The Theory Of Property Essay Research Paper — страница 4

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advancements, in Wolf’s scenario this need led to imperialist expansion in the New World at the expense of natural resources and the labor supplied by the providers of goods, the native Americans. Possibly the most distinguishable theory put forth by Wolf is the idea that not all successful economic endeavors are due to any type of economic strategy, but are affected by political and military action in the surrounding area. This might lead one to believe that the mode of production of the area matters less than one might think, while in reality it is the susceptibility of that same mode of production which leaves it open to attack by any new strategy. The fact that native Americans owned land (collectively) and had the ability to trap in great numbers allowed the imperialists

to take advantage of them by creating a system in which the Amerindians would not only need to participate but would also want to take part. By initially opening trade with the natives, the Europeans would eventually force the natives to trade exclusively since the Indians had allowed themselves to forsake productive sustaining practices in favor of creating “valuable” goods for trade. As trade grew so did the market for the goods also grow. This obvious progression created the possibility of great accumulation of wealth which eventually would be affected by capitalism on a worldwide scale. As a result of the greater inclusion in world markets a need arose for a body, or position, to supervise these practices. This is the origin of the more centralized body called the state,

but it is important to understand according to Wolf that the rise of material wealth might have triggered centralization, but in now way is there a traceable evolutionary line. There are only ramifications of specific practices (usually economic) on specific institutions (usually social and political) which opened the door for change; there are no cause/effect relationships. There are many inherent practices which were present in societies which forced the accumulation of wealth to be restricted. Pot latch ceremonies, in which feasts were held, was one such practice. By forcing a successful leader to hold a feast he gained many things in the eyes of many people. He gained prestige bestowed by the community in which he lived. He gained possible alliances with the guests whom he

invited. But best of all he participated in an activity which leveled the wealth of all the participants in the community. As livestock gained in importance it is essential to understand that to slaughter meant not only to kill the animal but also any potential offspring. During the feasts animals would be killed thus equalizing the host’s possessions with that of the general community. This was a very important method of keeping the importance of property in the form of livestock down since eventually all would be equal anyway. For Wolf, the quest for greater and greater amounts and types of property carried with it many aftershocks. Natives died do to contact with European diseases. Social and political structures were altered due to the affects trade had on military

strategy. Most of all, though, was the seemingly inevitable inclusion of the native Americans into the world market. Property began to no longer be labeled as belonging to one’s tribe but instead as belonging to one’s self. The competition had grown to immense proportions and it seems almost obvious to Wolf that the exploitation of the natives had become inevitable due to their inclusion in the tough capitalist world market. Unfortunately, though, it seems as if a trap was set for the natives, and just as the beavers were caught and skinned to fuel the capitalist machine so too were the native Americans.