Re: Indigenous Greed?

ray scupin (scupin@LC.LINDENWOOD.EDU)
Tue, 7 Mar 1995 12:33:36 -0600

the lack of indigenous greed is that we lack a precise definition of
"greed." Is it only based on economic or environmental exploitation? What
about the slave trade among the Northwest Coast Native Americans, or slavery in
precontact Africa or the Islamic slave trade? I would agree that these
forms of slavery were different from the European induced types.
Nevertheless they did have substantial negative consequences for many.

Can you deny the precapitalist power mongering of the dynastic kingdoms
of Pre-Columbian Americans, precapitalist African chiefdoms and empires....
Islamic and Asian dynastic imperial expansions, etc.

Obviously "greed" is not just self interest in your view, because you
admit that these precapitalist societies wanted to take care of themselves,
their families, and their communities. {However, I can see a sociobiologist
who would weigh in now and argue that these moral economies represent a form
of inclusive fitness strategies enabling families to perpetuate their genes,

Did precapitalistic peoples pursue power? Is this a form of greed?

I think that we need to clarify what we mean by this term. It
obviously includes a rapacious desire for more than one needs or
deserves....but desire for what???

Ray Scupin
Sociology/Anthropology Dept.
Lindenwood College
209 S. Kingshighway
St. Charles, MO 63301
314-949-4730 (Office)
314-949-9244 (Home)
314-949-4910 (Fax)

Not chaos-like, together crushed and bruised,
But, as the world harmoniously confused:
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree

Alexander Pope