Monday, July 13, 2009

Uma revolução social no Neolítico? (II)

The site from which I've excerpted the above quotes (stripping out the numerous references to the archaeological literature) interprets this stone age classless and stateless society as communism. (Thanks to the latest issue of International Socialism for the pointer.) This may be controversial, but the archaeology is entirely mainstream, and there is no disagreement that the neolithic societies of ancient Anatolia, whose best-preserved site is Çatalhöyük, were very remarkable indeed.

um leitor comenta que:

I'm not sure I would apply the category of "communism." It could just as well be interpreted as a conflict between two different versions of private property: In English terms, the monopoly-grants version and the version favored by the Levellers.It sounds as if the key to the rich people's power was that they held stocks of vital raw materials, and denied the poor people access to them except on ruinous terms; and eventually the poor people got sick of this and overthrew the rich people. But how did the rich people maintain that monopoly in the first place? All right, it was over imported goods. Was it impossible for a poor person to accumulate some resources, and travel to where the goods are cheap, and bring some back, and undersell the rich people, in the classic cartel-breaking move? Well, it may have been if the rich people prohibited such expeditions. But such a prohibition would have to be maintained by force . . . and so you're talking about a state-controlled economy. And the antithesis of a state-controlled economy is not so much a communist one as a decentralized one. So maybe the nonoligarchic society that followed was communist, or maybe it was based on competitive markets, or maybe it even mixed the two. I'm not sure if we could tell at this great a remove. Though maybe some archaeologist is subtler than I am!

Isto é capaz de ser um problema geral de qualquer tentativa de deduzir estruturas sociais a partir apenas de escavações arqueológicas - é possivel, mais ou menos, ver como a riqueza estava distribuida, mas já não será assim tão fácil (só atravéz da arqueologia) perceber os mecanismos pelo qual a riqueza era distribuida.

Neste caso, é possível observar a transição de uma sociedade fortemente hierarquizada para uma sociedade sem diferenças significativas de riqueza e status; mas será que a primeira era uma economia assente na propriedade privada e a segunda uma economia comunista? Ou será que a primeira era uma economia "estatista" controlada por uma aristocracia e a segunda uma economia "liberal"? Provavelmente será impossível saber.

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