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Re: [ox-en] Re: [ox-en] Re: [ox-en] Re: [ox-en] built-in infinite growth (was: Re:Meaning ofmarkets, scarcity, abundance)

Hi Gregers,

thanks for your expert contributions ...

I have one question: I remember reading, probably 2 dozen years ago at least, that the potlach tradition was described as actually having as aim the destruciton of the surplus, so that no permanent class of privilege could be created.

In your message, you say that this belongs to the obscene 'phase', and is in fact a pathology?

How did it destroy "all production"?

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----- Original Message ----
From: Gregers Petersen <gp.ioa>
To: list-en
Sent: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 2:56:11 PM
Subject: Re: [ox-en] Re: [ox-en] Re: [ox-en] Re: [ox-en] built-in infinite growth (was: Re:Meaning ofmarkets, scarcity, abundance)

Dmytri Kleiner wrote:

My understanding is that it was often competative, indicating

had to be given more than was received in the previous cycle, or else
status (and potentially power and even life) was lost. To be

give more than you received was a disgrace that a chief could

and of course the source of the wealth in the exchange was not

exclusively, but rather appropriated surplus production.

The element of direct competition (e.g. burning of more blankets etc.) 
did in reality not take form before after the potlatch itself

'obscene' - and the element of "competition" is not necessarily tied

that more has to be given. It is quite complex, the reality of the 
exchange-cycle, then what is the value-scale everything is being 
weighted on? You'r very quickly weaving yourself into a line of 
functional/materialistic thoughts, and to me it just seems that you 
constantly assume that "money" is already there (as underlying value 
system, and way of indentifying valuables).

Appropriated surplus production: Not really, resources where given to 
the chief which in the obscene form ended with destroying all 
production. So in this sense it becomes difficult to talk


In the case when you'r using ethnographic/empirical examples - and 
building your analysis on them - you should probably try look a little 
closer at the complexities of life (and the reality that a lot of 
thoughts have gone into this issue since Mauss wrote 'the gift').

  Allusions to don't help. "consensus
among anthropologist
say this or that" is a form of the special pleading fallacy, not an
argument that can help us
understand the issue.

I was just stating that a very large body of individuals had spend

of empirical research time and analytical work on the subject of

- including a very long discussion of the kula vs. money aspect

influenced by marxist materialistic approaches in the 60's and 70's).

think it is needed to accept this fact, and not continue with a simple 

One of the most recent examples is Susanne Kuehling: Dobu. Ethics of 
exchange on a Massim island, Papua New Guinea.
This is a wonderful book, and I personally really like the author.

When it comes to the aspect of 'pleading fallacy' - I'm an 
anthropologist by trade, and you can either accept that

'know shit' when it comes to the intrigate details of such a subject

'kula' and take a much more detailed look at what this accumulated 
knowledge intails - or you can pull the "pleading fallacy card"


Then what is the basis for your doubt?

The empirical examples you'r refering to are far to simplified,

pulls me away from the points your trying to bring across.
I'm probably also not really into these meta-explanations .....


Gregers Petersen
Anthropologist, Ph.d fellow
Department of Organization
Copenhagen Business School
Kilen, Kilevej 14A, 4.
DK - 2000 Frederiksberg
(+45) 3815 2811
Skype: gregers.ioa
Jabber: glp

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