In our discussions my use of the term “inequality” has come up.  My book is entitled: The Creation of Political Domination: From the Paleolithic to the Present (which exists in manuscript and which I am slowly putting on Anthropology Forum).  It could be called "the rise of inequality," but that would be too narrow because inequality has always existed, but political domination has not.  It did not exist in the non-storing peoples of the Paleolithic, though they had minimal inequality e.g., gender differences and those based on age.  But in the Long Paleolithic there was no political domination because aggrandizers could not achieve any material base from which to exploit others.  That only came about in three instances: (1) where foragers moved into an area that naturally provided them with a storable-stealable-surplus e.g., the fish runs of the Northwest Coast; (2) where crops were domesticated and; (3) where animals were domesticated.  Of course the last two often went together and form the dominate basis of the emergence of political domination by elitists over commoners.  There was inequality before the advent of these three conditions but no stratification.  That comes about only when there is a material base (the storable-stealable-surplus) that aggressive individuals can manipulate to their advantage and are able to establish a power base e.g., chiefship.  Inequality is natural while political domination and stratification are socially constructed.  My work is about the emergence of the myriad of institutions that trap us and reduce our freedoms today e.g., the military industrial complex or as it has been called the State-Management System.  One more familiar to the common person in America would be the IRS and the laws that require payment of taxes.  One cannot easily escape such institutional domination.  In non-storing societies of the Paleolithic one could move away from anyone who tried to dominate.  This was because the material base, nature’s food supply, was a free good.  It was equally available to all able-bodied adults and the population densities were low so that the natural larder of food was more than sufficient to supply all with more than they could consume.  Today a small portion of humanity has locked up the prime portions of the material base for themselves and use that base to control others.  Inequality has evolved into stratification and global capitalism wherein a few can play what Susan Strange has called Casino Capitalism (Strange, Susan.  1986.  Casino capitalism.  Oxford: Blackwell).

 

 

 

 

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