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 Formation of Societies, take two

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Darkgamma
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PostSubject: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:56 pm

(note: this one might have missed stuff previously said and might appear incoherent; if incoherent, you're free to ask this one to explain)
So, reading the previous thread has left me rather disappointed.
The most primitive society we can have is the nuclear family, and those societies are the building blocks of other, more complex ones. I say that formation of societies goes by this continuum:

nuclear family > extended family > kin > tribe

This is the essence of formation of our societies, too.
This scale is linked with organisation of labour, division of wealth, stratification and conflict with authority. Watch:

In a nuclear family, the family head is the one with most authority, although its opposite-gender counterpart holds some sway. When they have children, the children become another element in the family's power dynamic. Over time, children supplant their parents as the dominant power in the nuclear family; things get messy when one involves multiple siblings, twins et cetera.
Now, for the power dynamic to make sense, one must figure out what are the limits to becoming the head of a family and being the top dawg in the familial power dynamic. These limits are known as succession rules - gender and age rules which determine how power passes to others without the inclusion of an acute and dynamic upheaval in the power dynamic instead of a non-artificial replacement.
The gender rules are locality and linearity. Locality means transfer of living location of one partner to another partner's location, in a static non-nomadic lifestyle, while linearity means tracing of lineage according to either parent.
The age rules govern the age bracket in which the successor to an old power must be. These can be primogeniture, ultimogeniture and electivity. Primogeniture transfers the nominal power to the first-born eligible descendant, ultimogeniture to the last-born one, while electivity is the power of choosing the successor.
When power transfers to the head of family's sibling, things delve into extended family territory.

These two rules combined make up the core of every society. Things can only get more complex from that point, so no need in explaining it here.

Within two or three generations, one might acquire several cousins and distant kin, thus stepping into the territory of extended family. This is the lowest possible independent society that can evolve out of genetic relations. Extended families are pluricentric societies and can be very volatile. The lines of nuclear, close and distant kinship get blurred and the definitions and boundaries of nuclear families change by viewpoints.
Each nuclear family has its own head within the extended family, but the extended family itself has a head of its own. Here we see the formation of cadet and main branches of families, where the head of extended family's head's family is the main branch, while the other families are called cadets.
In the extended family, power becomes more of a formality and is defined by respect rather than actual power.
The same succession applies as above, but now not only is power involved, but inventory as well.
Each of the families will have its own possessions, and the more the family grows the less the possessions will be shared. Here we see inheritance laws, which are quite simmilar to the earlier mentioned succession rules, except that they [a] deal with possession now and [b] are seperate from power in the dynamic.
In the extended family, the actual head of the family might not hold much inventory, but can have tremendous say and respect. His possessions may be split amongst his eligible successors (this is called gavelkind), but only one will still be the head of the family.
The new concepts introduced at this stage are the division of inheritance and castes. Division of inheritance can be total = undivided and divisible. One type of divisible succession is the gavelkind I mentioned, which involves the split-up of inventory amongst successors. Total inheritance can have multiple targets - it can target one's children, but can also target one's siblings, uncles or aunts etc. One example of this is the medieval Russian rota inheritance system, where succession is passed to one's direct closest sibling and every sibling moves up the ladder one step (kind of like the feudal version of musical chairs). If one doesn't have children, property will most commonly be split amongst siblings, uncles etc (rising progressively as one lacks more and more of the relatives).

A kin is (in my terms) a set of extended families that trace their descent from one common ancestor. Here we get a new level of organisation, when there are multiple extended families, each with its own head, but all being under one (main) extended family where the head of the family is also the head of the kin. Same as above, except on a grander scale.

The last step is the coming together of several kins (two and above) or several families where they organise into a tribe that has castes, divisions of wealth and labour. Some family or kin might have more power than other, some profession might bring in more food or more of a currency, but more on that later.

-----------------------------

Why do things progress this way?
Well, the most simple and inadequate reason is "food".
To expand on that, people came together to better provide food for themselves. All ancient societies we know came from the most rudimetary tribes that banded to acquire food and better life quality in general.
The formation of kins leads to agriculture, and agriculture transforms hunter-gatherer communities into agricultural, organised societies. Ancient Egyptians started off like this, ancient Mesopotamians started off like this, the Zapotek, Romans, Celts started off like this. It needs to be said that we don't have a single organised community bigger than a tribe that didn't come from agriculture - Australian Aboriginees, North American Indians, Amazonians, Berbers, not one of those societies practise organised agriculture, but neither do they have anything beyond the most basic of societies (read that with a grain of salt).
It takes time for a society do develop, sure, but as soon as the society goes beyond basic kinship, it becomes an organised force. Religion plays a role in this - it gives the ruling class legitimacy to rule over those with whom they aren't related to. All the early petty kings said they had divine authority to rule, from Egyptian god-kings, to Mesopotamian god-kings, to Chinese godgiven-emperors - each and every one of them claimed divine authority. Even the mythological Roman kings claimed to be related to the gods, and the Japanese emperors still claim descent from Amateratsu, the sun goddess. Only later in the society's development do the rulers begin to distance themselves from divinity, when the Swedish pagan kings of the 11th century claimed no relation to the gods but were the high priests at Gamla Uppsala, the biggest pagan temple in northern Europe, to the modern kings and queens that claim no divine authority.
Kings, in the beginning, were simply the elder men and women who ordered people around to the fields, but soon the societies began mingling and interacting with others.
So, money.
What is money?
Modern money was, up until some dozens of years ago, pieces of paper and iron and nickel that were supposed to be worth something. This money is fiat money; it evolved into the digital money of paypal and credit cards we have now.
Some centuries ago, money was lumps of precious metals beat, cast or etched into an approximately coin-shaped form. Most money was gold and silver coins, although some societies used different metal and the highest of merchant classes used bars and ingots.
As we go back, we see that an organised monetary system is almost always only found in super-tribal societies, and many societies even lacked a monetary system even though they were quite advanced - ancient Egypt didn't use any coinage up until the Late Dynastical period (around 500 years before Christ; the first definitive organised coinage was of Nekhtanebo, who lived 150 years after the date I provided), although they used a system of payment in grain instead. What the ancient Egyptians did use before coinage was essentially a banter system.
Banter. That's the basis of all pre-monetary trade, and certainly what the eldest societies used. The trade system was based on demand and supply, but was more risky than today: today, money is always in demand and goods are measured for supply, but earlier, the demand was in actual goods and supply in other goods, which gives us a two-way system; each of the supplies has its own demand in the area of origin of the other supply. Money came up due to trade in precious metals, since they were always in low supply and high in demand. The reason ancient Egypt didn't have a money system is that they didn't have any neighbour which actively traded with them and had a supply of precious metals they didn't have - ancient Egypt was drowning in gold, and the very first monetary system came about as a result of trading with the Pashtun for silver.
Money gradually evolved from simple chunks of metal, to gold/silver coins, to plated coins (the likes of which we see in ancient Rome), to fiat.


-------

I feel I left something out, but this is a good enough representation of how societies came about to be. I skipped over writing as it isn't really related to the development of societies.
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Daniferrito
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:34 pm

Great work Darkgamma. I would like to note one thing, through.

When a society (any scale of society) is ruled by one person, this person's "opposite-gender counterpart" not necessarly has any extra power. Mostly polygamyc societys. In this case, the male is usually the one with many females and power, and the females can have some extra power, but usually they dont. When monogamy is present, or there is a main female, it usually has extra power.

Im speaking about the male being dominant because usually takes the female more time to be ready for a children again than it takes the male to be ready to fertilize again.

However, from a programmer perspective, most of this things could be a pain to implement. Mostly the possesions thing, and the power relationships. Transactions are easier, as we can assign an invisible value to the goods (processed or raw compounds) depending on its demand and suply and calculate the change rate from there.
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:11 pm

I have to agree with Dani here it's a good idea but too difficult to put into the game
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:18 pm

Polygamy and gradation of partners is something even further complicated, and the source of much woe and fratricide in the muslim world. I didn't write about it due to that.

I agree that it might be too complex, especially the fuzzy relationships, but I simply wanted to show how things should be in an optimal state and how they should optimally develop. Optimally, in this case, isn't what we can do but what we strive to do
Female dominance is indeed rarer due to conception, but females are often dominant in animal groups, and are so in some human ones too.
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:25 pm

yes your right about the female dominance in animals. So how about putting a matriarch in for most nuclear familys if we did your extended grouping idea
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:31 pm

A matriarch would just mean matrilocality, thus the grupation of extended families around the home of a mother and males wandering off when the clan is too small.
Females picking males would be a total paradigm shift compared to what we have now, and would consequently mean a slightly denser population organisation, less complex organisation of power but a more rigid division of labour.
Would also mean that endemic rather than acute warfare would be the norm.
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:37 pm

Well, i wasnt saying that males must have the power, but that in a case of polygamy, the male has many females. And the next logical step is the men ruling. I suppose a dominant female is possible, even the male having many females, but it would be too strange.
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Darkgamma
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:37 pm

Polyandry isn't unheard of.
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:41 pm

Daniferrito wrote:
Well, i wasnt saying that males must have the power, but that in a case of polygamy, the male has many females. And the next logical step is the men ruling. I suppose a dominant female is possible, even the male having many females, but it would be too strange.

just a thought what would happen if a female had many males?
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:43 pm

It is impossible unless the society is strongly matriarchial. In that case, the male line is totally disregarded, and only the female matters. Individual fathers cease to be relevant and group parentship forms. Generally only an addendum to what I gave above.
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:51 pm

i was just saying because if you can have one male with multiple females wouldn't vice versa be possible?
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:54 pm

It would be possible, but not in a society led by men.
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:56 pm

exactly my point what if the society wasn't led by men?
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:58 pm

Darkgamma wrote:
A matriarch would just mean matrilocality, thus the grupation of extended families around the home of a mother and males wandering off when the clan is too small.
Females picking males would be a total paradigm shift compared to what we have now, and would consequently mean a slightly denser population organisation, less complex organisation of power but a more rigid division of labour.
Would also mean that endemic rather than acute warfare would be the norm.
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:00 pm

not trying to be a bother but how would the warfare change?
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PostSubject: Re: Formation of Societies, take two   Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:35 am

Endemic, rather than acute.
This means that there would almost never be huge-scale wars, but most of the time it'd be small-scale conflicts without a rigidly organised armed force.
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