Origins of Private Property -Reply -Reply -Reply

Mon Jul 31 17:47:48 MDT 1995

Now there is an anthropological chesnut - "pristine" societies vs.
those contaminated by contact with the outside world, especially
contact with capitalism.  In fact, it is not only herders and farmers
that may have long had contact with state societies, traders and
capitalists, but hunter-gatherers [H-G] too.

Usually this argument is used to say that living H-G and other
societies are not "pristine", i.e. they are not true examples of
ancient societies, frozen in time, unaffected by all others around
them.  Schrire and Wilmsen are known for using this argument to
assail all other students of H-G societies, but the critique is
entirely off the mark for me and my program.  We never claimed
anybody was "pristine" and furthermore we don't think that the lack
of it in any or all societies undermines or invalidates anything that
we do.

I'm curious, Jim, if you'd like to offer an explanation of just why
you are concerned about pristine-ness.  What is the problem in your
view, how does it affect an analysis of PP and how should it be


ps It is not clear what you mean by "prehistoric societies" - do you
really mean to refer to time scale, or certain modes of subsistence,
or what?

>>> Jim Jaszewski <ab975 at>  7/21/95

[snip] But I'd caution confusing those herding (and other) societies,
with a long history of interaction with more 'advanced' PP-type
societies, and those original 'pristine' ones...

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