Monday, April 23, 2007

Inka (pre-modern macro-) Economics

"A Network Analysis of Inka Roads, Administrative Centers, and Storage Facilities," by David Jenkins, University of Arizona, Ethnohistory 48.4 (2001) 655-687: .[Extract at Economist's View]

Been ruminating over this blog entry on macroeconomics in the ancient Incan (Inkan) state from Economist's View blogfor almost a week now.

It's like sitting down all by yourself at a banquet, there's a lot there to digest, so I'm going to digest it in serial blog entry fashion.

One might even argue that serial publishing in blogs could attack a subject in bite size increments better than a full blown paper does, a point pertinent to blogging and scholarship, perhaps.

Extract One:

Staple Finance and Wealth Finance

The Inka in the early fifteenth century were a chiefdom or perhaps an anomalous early state (Bauer 1992) of about twenty thousand people with a fairly simple social organization based on kinship ties and ruling hereditary chiefs. Initially their territory was limited, centered on what would become the city of Cuzco. Over the course of a hundred years, from about 1430 until the Spanish arrived in 1532, the Inka dramatically expanded their empire, incorporating by political maneuvering and outright conquest some eighty distinct polities into the Inka state. These conquered groups included other expansive empires, such as the highly socially stratified Chimu on the north coast, as well as small-scale states, chiefdoms, tribes, and autonomous communities scattered throughout the highlands.1

[This sounds a lot like the expansion of some states, especially the Burmese state, during roughly the same period, actually 1534-1581, versus the Inkan 1430-1532. The phrase "anomalous early state" indicates state-like features may have not been present. Will have to determine exactly what these are, since people have been using the notion of "state" in different ways for hundreds of years, something I address for Southeast Asian history in my recent paper. Of course, Peter Turchin at Cliodynamics has some great papers online that addresses the distinction between expansionary warfare and internal warfare (rebellion, revolt, uprising, insurgency), especially this paper.]