More on the fishing tribe

Some more on the fishing tribe model.

A fishing tribe finds itself fortuitously on the banks of a river well endowed with fish.

Someone in the tribe, with the help of like minded individuals, can lay claim to the banks of the river and its produce, and enforce this claim by main force.

Now we have to remember that the ultimate force in this setup is wielded by the collective force of all adults in the tribe.

Somehow, the self appointed “king” with the assistance of his henchmen, can lay claim to sole usage of the productive resources, and can exact tribute from the rest of the tribe. What he can do is allocate a set of people to fishing, who will turn over their entire produce to him as tribute. He will then share his tribute with his henchmen, thus keeping them happy. This is the tributary model of economic activity.

Rosa Luxemburg in her book “The Accumulation of Capital” sends us to the ethnological research of Francis James Gillen (1855-1912) on aboriginal tribes in Australia. It would be interesting to learn how early hunter gatherer societies were politically organised, and how with settlement in neolithic agricultural modes, class distinctions crept in. This is on the to do list.


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