Age Economics first part of Chapter 4 was originally published as "The Spirit of the Gift" in Echanges et communications (Jean Pouillon and P.

Maranda, eds., The Hague: Mouton, ). The second part of Chapter 4 ap­ peared as "Philosophie politique de l'Essai sur Ie don, "in L 'Homme (Vol.

8[4],). Stone Age Economics (Routledge Classics) (Volume ) [Marshall Sahlins, David Graeber] on holidaysanantonio.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Since its first publication over forty years ago Marshall Sahlins's Stone Age Economics has established itself as a classic of modern anthropology and arguably one of the founding works of 4/5(10).

Stone age economics
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Stone Age Economics - Marshall David Sahlins - Google Books