Feburary 24, 2005
By Lil Joe
Amadou: Thanks for initiating this. Your
reference to James - your namesake! - was the book you cited about
modes of production that should not be in seen stages, had arisen
my curiosity and I would appreciate to hear much more about
Lil Joe: That's the easy part to write about --
on second thought: not so easy!
The stages theory of human socioeconomic evolution is based on
concepts of political economic property ownership as characterizing
'relations of production' as the social content of different 'modes
A) Primitive tribal communal societies, superseded by slave
societies resulting from conquests;
B) Slave based economies, where the majority are chattel (e.g. in our example, the Roman Empire);
C) Feudalism, resulting from conquest of Roman Europe by 'barbarian hordes ' , resulting in landlord-serf relations of production -- manorial fiefdom;
D) Capitalism wherein the bourgeoisie owns the productive forces in relation to proletariat;
E) Socialism' where the state owns the basic means of production; projecting into
F) Communism where class relations of production are superseded, and the state have 'whiter away'.
Masquerading as "Marxism", this political stages theory of history is presented as 'historical materialism' according to which distinct historical 'stages' are categorized by the politics of class property ownership.
This ideological perspective of stages comes from Henry
Lewis Morgan's Ancient Society.
This is a primitive scientific classification of pre-civil society as advancing from Savagery, Barbarism, to Civilization, on the basis of economy and corresponding socio-culture practices.
Frederick Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State
This work by Engles, though based on the materialist conception of history, was organized around Morgan's materials as far as pre-civil class societies are classified. But, Engels' personal, insightful contribution to this issue is given in his chapter on "Civilization". This chapter organizes Marx's Ethnological Notebooks, and Capital volumes. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/ch01.htm
Lenin's Lecture on the State
This is an important (albeit brief) lecture that in fact more than Morgan-Engels is the basis of 'historical materialism', concerning the defining property characteristic relations of production categorizing 'slavery', 'feudalism', 'capitalism', and 'socialism'.
Trotsky's The Theory of Permanent Revolution & Results and Prospects, Chapter 1: The Peculiarities of Russian Historical Development http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1931-tpv/rp01.htm
and Chapter 6: On the Skipping of Historic Stages.
Stalin's Dialectical and Historical Materialism http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1938/09.htm
The school of historical materialism, and its concept of 'stages', focuses on the politics of property, who are the primary owners, thus the class of 'owners' the exploiters of their dialectical opposite, e.g. slave-owners and slaves, lords and serfs, capitalists and proletarians.
Here 'exploitation' is a moral concept meaning one group, or 'class', forcing people of another group, or 'class', to work for them. This is a distorted version of the correct concept of class struggle -- that the history of civil society has been a history of class struggle as articulated by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto:
"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
"Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes." (M/E CM) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm
The readers will notice that in the example of ancient Rome, generally based on slavery, it is not some universal categorical relation of production that everyone were either slave-owners or slaves. Rather, although the dominate form of appropriation of labor was direct appropriation of slave labor by those who possessed human chattel, slaves, yet there were other relations of production -- free farmers in commodity production in competition with agriculturalists working their estates by slave gangs:
"In Italy, on the other hand, the concentration of landed property (caused not only by buying-up and indebtedness but also by inheritance, since loose living being rife and marriage rare, the old families gradually died out and their possessions fell into the hands of a few) and its conversion into grazing land (caused not only by the usual economic forces still operative today but by the importation of plundered and tribute-corn and the resultant lack of demand for Italian corn) brought about the almost total disappearance of the free population. The very slaves died out again and again, and had constantly to be replaced by new ones. Slavery remained the basis of the whole productive system. The plebeians, midway between freemen and slaves, never succeeded in becoming more than a proletarian rabble." (Marx and Engels: The [critique of] German Ideology) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01d.htm#d3
In ancient Rome, although the major productive forces were
agriculture and mining worked by slave labor, the classes in Rome
itself including patricians, knights, plebeians, palace slaves
including educators; merchants, artisans, innkeepers and so on who
hired proletarians working for wages and/or owned slaves to do the
work.. There were therefore not just two 'relations of production
class formations in ancient Rome, slave-owners and slaves, but
several, it was the class war of patricians and plebeians that were
central in the city politics, the former represented by the Senate
and the latter by the Tribune, as well as class wars between Roman
citizens as such and slaves (e.g. the great slave revolt led by
The feudal system was similarly manifold class relations and conflicts, not just landowners appropriating the produce of serfs in the form of rent. There were guild masters and journeymen from which evolved through commodity production capitalists and proletarians.
Similarly 'feudalism' was also diversified, notwithstanding the its agricultural sector was dominate: lords appropriated the surpluses of serfs as rent, kings from vassels as taxes, and so on.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations." (M/CM)
Without going into the specific level of development of the
productive forces; technology in use (manufacturing technology
needed to manufacture other technologies) engenders by speciation
of productive forces according to which are techno-specific
divisions of labors, to which are determined corresponding forms of
exchange. The levels of development of the productive forces
determine the divisions of labor, by skills. The distribution of
labor determines forms of exchange of products.
Thus, skill, specializations (species of skills) are the 'property' of the individual, acquired by socialization and education, either as/for an individual's participation in tool making, and the communal usage of those special tools, either in/by appropriation of means of subsistence (plants &/or animal flesh) or indirectly by manufacturing means of manufacturing, bits and pieces made to replace lost or used up elements of tools.
The economy, by which is recognized skills, information, culture: the production and reproduction of the productive forces, technology and skills required to reproduce technology and relevant technique's, is producing means of production needed to produce means of subsistence, and distribution of means of subsistence.
Modes of material labor expended in production, of means of producing means of production on one hand, and [by these] production of means of substance engenders technological know-how, skills.
Techno-skills, the result of introduced technologies in the labor process consequently produces increases in labor productivity, for instance in agriculture animal plow in the natural production distribution by many, displaced by tractors doing the same increases labor productivity. Thus, the introduction of machinery, displacement of animal technology in production displacing drought animals and by this reinforces another 'division of labor' or 'branch of industry in the production of these means of production!
This specialization is skilled work.
New Technology, and the specific skill necessary to its usage, is a new 'branch of industry', a new property, thus for instance handicrafts of artisans separated from the peasant farmers, settled in towns, hired wageworkers in commodity production. Consequently, because this new technological division of labor, and skill intensifying labor productivity, there arise from this specialization greater labor productivity, and the appropriation of the labor power of the workers by wages, money, the artisans become capitalists and the workers proletarians.
As in the beginning, from bountiful herding, horticulture, pastoral wealth, surplus produce in agriculture and handicraft advances at the same time from only direct appropriation for consumption to direct appropriation for sell, alienation of product from producer by exchange from one to an other.
"Objects in themselves are external to man, and consequently alienable by him. In order that this alienation may be reciprocal, it is only necessary for men, by a tacit understanding, to treat each other as private owners of those alienable objects, and by implication as independent individuals. But such a state of reciprocal independence has no existence in a primitive society based on property in common, whether such a society takes the form of a patriarchal family, an ancient Indian community, or a Peruvian Inca State. The exchange of commodities, therefore, first begins on the boundaries of such communities, at their points of contact with other similar communities, or with members of the latter. So soon, however, as products once become commodities in the external relations of a community, they also, by reaction, become so in its internal intercourse. The proportions in which they are exchangeable are at first quite a matter of chance. What makes them exchangeable is the mutual desire of their owners to alienate them. Meantime the need for foreign objects of utility gradually establishes itself. The constant repetition of exchange makes it a normal social act. In the course of time, therefore, some portion at least of the products of labour must be produced with a special view to exchange." http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch02.htm
The quintessence, conceptual, property form, differs in each
economic unit of production and appropriation resulting in
different forms of property and property qua wealth.
Among pastoral clans of tribes, for instance, it is the
quantity of men's position of numbers of sheep,
goats, or cattle in possession that is the wealth
that determines status. Abel in the Cain vs. Able
analogy; it is among horticulturalists and agriculturalist,
personified in Cain, that landed wealth is wealth qua
wealth, for instance. Similarly, the story of Abraham the Bedouin
and Lot of the Urban (Sodom and Gomorrah) represent the opposition
of town and country.
The techno-economic divisions of labor, new inventions are new divisions of labor, fields of production requiring new usage of older technology and industry, present itself as a new property. This new 'property', however, does not immediately conflict with existing property forms, in a 'struggle of existence', negation of the old mode of appropriation of labor power, by new technology, divisions of labor and correspondingly different mode of appropriation, challenging the old, displacing it.
"For instance, privilege, the institution of guilds and corporations, the regulatory system of the Middle Ages, were the only social relations that corresponded to the acquired productive forces and to the pre-existing social conditions front which those institutions had emerged. Protected by the corporative and regulatory system, capital had accumulated, maritime trade had expanded, colonies had been founded and man would have lost the very fruits of all this had he wished to preserve the forms under whose protection those fruits had ripened. And, indeed, two thunderclaps occurred, the revolutions of 1640 and of 1688. In England, all the earlier economic forms, the social relations corresponding to them, and the political system which was the official _expression of the old civil society, were destroyed." http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1846/letters/46_12_28.htm
The initial mode of exchange, alienation of produce rather than reciprocity from each according to her ability; in nay case, to each according to her family's needs was Trade. Barter mode of appropriation, the result of tribal modes of production, horticulture/agriculture, on the one side, and herders and pastoral tribes on the other. Exchange, first accidentally by 'double coincidence of want', and then deliberately, commodity production for trade, then merchants, money, the towns as centers of commerce and politics.
"Civilization consolidates and intensifies all these existing divisions of labor, particularly by sharpening the opposition between town and country (the town may economically dominate the country, as in antiquity, or the country the town, as in the middle ages), and it adds a third division of labor, peculiar to itself and of decisive importance: it creates a class which no longer concerns itself with production, but only with the exchange of the products - the merchants. Hitherto whenever classes had begun to form, it had always been exclusively in the field of production; the persons engaged in production were separated into those who directed and those who executed, or else into large-scale and small-scale producers. Now for the first time a class appears which, without in any way participating in production, captures the direction of production as a whole and economically subjugates the producers; which makes itself into an indispensable middleman between any two producers and exploits them both." http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/ch09.htm
"Every student of economics knows that commodity exchange and money as a medium of exchange considerably predate the capitalist mode of production. Since the dawn of civilization money has been employed as a universal equivalent between inanimate commodities." (Weekly Worker 333 Thursday April 27 2000) http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/333/tonycliff2.html
Modes of appropriation characteristic of relations of production
are the determination of class property formations.
The modes of production determine is characterized by the level of developed productive powers, tools and the requisites skilled labor: the divisions of labor; the division of labor is determined by the level of development of the technology manufactured, in turn the prior manufactured means of producing these means of production --.
Hominid (not exclusively homo sapiens [humans] made tools (manufactured technology] for the purpose as a final cause that is to by these tools make (manufacture) of tools by which to make (manufactured) tools designed for tool making, is what distinguishes hominid communities from other communities of Anthropoidea (members of the suborder of the order Primates that includes the New World monkeys, Old World monkeys, apes, and humans)
Benjamin Franklin had distinguished 'man' as a 'tool-making
animal'. However, once Jane Goodal, living among the Chimpanzees
observed that they [Chimpanzees] also 'made tools' (fashioned twigs
with which to pole into termite colonies beneath the ground),
Leakey quipped that anthropologist have to either include
Chimpanzees into the category of 'Man', or else are compelled to
come up with an new 'definition'. (See The Jane Goodal Institute
Humanity is not defined by technology in use. This is clear even in the anticipation by Marx in German Ideology:
"The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can only be made in the imagination. They are the real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live, both those which they find already existing and those produced by their activity. These premises can thus be verified in a purely empirical way. The way in which men produce their means of subsistence depends first of all on the nature of the actual means of subsistence they find in existence and have to reproduce. This mode of production must not be considered simply as being the production of the physical existence of the individuals. Rather it is a definite form of activity of these individuals, a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part. As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and with how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production".
Historical materialism's premise of property ownership as the
determination of an historical epoch, or 'mode of production', has
nothing to do with my Marxian materialist conception of history,
distinct from the historical materialism articulated by Engels,
Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin together with their respective ideological
language. The Marxian materialist conception of history is closer
to the scientific materialist conception of history articulated by
Marx, and developed in Cultural Ecology, and Cultural Materialism:
the work by Julian Steward, Lesley White and Marvin Harris.
The materialist conception of history is that the level of development of labor productivity -- agriculture and industry - manifesting divisions of labor, and with it exchange within economic units, and commerce between them, is what characterizes 'modes of appropriation' characteristic of corresponding 'modes of production' categories.
The technology determined division of labor, exchanges as modes of appropriation of labor and products of labor, is the method of distribution between individuals, and thus the method of appropriation of surplus produce, is the determination of methods of appropriation, from one estate or class by another, is what determines the method of exploitation.
"Wherever a part of society possesses the monopoly of the means of production, the labourer, free or not free, must add to the working-time necessary for his own maintenance an extra working-time in order to produce the means of subsistence for the owners of the means of production, whether this proprietor be the Athenian [well-to-do man], Etruscan theocrat, civis Romanus, Norman baron, American slave-owner, Wallachian Boyard, modern landlord or capitalist."
The method of appropriation of the slave's labor is direct;
chattel slaves are in the possession of another, the same as
Irreligious scientific methodology analyzing the techno-economic sociopolitical mode of production, division of labor and modes of distribution of produce, whither of hunters-gatherers, horticulturalist/ herders, and/or from herders to domestications of plants and animals, animal husbandry and agriculture, evolved surplus produce and trade in the earlier economies in the fertile River Valleys.
Technology, and economy arrived in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, slaves were taken for granted as the will of the gods, similarly Babylonia.
Mode of production (tool making manufactured by tools previously manufactured for this purpose) is divisions of labor, thus exchange between those manufacturing means of production, and/or producing means of subsistence is the basis of economy: relations production, politics, morality and so on.
In ancient Egypt, for instance, in the building of pyramids and of temple structures, public work projects, citizen architects, artisans, craftsmen -- metal workers, carpenters, painters, &C. They were paid wages in kind -- provided food, shelter, &C, during seasons where their farms were not in need of labor. The state was not a capitalist state, as the buildings and pyramids were not commodities to be bought and sold, but was public property. Dubois called this 'state socialism' (See Dubois: The World and Africa)
Thus, on the basis of levels of development of productive powers, technology and thereupon relevant skill; the division of labor presupposes above socially necessary labor-time required for the production of means of subsistence and subsistence. Surplus labor, its products, specialization; enhanced results in exchange: barter, markets, and commodity production by slave labor or/and wage labor.
I had not clearly understood the issue of division of labor and exchange in ancient Egypt, by modern categorical modes of appropriation, the divisions of labor in ancient Egypt. I got help from my comrades Connie White and Harry Carey.
Some scholars argue that forced labor did not build the pyramids.
Religious devotion was the prime motivator. Pharaoh, the living God, beckoned the
beloved, (his subjects), to create his monument. This was their duty as
believers. He, as God, would reward them now and in the afterlife.
What greater work has man to do, than god's will on earth? - Harry.
In terms of 'exchange', in ancient Egypt,, Connie clarified for
me the functional definition of 'proletariat', as the class that,
having no means of subsistence available when needed are compelled
to 'sell' (exchange) their labor power to others in order to
In ancient Egypt, unlike modern, permanent members of this class, had farms &C. These farms, where the overflow of the Nile occurred seasonally, as in the story of Joseph, brought to my attention by a friend, Iweze, it became a policy to store grain and distribute it during off season, famines, and so on. State 'employees' did not sell their labor power for money, but for means of subsistence.
What I have [attempted] to show is that the overly simplistic historical materialism, based on who owns the property rather than a discussion of what determined the various property forms, is contrary to the Marxian materialist conception of history work, and the methods of appropriation of labor of one class by another engenders corresponding relations of production, from which arise class property, protected by the state.
In Greco-Athenian polis had evolved commodity economy, production and distribution, by proletarians and/or slaves simultaneously in one shop, or separately in other shops, working for the same or separate artisans. -the several owning classes were on the defensive. Early political theory of slavery, articulated by Aristotle is that slaves are animal property, animal tools incapable of deliberative reasoning, but capable of understanding commands and obeying order.
In reality a mode of production is dominated by the most advanced -- that is, the most scientifically devvveellopppped produuctive forces' division of labor determined property relations, the method of appropriation of labor and its products, whether herders or pastoralists, agricultural labor based on animal husbandry, stone or metal tools of artisans and their products, by slaves, journeymen or proletarians, these productive forces determine the division of labor, and consequent forms of exchange, appropriation.
"Social relations are closely bound up with productive forces. In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing the way of earning their living, they change all their social relations. The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill society with the industrial capitalist." (Marx: The Poverty of Philosophy)
"Needless to say, man is not free to choose his productive forces upon which his whole history is based for every productive force is an acquired force, the product of previous activity. Thus the productive forces are the result of man's practical energy, but that energy is in turn circumscribed by the conditions in which man is placed by the productive forces already acquired, by the form of society which exists before him, which he does not create, which is the product of the preceding generation. (Marx, regarding materialist conception of history, 1846 ( Marx Letter from Marx to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov
"The same men who establish their social relations in conformity with the material productivity produce also principles, ideas, and categories, in conformity with their social relations. (Marx: The Poverty of Philosophy. Chapter 2: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/poverty-philosophy/ch02.htm)
The Paleolithic mode of production, percussion flaking techniques, and food getting by direct appropriation invented culture, was dominated, historically, by the pre-human hominid Homo Habilis (handyman)
"Homo habilis: The oldest human species yet to have been found. They were the creators of the first tools and lived between 2.5 million and 1 million years ago in eastern Africa." http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/Dictionary.html
And Homo Erectus/Egaster:
"Homo erectus: Human species found in Africa, Europe and Asia between 1.5 million and 300,000 years ago. These humans were the first to control fire and to build habitations." http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/Dictionary.html
Without for one moment abandoning the quintessential concepts of
the materialist conception of history, particularly as
articulated by Marx, we must nonetheless decouple Marx and
The speculations by Morgan and Engels, the notion of 'stages' of "savagery", and "barbarism", in contrast to 'civilization', were 19th century Euro-centric, one might say racist, fantasies. The European merchant travelers, explorers, and finally conquerors/colonialists engaging in mercantile trade including the slave trade, and eventually the triangular trade, ideologically viewed the world correspondingly. Morgan and Engels were acculturated in Europe and America, thus shared these perspectives.
There is no such thing as savages and/or barbarians, which hold's as its ideological premises the world-views of early imperialism, wherein the idea of 'civilization' is the contradistinction of the 'civilizations' of China, India, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Israel, Persia, Greece, and Rome to 3rd world 'savages' and early European 'barbarians', positing that Europe is the highest derivation of the 'civilizations.
Nevertheless, Engels did more objectively scientific work where in contradistinction to Morgan he drew more on Hegel's Philosophy of History, in his conceptual analysis regarding Greece and Rome.
The empirical materialist conception of history, articulated by Marx, I distinguish from the historical materialism stages theories of Morgan, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and their "Marxist-Leninist" disciples. Morgan and Engels, and those who followed their theories including Leslie White's of concepts of "unilinear evolution," were more pantheistic materialism of providence than empirical science.
Julian Steward, equally a materialist in his analysis of cultures, positing the determinate function in technology and economy, but more so an empirical scientist in cultural anthropology, moved scientific anthropology away from pantheistic providence of the unilinear model.
Different human communities in different locations, at the same, or different times, are by human technologically, is by their technology able to respond to their environments, similarly or differently, resulting in economies engendered cultures being similar or different, depending upon the level of development of the productive forces.
Marvin Harris, critically drawing from the work of historical materialists, distinguished the materialist conception of history. The concept/methodology of the Marxian materialistic conception of history, as articulated in Marx's Capital op.cit., was the conceptual tool used, and further developed by its usage by Harris of this materialist conception, by his empirical method of collecting and analyzing the technological economic data of a culture: Cultural Materialism.
The Morgan-Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin conception of 'historical materialism' is dismissed along with their conceptions of savagery and barbarism. What this does away with, implicitly but must be made explicit, is the characterization of a 'mode of production' by its characteristic 'relations of production, based on property. Saying which class 'owned' the productive forces does not explain the different property-forms.
Marx in Capital provide insight into this determination -- that the character of an economy, its mode of production is its characteristic property-form --. The instance analyzed is capitalist commodity production by wage labor. The capitalist mode of appropriation, the product of the capitalist mode of production, produces capitalist private property.
The materialist conception of history:
"Relics of bygone instruments of labour possess the same importance for the investigation of extinct economic forms of society, as do fossil bones for the determination of extinct species of animals. It is not the articles made, but how they are made, and by what instruments, that enables us to distinguish different economic epochs.  Instruments of labour not only supply a standard of the degree of development to which human labour has attained, but they are also indicators of the social conditions under which that labour is carried on. (Karl Marx: Capital Vol. I Ch. 7 The Labor-Process)
The Lower Paleolithic tool making traditions were inherited by Homo Sapiens from previous hominids - the percussion flake-techniques invented by Homo Habilis, and Erectus/Egaster developed percussion flake techniques, and founded economy of scavenger-gatherers using pebble flakes, and finally hand axes.
Hand axes are found wherever hominids were settled, thus indicating a universal pattern of production and use of this tool.
"By the time Homo ergaster/erectus appeared, Oldowan choppers and flake tools had been in use for 800,000 years. For another 100,000 to 400,000 years, Oldowan tools continued to be the top-of-the-line implements for early Homo ergaster/erectus. Between 1.7 and 1.4 million years ago, Africa witnessed a significant advance in stone tool technology: the development of the Acheulean industry." http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Paleoanthropology_Acheulean_Technology
This mode of production, percussion flake techniques, from pebble flacks to hand axes were improved in the Acheulian industry to include making of tools also from wood and bone. In fact: " With the Acheulean Industry, the use of stone (hard hammer) was pretty much restricted to the preliminary rough shaping of a handax, and all the fine work around the edges was done with wood and bone." http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Paleoanthropology_Acheulean_Technology
As the Pleistocene Epoch progressed
Homo erectus and Homo ergaster
slowly developed the primitive
chopper into a better instrument.
About half a million years ago
the stone tool assemblage
of flint handaxes came to dominate.
This Acheulean tradition originated in
Sub-Saharan Africa such as
at the Olduvai Gorge.
Early forms of Homo sapiens spread
the culture out of Africa into the Near East.
The use of fire, during travel and as a central camp base, and therefore cooking in this camp, may have originated with homo erectus/egaster, but the invention of fire starting probably began in the early Middle Paleolithic by Homo Sapiens. This was important for the increasing eating of animal flesh, and by it cooking, not just animal flesh but roots, and other vegetables as well.
The Middle Paleolithic period is dominated by H. Sapiens, in Europe the Neanderthalensis developed tools called Mousterian (after Le Moustier Cave in France).
"Archaeological sites are dominated by flake tools. By contrast, Acheulean sites are dominated by large handaxes and choppers. Handaxes are almost absent from Middle Paleolithic sites. Oldowan hominids used mainly flake tools as well. However, unlike the small, irregular Oldowan flakes, the Middle Paleolithic hominids produced quite symmetric, regular flakes using sophisticated methods." http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Paleoanthropology_MiddlePaleolithic_Technology
From the Lower, into the Middle Paleolithic, the modes of
production were characteristic of percussion flaking technology,
was in existence from three to two million years ago, long prior to
being taken over and further developed by homo sapiens, one to two
hundred thousand years ago.
Pressure flaking enabled the manufacture of a wide verity of tools, microliths, and of bone, and antler:
The economy, or form of appropriation characteristic of scavengers-gatherers was direct -- direct in the double sense that the individual men, women and children flaked their own stone tools, hammers tones used both as platforms to making other tools and to crack nuts and bone's of animal carcasses, and blades to shape digging sticks and cut meat from animals into bite size pieces. Thus, it was also direct in that there was no division of labor, as each one, except the children of course; who were capable of making their tools did so themselves, and directly appropriated roots, nuts, and animal flesh to eat. There was therefore no 'exchange'.
The mode of production by percussion and then pressure flaking made possible economy, of food getting by cooperation, was not however 'communalism'. Rather, each member of homo erectus/egaster band, or homo sapient clan, directly manufactured his or her own stone tool, making tools (e.g. shaping digging sticks to acquire roots, and blades to rip an animal carcass, in each case directly appropriated and consumed as food.
There was therefore no 'exchange'. This economy, of food getting, was not what is called 'communalism', because each one directly manufactured his or her own blade technology and directly appropriated the food.
"The progressive diminution in the size of stone artifacts that began in the Middle Paleolithic reached its climax in the small parallel-sided blades and microliths of what has been called the Indian Mesolithic." http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=46803
The economy of internal 'exchange' was developed as knowledge and technology enabled the men of clans to manufacture of spears, and bows and arrows engendering a sexual division of labor, men hunted, similar to packs of wild dogs in concern, and women raised the children, similar to Chimpanzees today, and were the mistresses of the hearth.
"The various stages of development in the division of labour are just so many different forms of ownership, i.e. the existing stage in the division of labour determines also the relations of individuals to one another with reference to the material, instrument, and product of labour." (M/E GI) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a.htm
Neolithic horticulture followed gathering in the areas of abundant vegetation, using 'slash/burn' techniques that gradually included men, as well as women.
"Horticulturalists usually have a shifting pattern of field use. When production drops due to the inevitable depletion of soil nutrients, horticulturalists move to a new area to plant their crops. They clear the wild vegetation with a slash and burn technique. Brush and small trees are cut down and allowed to dry out in place. They are then burned. This simultaneously clears the field of all but large trees and adds ash to the soil surface. The ash acts as a fertilizer. No other fertilizer is applied to the field. As a result, soil productivity lasts only for a few years." http://anthro.palomar.edu/subsistence/sub_4.htm
Horticulture was accompanied by animal husbandry, the
domestication of animals used for food.
The Neolithic economy (acquisition of means of subsistence) of hunters and gatherers was a sexual division of labor, male hunters and female gatherers. It was a 'communal' economy in that women collectively gathered roots, berries, nuts, and vegetables, which were held in common, socially provided for the children, prepared food, and in general were the mistress of the hearth. This was just as much based on female biology as anatomy and physiology favored men and boys as hunters.
Men hunted, cooperated in the hunts (similar to other social hunting animals). The animals were butchered on the spot, socially, and brought back to the hearth were they were prepared by the women, and distributed to members of the clan according to availability and need.
Among hunters-gatherers the appropriation of food -- by male hunters and female gatherers resulting in an acquired sexual division of labor engendered 'exchanges' by the principle of reciprocity between the sexes. The hunter-gatherer clans were economic units, the labor of men [hunters] and women [gatherers] contributed to the clan's survival: there were therefore no 'exchange' in the modern sense of economics.
The mode of appropriation in the hunter-gatherer economy was direct -- direct in the double sense that the iinndiiiividual mmen, women and children flaked their own stone tools, hammers tones used both as platforms to making other tools and to crack nuts and bone's of animal carcasses, and blades to shape digging sticks and cut meat from animals into bite size pieces. It was thus also direct in that men and boys, women and girls, with the exception of the children, each made their tools.
In the hunter-gatherers economy the women were mothers and gatherers, they directly made their own tools, flakes and digging sticks and from Nature individually and as teams these females directly appropriated roots, nuts. The men and boys, similarly directly made their tools, and means of hunting, providing the clans with animal flesh to eat.
The hunter-gatherer economy was based on private production of means of acquisitioning food, and private possession of their tools. It can be called 'communalism', therefore, only with regard to consumption: the sexual division of labor subordinated by the communal access to the roots, nuts, vegetables and animal flesh being equally distributed for consumption by all members of the clan, regardless of which individual used his or her tool to acquire the roots, nuts, vegetables or animal flesh. There was therefore no 'exchange'.
This economy, of food getting, was not 'communalism' in the sense of common ownership of the productive forces, which is the objective of proletarian communistic revolution, but only with regard to distribution of acquired means of subsistence. because each one directly manufactured his or her own blade technology and directly appropriated the food.
The economy of internal 'exchange' was reciprocity, developed as knowledge and technology enabled the clans to manufacture of spears, and bows and arrows engendering a sexual division of labor, men hunted, similar to packs of wild dogs in concern, and women raised the children, similar to Chimpanzees today, and were the mistresses of the hearth.
"The word horticulture comes from "hoe culture" and refers to farming with simple tools and without deep plowing. A short-handled--and later a long-handled--type of hoe works well to break up soil and chop out the worst of weeds. Horticulture is much more likely to be the farming system used by women." http://members.aol.com/peterow/p3Neo1.htm
"The Neolithic or New Stone Age (7 to 10,000 years ago) pertains to a stage of culture following the Paleolithic and is characterized by the use of polished stone implements, development of permanent dwellings, cultural advances such as pottery making, domestication of animals and plants, the cultivation of grain and fruit trees, and weaving (Fig. 3-2). The change from hunting/gathering to primitive farming appears so abrupt in the that technological change is often characterized as the Neolithic Revolution. The discovery of smelting and the creation of bronze tools has given the name Bronze Age to the Late Neolithic period." http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/history/lecture03/lec03.html
It only became 'exchange' in the modern sense of alienation of
property, by barter, and later the market, with the development of
animal herding, and horticulture which are characteristic of the
Neolithic economies. It was during this period, beginning with
horticulture and into agriculture that clans merged to meet the
labor demanded, into tribes.
Human so-called 'civilization', can be attributed to writing, art, the wheel, or whatsoever you like. It actually arose with the production of their means of subsistence, conditioned by the information learned, and passed on regarding agriculture and animal husbandry, worked by the tools developed, evolved, and used for these purposes.
"Of the industrial achievements of this stage, two are particularly important. The first is the loom, the second the smelting of metal ores and the working of metals. Copper and tin and their alloy, bronze, were by far the most important. Bronze provided serviceable tools and weapons, though it could not displace stone tools; only iron could do that, and the method of obtaining iron was not yet understood. Gold and silver were beginning to be used for ornament and decoration, and must already have acquired a high value as compared with copper and bronze. The increase of production in all branches - cattle-raising, agriculture, domestic handicrafts - gave human labor-power the capacity to produce a larger product than was necessary for its maintenance. At the same time it increased the daily amount of work to be done by each member of the gens, household community or single family. It was now desirable to bring in new labor forces. War provided them; prisoners of war were turned into slaves. With its increase of the productivity of labor, and therefore of wealth, and its extension of the field of production, the first great social division of labor was bound, in the general historical conditions prevailing, to bring slavery in its train. From the first great social division of labor arose the first great cleavage of society into two classes: masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited."
I must stop here. Next I will address the question of feudalism, and commodity production by wageworkers starting in towns and with international trade spread throughout kingdoms, challenging the feudal mode of wealth (land and luxuries) and appropriation of serfs, and their relations of production.
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