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Title:The economics of violence: On the relations between power structures and economic systems
Author(s):Brun, Michael Joram
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ferber, Marianne A.
Department / Program:Economics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Economics, General
Political Science, General
Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Abstract:This thesis examines force as a means of acquiring goods and services. Anthropological evidence indicates that resource scarcities and human wants do not suffice to dictate that economic activity be as intense as it appears in most modern societies. The use of force for exploiting the labor of others can lead to intensification of economic activity beyond what might be predicted from environmental conditions. Even more activity is needed to construct and maintain a social apparatus that regularizes the relations between producers and exploiters and also defends it from other exploiters. Tribute societies are discussed to explore the basic dynamics of violence. Slave societies are discussed with attention given to the supervisory, eventually bureaucratic middle layer between producers and exploiters arising with exploitative intervention in production. Gaining control over production rather than just over products gives exploiters essential competitive advantages. Capitalist societies are discussed to develop the intricacies of power and institutional structure. It is shown that power depends on a complex of trust, fear, and other forms of knowledge to maintain solidarity within groups and distinction between groups. The economic structure of enterprises, banks, etc. is not distinct from this power structure; rather the two structures are intertwined. Hence, like most others, economic institutions serve a number of purposes simultaneously, and in general do not optimize the attainment of any single purpose. For the same reason, attention to individual rationality can be shown to be insufficient--too reductionist--to explain macroeconomic phenomena. A sufficiently stable and understood political order is essential to the development of relevant macroeconomic theory and policy.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Brun, Michael Joram
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236401
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236401

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