No subject

Wed Jul 5 22:53:16 MDT 1995

with Novell_GroupWise; Wed, 05 Jul 1995 22:52:05 -0600
Message-Id: <sffb1795.078 at EMAIL.STATE.UT.US>
X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise 4.1
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 1995 22:50:55 -0600
To: marxism at
Subject:  individual/society/private property

We've seen this topic on the list a while back, but I'm sure there is
more to be said.  I don't think we got around to private property at
all yet.

Marquit's post provides enough provocation (and I mean that in the
nicest way) to get me started again!

Communal societies had not a problem with this?  How do you come to
that conclusion?  When and how did people begin private appropriation
of the products of others, in your view?

I'm interested not because these views are unusual to Marquit, but
because others seem to hold these views, which are sometimes
considered a very important part of Marxism.  Some folks may remember
my anthropological spiels in April, about the actual situation in
foraging societies.  [But I'm happy to do it again.]

What I think I have not mentioned about my own studies and work done
by colleagues is that we are actually addressing some questions about
private property, which are often taken for granted by other
anthropologists and economists.  People often say that foragers don't
have the modern capitalists' view of private property.  OK, yes, but
why?  Why or when or rather under what circumstances is it worthwhile
for someone to assert a private property claim?

I think this is a marx-compatible way of approaching the subject, but
I've never seen anybody do so, outside of us evolutionary/materialist
anthropologists.  Or some might think that to use a cost/benefit
logic to think about 'when people might claim private property' [or
to think about anything at all] is in itself capitalistic or
bourgois, or something bad (I've been told so before).  I claim that
c/b analysis is justified (theoretically grounded) by evolutionary
theory, and its usefulness in explanation is unsurpassed.

Any bites on these comments?


>>> <marquit at>  7/4/95, 08:20pm >>>
The question of the subordination of the individual to the
organization can only be resolved through the dialectical interaction
between the individual and society. Communal societies did not seem
to have had a problem with this. The individualism bred by private
appropriation of the product of labor of others really made this into
a number one problem. It requires a separate discussion on this
Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in further
discussions until the end of July, since I leave Thursday for a
three-week trip.
I'll be looking forward to rejoining the ranks after July 27.

Erwin Marquit

     --- from list marxism at ---


More information about the Marxism mailing list