Economy • A set of culturally specific processes that members of a society use to provide themselves with material resources. Production, Distribution and Consumption Mode of Production • A specific, historically occurring set of social relations though which labour is deployed to wrest energy from nature by means of tools, skills, organization and knowledge. Means of Production • The tools, skills, organization, and knowledge used to extract energy from nature. Relations of Production • The social relations determining people’s access to the given means of production. Eric Wolf • 1) Kin-Ordered Mode of Production • 2) Tributary Mode of Production • 3) Capitalist Mode of Production Kin-ordered mode of production • In a kin-ordered mode of production, labour and resources are acquired primarily on the basis of reciprocity between people who are related by descent and marriage. Reciprocity • Reciprocity is the exchange of goods and services of equal value, involving an obligation both to give and to receive. Direct link between a society’s subsistence strategy and its social and political organization • For example, in societies ordered by a kin mode of production, social stratification is egalitarian, with no social classes or major economic differences between the different groups. Tributary Mode of Production • A mode of production occurring in societies with some degree of social stratification, where resources and labour are extracted from many producers by political domination. Zemindars • Chiefs of leading villages who held hereditary patrimonial rights to receive tribute form certain areas. English East India Company • Chartered by the government to pursue economic conquest in distant seas. Battle of Plassey = 1757 Immediate consequences of British occupation: • Ousted local governor • Stole 5 million pounds sterling from the state treasure of Bengal • Took over the rights of local merchant class • Set up a monopoly over export and import trade • Gained direct control over 10,000 weavers who were forced to deal exclusively with the East India Company • The East India Company became the official civil administration of Bengal • Introduction of two forms of property: landlordism and individual peasant proprietorship Under new forms of property: • Land became the property of registered tribute payers, who had to pay the taxes stipulated in return for private rights of ownership and inheritance. Taxes: • Fixed permanently, not affected by changes in price of produce or value of crops grown. • Payment had to be made to government whether or not crop was successful. Zemindars • Instead of having rights over people’s labour: transformed into property owners. • Required to turn over to the British administration nine-tenths of the tribute received from their peasants, retaining one-tenth for themselves. • New class of 3,000 landlords with right to sell, mortgage, and inherit land. • Could raise rent at leisure, and evict tenants. Right to exact tribute = converted into rights to private property • Increased tax burden ruined thousands of Bengali cultivators and artisans. • Reduction in agricultural incomes by 50%, undermining the agrarian economy and the self-governing village structure. Tribute • Covered cost of warfare and continuous British occupation. Land and tax reform • Used to reorient Indian agriculture toward the production of profitable commodities, e.g. raw cotton and opium. • Until end of 18th century, Indian textiles were a very important export product. • England began the process of industrialization, manufacturing textiles in large scale = Need to place commodities in international market. • Indian textiles were banned from British markets, at the same time that India was required to admit entry of English manufactures duty free. • Consequence = destruction of specialized Indian textile production, contributing to the de-industrialization of India. Capitalist mode-of-production • A) The means of production are property privately owned by the capitalist class; • B) Labourers do not own means of production. C) Production is intended to produce profit. D) Extensive division of labour. E) All factors of production and products are commodities. Exercise for party of 5: • Read section called “Institutionalized Sharing” in your textbook (pages 246-7) and compare and contrast Cree and capitalist attitudes toward sharing and individual accumulation.
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