As consumers and as laborers to a lesser extent as

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as consumers and as laborers, to a lesser extent as capitalists (investors) - ever greater connections, flows of wealth, people, goods between different places and cultures around the globe - obviously, all capitalist societies are not identical - but they all share certain features that make them capitalist - like any culture, capitalist cultures are comprised of - roles (categories of people) - and rules (for how members of a category behave) - specifically, capitalist cultures involve - the role of “consumer” - who buys and accumulates goods in order to attain happiness
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Intro to Cultural Anthro F 2011 / Owen: Globalization p. 5 - the role of “capitalist” - who invests wealth in any way that makes a profit - the role of “laborer” - who work as much and as hard as possible for an employer - in exchange for as much payment as they can get - not as part of their social identity and obligations to kin… - but in a commercial workplace with little or no social relationship between the laborer and the employer - these are arbitrary cultural constructs - not necessary features of human society, even though they almost seem so to us - none of these roles exist among foragers, or among many pre-capitalist farmers - think of the different ways that exchange and consumption are constructed by - Trobriand Islanders engaging in kula exchange – they are not acting as consumers or capitalists - New Guineans practicing moka or Northwest Coast Native Americans practicing potlatch - these roles and rules of behavior had to… - develop over time (historically) - be taught to people as part of the process of enculturation , or learning and adopting a culture - there has been a lot of study of the historical development of capitalism and the three main social roles in capitalism, which we can’t cover here - the development of the role of consumer involved - advertising, how retail stores operate, government policies, changes in childrearing practices, changes in religious theology, and much more - the development of the role of the laborer involved - converting much of the world’s populace from largely self-supporting farmers to a landless workforce of wage laborers - through - explicit government policies like “enclosure” in England - the effect of partible inheritance as population grows, - the effect of credit in which small farmers cannot survive a run of bad years and have to sell their land to large commercial farmers in order to pay back their loans - competition in which small self-supporting farmers cannot produce cheaply enough to compete with large, commercial farmers… and so on - the development of the role of the capitalist involved - a shift from making wealth by ownership of farmland - to mercantilism : using wealth to finance import of materials and export of manufactured products - supported by imperialism : using government-backed force to control natural resources, labor, etc. in foreign places - and to maintain monopolies that guarantee enough consumers - to capitalism: using wealth to create more efficient means of production such as factories
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