Non-capitalist societies

Discussions regarding actual culture and history of Earth.
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Avjunza
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Re: Non-capitalist societies

Post by Avjunza » Mon 02 Dec 2013, 03:37

Now I'm flaming this thread almost as much as your war over the definition of capitalism.

I mean Fucking Hell, guys, he's asking about Non-Capitalist Societies, not about Capitalism, nor about your personal political beliefs.

If a Moderator could do their job and clean up this thread, that'd be nice.
Last edited by Avjunza on Thu 05 Dec 2013, 05:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Xing
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Re: Non-capitalist societies

Post by Xing » Mon 02 Dec 2013, 05:01

Avjunza wrote:, he's asking about Non-Capitalist Societies, not about Capitalism
But you can't know what non-X is, unless you know what X is.

Otherwise, I largely agree with Sal's posts in this thread.
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Xonen
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Re: Non-capitalist societies

Post by Xonen » Mon 02 Dec 2013, 13:13

Avjunza wrote:Motherfucking cuntsuckers!

Now I'm flaming this thread almost as much as your war over the definition of capitalism.
what
If a Moderator could do their job and clean up this thread, that'd be nice.
It's very much not our job to "clean" threads of stuff you personally don't like or understand. If a discussion goes way off-topic, I could split it off into a different thread - but that hasn't happened here. As Xing said, having a definition of "capitalism" is kind of necessary here.
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Avjunza
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Re: Non-capitalist societies

Post by Avjunza » Thu 05 Dec 2013, 05:10

A definition is nice, a bunch of people arguing over their slightly different versions is not.

Productive discussion ended on this thread a while back, and I was trying to point that out.

I like how you're leaving my blatant flaming up all the same, though. Really proves that it's not your job.
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Xonen
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Re: Non-capitalist societies

Post by Xonen » Thu 05 Dec 2013, 15:38

Avjunza wrote:A definition is nice, a bunch of people arguing over their slightly different versions is not.
I'd say the differences are significant enough that they have serious implications for what the answer to the original question should be.
Productive discussion ended on this thread a while back
We'll just have to agree to disagree on that. (Or well, at this point, I might be inclined to agree, but only because nobody has actually continued the original discussion since your first post.)
I like how you're leaving my blatant flaming up all the same, though. Really proves that it's not your job.
I would understand a flame as a personal insult; your bizarre outburst there seemed to be directed at no-one in particular and you specifically pointed out that you were only doing it to make a point. Which makes it fairly harmless (although I suppose it could sort of count as trolling, if you insist). I found it baffling more than anything.

And no, it's not my job. The only stuff we're automatically supposed to delete without prior warning is spam*. The policy of this board is to keep things public instead of giving moderators the ability to make stuff just disappear on a whim. If you've got a problem with that, feel free to complain to Aszev about it.

*) Exceptionally blatant violations of the rules might get the same treatment in some cases, but only if the offense is serious enough to also warrant an instant permanent ban. In such a situation, the board might be better off pretending the user never existed. Fortunately, we haven't often had to consider that course of action, nor do I get the feeling you're trying to make that happen here.
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Avjunza
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Re: Non-capitalist societies

Post by Avjunza » Fri 06 Dec 2013, 08:20

In that case, let's try again.


Does anyone have any information about Non-Capitalist Societies, using any of the definitions on the first page?
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Re: Non-capitalist societies

Post by chris_notts » Wed 05 Feb 2014, 19:30

Avjunza wrote: Does anyone have any information about Non-Capitalist Societies, using any of the definitions on the first page?
I think you already had some pointers on where to look on the first page. Let's go back to Sal's possible definitions:
1. Systems are less capitalist when more productive resources are owned by communities. One may in this sense say that communal cults and Soviets are not very capitalist, nor societies where land cannot be owned by individuals.
Almost any group of hunter-gatherers would satisfy this definition of non-capitalist.

Depending on your definition of "owned by the community", most feudal societies may also count, since in (agricultural) feudal societies land, the primary means of production, is either not a tradeable commodity or is so in only a very limited sense. Farmers exchange service to the lord for access to land, and the lord exchanges military service to the king in exchange for control of the land. Many ancient states were structured in this way.
2. Systems are less capitalist when it is less possible to freely exchange privately owned goods and labour through a common medium of exchange. One may in this sense say that barter economies are not very capitalist, nor systems where labour is directed and goods allotted by command, or by assignment.
There are a vast number of historical societies where either no common currency exists, or the currency that does exist is restricted to specific goods and therefore not a general means of exchange. The existence of a general purpose currency often goes hand-in-hand with the existence of a large state, since as the state gets larger and more complex the difficulty of directly coordinating everything so everyone gets the right goods and services becomes more difficult. Complex accounting encourages people to pick a standard unit to count everything in, and then to create tokens which represent those units. Therefore, societies that exist outside a large unified state are the best candidates for being non-capitalist under this definition.
3. Systems are less capitalist when ownership of productive resources is less concentrated within a discrete class. One may in this sense say that a society in which there is there is little distinction between owners and workers but each is the owner of their own capital, and interdependent upon yet free from the coercion of others is less capitalist.
These conditions generally prevail under a few obvious circumstances:

1. Low levels of capital in general and/or small-scale society with a lack of means to enforce highly unfair distributions (hunter-gatherers, perhaps small-scale farming villages)
2. Conquest of a new area or expansion of an existing state which produces highly distributed ownership of capital (usually land). Over time some get ahead at the expense of others and a more skewed distribution of ownership appears.
4. Systems are less capitalist when social advancement through the pursuit of profit is primarily focuses upon commodity arbitrage, rather than through increasing the efficiency of commodity production. One may in this sense say that mediaeval mercantilism, where money was made by moving goods from one place to another reflecting natural imbalances in price, is less capitalist.
Almost any economic system before the modern age. Bear in mind that technological progress, information transmission and trading patterns changed at a glacial pace for much of recorded history. An economic system that changes very slowly doesn't tend to see people managing to rapidly increase the efficiency of commodity production and get rich as consequence.
5. Systems are less capitalist when the pursuit of profit through the exchange of goods is more greatly hindered and obstructed by rules, norms and values that are not themselves justified by the value of profit (i.e. a law against theft is not anti-capitalist, because it can be justified as necessary to allow greater profit in the long run, whereas a law against prostitution probably is anti-capitalist, since there is no good economic justification for it). One may in this sense say that systems in which economic decisions are frequently made for non-economic decisions - such as the Catholic prohibition of usury or the stigmatisation of 'trade' in the British class system - are less capitalist.
Again, this would be most pre-Modern societies I think.
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