Skip to comments.Digging Up the Past (Polanyi redistribution paradigm disproven)
Posted on 12/27/2013 11:19:30 AM PST by Vigilanteman
What started out as a convenient collaboration between Dr. Richard Terry, professor of soil science at BYU, and a group of BYU archaeologists, soon became a groundbreaking discovery. Trough the combined efforts of Dr. Terry, Dr. Bruce Dahlin from Howard University, their students, and archaeologists from around the world, they were able to disprove the long-held belief that the Maya depended on the elite class to tax and redistribute their food and other goods.
After receiving a collaborative research grant from the National Science Foundation, Terry and his students met up with Bruce Dahlin and his students at the huge Maya site of Chunchucmil in northwest Yucatán in 2001. Dahlin and his students focused on the excavation of the commoners homes. They expected to find simple artifacts associated with the impoverished lives of commoners, but that was not what they found. The artifacts from the common households included beautifully carved clay pots, polychrome pottery, and jade jewelry, all thought to be exclusively elite items. The ancient residents of Chunchucmil did not fit the anthropological paradigm of a poor commoner class supported by wealthy elites in a system of tribute and redistribution. This paradigm had been around since the Marxist writings of Karl Polanyi in the 1940s. According to the tribute and redistribution paradigm, the Maya did not have the need to buy and sell goods, therefore there could be no marketplaces. Irrefutable evidence would be required to alter the accepted paradigm.
(Excerpt) Read more at lsmagazine.byu.edu ...
Those who have studied Karl Polanyi's landmark writing The Great Transformation (1944) understands that Marxists and their fellow travelers always assume big government is a necessary ingredient for advanced civilization.
The Mayan Culture was one of Polanyi's most cited proofs for this thesis. According to Polanyi, only an elite (to command fair redistribution) and servile class are needed to advance civilization.
A middle class often becomes an impediment to this progress. Hence, honest Marxists will openly admit a war on the middle class or bourgueoise in Marxist terms.
Thus, the explosion of their long-held contention that their model Mayan society had no markets, no middle class and a perfect command economy who ensured efficient redistribution is ground-breaking, to say the least.
It is pretty clear, however, that the Inca operated a system not far off what Polanyi postulated for the Maya. This is because the Inca were still around to have stuff written down about them. The Maya were well past their sell-by date by the time the Spanish showed up, so their economic systems had to be inferred.
The elite are necessary, but not for socialist redistribution. I was reading about some Eastern Mediterranean old civilization — one of the earlier lists of laws. One of the laws impressed me, it said robbing or harassing traders was a really, really bad thing. That’s what the elite did; they protected private property. If you protect private property, you will get rich. They understood.
Not anymore, based on the techniques cited in the brief article.
And who is to say that the Inca didn't have a similar system prior to their decline into what they were when Pizzaro and his men showed up? Perhaps even their earlier history was rewritten, much like our elite are doing with ours.
Native Americans have always been a blank canvas onto which others project their own beliefs.
Yep. At its peak, the empire ruled by Genghis Khan was said to be so orderly that a virgin maiden could walk from one end of the kingdom to the other with a pot of gold balanced on the top of her head and not be molested.
That is probably true, but she certainly been robbed, beaten, raped, and murdered; but no one would have molested her in the least.
The early Spanish writers had no incentive to invent unusual economic systems for the Inca. It is in fact very easy to see how confused they were by what they were seeing. It’s clear they didn’t understand the system, but it is most especially clear that it bore zero relationship to the more or less free market economies they were used to.
OTOH, the Inca themselves were newcomers, having conquered most of western S. America and imposed their totalitarian system in considerably less than a century. The Spanish showed up just as they reached their apogee.
The preceding cultures might very well have had a more market-based economy.
...they were able to disprove the long-held belief that the Maya depended on the elite class to tax and redistribute their food and other goods.Thanks Vigilanteman.
Now if only the GOP would become the party of the middleclass, then we’d see some real change!
Now if only the GOP would become the party of the middleclass, then wed see some real change!
Not holding your breath, I hope. That bunch crossed over some time back, and I no longer consider myself a member of the Republicrat Party.
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