Changes to Capitalism Essay examples

Submitted By sarah_evelynn
Words: 1322
Pages: 6

Although capitalism has only been around for two short centuries, it has vastly changed the way that society functions from the pre-capitalist era of economics. The world has taken a trip to a completely different way of working and functioning through what is just for people, what commodities are and the way people use their resources. The first major economic system that is traceable is that of the primitive economies, the early eras of society. Human behavior has evolved along with the rest of the world and how people act is directly responsible to what time period that they lived in and how they changed economics. First, in primitive economics, the main driving force was having enough supplies to survive and to strengthen communal bonds through cooperation of the tribe. During this time period resources and material wealth were largely shared with all members of the community to support reciprocity, everyone had equal income and would preform tasks for each other. Along with reciprocity, the chief or shaman sometimes redistributed goods for fairness and there was a division of labor. According to Polanyi, “Division of labor, a phenomenon as old as society, springs from differences inherent in the facts of sex, geography and individual endowment” (1957). This division consisted of women being the gatherers of fruits and vegetables for the community, and men doing all of the hunting and fishing. Through success of society with hunting and gathering, stone tools and collective decision making, the world transformed to the Greco-Roman Slave economy.
The Greco-Roman Slave time in economics was one of the first to have classes and lead to improvements in tools, farming and herding. This ultimately lead to a surplus creating classes and major concerns of maintaining the military and political might of the city-state. As Hunt stated, “The basic economic institution of medieval rural life was the manor, which contained within it two separate and distinct classes: noblemen, or lords of the manors, and serfs” (2003). Because the justification for slavery was that it was “natural” (Hunt, 2003) the slaves preformed all of the agricultural and craft labor on large plantations with iron and bronze tools, while allowing the upper class to be free from labor and participate in politics and warfare. This time led to rapid technological progress because people were specialized in the improvement of instruments and production. This time was full of naturalization, elitism and racism but also led to the of creation of cities and ultimately brought the world to Feudalism. Feudalism brought a time filled with the continuation of society, merchants, trade and manufacturing. The focus of this time was maintaining the way of life, leading to little to no innovation because the ideal was that growth meant change and change was harmful to the sustainability and stability of the manor and town. In this time manors became self-sufficient participating in householding, production for one’s own use (Polanyi, 1957), along with the emergence of merchants and trade for military and luxury goods. The serfs could be maintained by lords or knights and were legally bound to the lord and his estate. They had labor obligations to the lord, but in return were provided protection and justice. Lords often set prices on the commodities from their manors, which led to the formation of craft guilds and the Christian Paternalist Ethic.
During this era the Christian Paternalist Ethic had an important role of supporting the hierarchical structure of feudalism, and making sure those higher would fulfill their obligations and responsibilities to those lower than them. The Christian Paternalist Ethic ‘protected’ the society from “the dangers of greed, love of material things and acquisition of wealth” (Hunt, 2003) by having craft guilds ensure that the price is ‘just’ to the merchant and the consumer. These were enforced in the markets and with manufacturing