The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves

Faced with a peasantry that didn’t feel like playing the role of slave, philosophers, economists, politicians, moralists and leading business figures began advocating for government action. Over time, they enacted a series of laws and measures designed to push peasants out of the old and into the new by destroying their traditional means of self-support.“The brutal acts associated with the process of stripping the majority of the people of the means of producing for themselves might seem far removed from the laissez-faire reputation of classical political economy,” writes Perelman. “In reality, the dispossession of the majority of small-scale producers and the construction of laissez-faire are closely connected, so much so that Marx, or at least his translators, labeled this expropriation of the masses as ‘‘primitive accumulation.’’

Source: The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves

Update: Jan 29, 2017

How did so many of us, Homo sapiens, quite late in our species history, come to live in sedentary heaps of people, grain, and domesticated animals and governed by units we call states? And what was the relationship between these polities and those remained outside their control? The earliest agrarian states were small and fragile. More people lived outside them than within. They were subject to internal fracture, abandonment, and raiding—both sporadic and systematic. They also represented valuable trade depots that enhanced the exchange value of products from non-state ecologies. The result was, for a time at least, what one might call a “golden age of barbarians.”

James C. Scott is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is Director of the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has held grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, Science, Technology and Society Program at M.I.T., and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism. He is currently teaching Agrarian Studies and Rebellion, Resistance and Repression.

Recent publications include “Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed”, Yale University Press, 1997; “Geographies of Trust: Geographies of Hierarchy,” in Democracy and Trust, 1998; “State Simplifications and Practical Knowledge,” in People’s Economy, People’s Ecology, 1998 and “The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia” (Yale Press, 2009). Source: https://www.soas.ac.uk/politics/

Indian Reforestation Hero Planted Assam’s Molai Forest

How did it all start? Three decades ago, the tribal teenager named Molai had found a large number of dead snakes, killed by the harsh heat after a spate had washed them onto the bare Majuli Island sandbar. (Incidentally, the Brahmaputra’s Majuli happens to be the largest river island in the world.) The event had a strong emoptional impact on the boy. Realizing that the snakes had does becaise there was no shade in which to hide from the severe sunchine, Molai planted two dozen bamboo seedlings on the sandbar, to provide shade. Then, in 1979, the social forestry office of the state’s Golaghat District launched a tree plantation effort on 200 hectares at Aruna Chapori. [In India, the term “social forestry” refers to the afforestation of treeless land or the restocking of depleted forests by engaging the common classes of the population in such work. – EcoRama.] Molai immediately signed up for this project, which went on for five years, and worked tirelessly on it for its entire duration. When the project was finished and other workers left, he decided to stay and keep working, although the effort was officially over. He kept planting more trees, striving to transform the entire area into a dense, pristine tropical woodland.

Source: Indian Reforestation Hero Planted Assam’s Molai Forest

Why Tribal Societies Work: An Introduction

The more we learn about hunter-gatherers, the more we realize that the cultural beliefs surrounding modern market capitalism do not reflect universal “human nature.” Assumptions about human behavior that members of market societies believe to be universal, that humans are naturally competitive and acquisitive, and that social stratification is natural, do not apply to many hunter-gatherer peoples. The dominant school of economic theory in the industrialized world, neoclassical economics, holds these attributes to be essential for economic advancement and affluence. It is true that hunter-gatherer societies show a wide variety of patterns of culture, some less egalitarian and some less “affluent” in Sahlins’ (1972) use of the term. Yet the very existence of societies living adequately, even happily, with no industry, no agriculture, and few material possessions offers a challenge to the concept of human nature held by most economists.

Source: Why Tribal Societies Work: An Introduction

 

Militarization Perpetuates Poverty in Remote Indigenous Communities

Bangibang said all these gains became possible because of the people’s revolutionary efforts which strengthened tribal unity and consolidation, within the framework of the long and arduous struggle for self-determination and national liberation.

“The problem is, militarization is trying to destroy these gains,” Bangibang said.

The successful villages were targeted by soldiers, who put up military detachments. Leaders were then summoned and threatened to stop their activities. The rice cooperatives were branded as “NPA food suppliers,” and its members were harassed and forced to “clear their names.” They were told to surrender to the military and join the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu).

“Sariling kayod ng mamamayan, naabot nila dahil sa unity, tapos sisirain,” Bangibang lamented.

In both Oplan Bantay Laya and Oplan Bayanihan – the counterinsurgency programs of the Arroyo and Aquino regimes, respectively – indigenous peoples (IP) were targeted as part of the “IP-centric approach.” Bangibang said the military views them as a natural base of strength of revolutionaries, not only because of their mountain homes, but mainly because of their inherent collective spirit.

But even as the revolutionary influence enhanced this unity and even helped remove negative aspects such as tribal wars, the military targeted indigenous people for recruitment as soldiers or paramilitary to sow conflict and break the community, he said.

Source: Agrarian revolution in Cordillera – Bulatlat

The problem with “clean energy” is the same problem with “dirty energy”

It’s time to pour our creative power into imagining a new global economy – one that maximizes human well-being while actively shrinking our ecological footprint. This is not an impossible task. A number of countries have already managed to achieve high levels of human development with very low levels of consumption. In fact Daniel O’Neill, an economist at the University of Leeds, has demonstrated that even material de-growth is not incompatible with high levels of human well-being.

Source: Clean energy won’t save us – only a new economic system can – Local Futures

TransforMap: for projects that document commons based resources

TransforMap works towards an online-platform for you to visualize the myriads of alternatives to the dominant economic thinking on a single mapping system. It will give everybody the opportunity to map all the initiatives, communities, projects, worker-owned, self-managed, democratically organised companies and other institutions dedicated to meeting people’s needs, serving the common good and/or contributing to a sustainable way of life.

Open Map is an open source foundation for a variety of cartographic purposes. For this proect, the focus is on mapping commons ecosystems in a local region.

Source: Project Of The Day: TransforMap | P2P Foundation

Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.

You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

You should mention anything you have learned from your target.

Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

Source: How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently