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Big Bad Voodoo

Mystery of the Inca Empire

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The Inca Empire may be the only advanced civilization in history to have no class of traders, and no commerce of any kind within its boundaries.

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A slave society: commerce is just one organising principle; fear is another. And to be fair, habit.

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I've thought it interesting that the Inca were a highland civilization, rather then a river/coastal civilization. The people seemed to prefer living up on the mountains rather then along the shoreline.

There was little trade, but lots of Tribute, as far as I remember. Conquered lands had to pay tax to the Inca, or face the army for rebellion.

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It is sad how we destroyed ourselves most of our human race history.

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Ive always loved reading up on the Incas. First did a school project on them in year seven, Been reading bits and pieces since.

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From what I recall from one university course I took the Incas had an economy on tribute and counter tribute. So say you lived in a town that grew a lot of potatoes but couldn't grow cotton. So you'd send a bag of potatoes as tribute to the government and they in turn would gift you with a bunch of cotton.

I've always found the Incas to be the most interesting of South American civilizations. Sure the Aztecs get a lot of press but they were in decline when the Spanish showed up while the Incas were expanding.

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Posted (edited)

I think that Inca were realy true socalists. communism?

Each citizen of the empire was issued the necessities of life out of the state storehouses, including food, tools, raw materials, and clothing, and needed to purchase nothing. With no shops or markets, there was no need for a standard currency or money, and there was nowhere to spend money or purchase or trade for necessities.

So the Inca did engage in trade, but only with outsiders - not among themselves.

The secret of the Inca's great wealth may have been their unusual tax system. Instead of paying taxes in money, every Incan was required to provide labor to the state. In exchange for this labor, they were given the necessities of life.

Of course, not everybody had to pay labor tax. Nobles and their courts were exempt, as were other prominent members of Incan society. In another quirk of the Incan economy, nobles who died could still own property and their families or estate managers could continue to amass wealth for the dead nobles. Indeed, the temple at Pachacamac was basically a well-managed estate that "belonged" to a dead Incan noble. It's as if the Inca managed to invent the idea of corporations-as-people despite having almost no market economy whatsoever.

So how do you become a continent-dominating empire without cash? In the case of the Incas, it's likely that the technologies that granted them agricultural surplus (extra food and textile materials) helped them with their expansive empire-building. Food was their coin; pure labor structured their economy.

Some have argued that the Inca Empire was the ideal socialist state, while others have called it an authoritarian monarchy.

Inca ancient cccp....

Communism is that goverment plan economy. No capital.

Edited by the L
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Posted (edited)

From what I recall from one university course I took the Incas had an economy on tribute and counter tribute. So say you lived in a town that grew a lot of potatoes but couldn't grow cotton. So you'd send a bag of potatoes as tribute to the government and they in turn would gift you with a bunch of cotton.

I've always found the Incas to be the most interesting of South American civilizations. Sure the Aztecs get a lot of press but they were in decline when the Spanish showed up while the Incas were expanding.

To me Mayans get number one position. Well after Dutch republic, Venetian republic, China, Soviet union and ofcourse Mongolia and Roman empire.

But from America they are number one.

Nevertheless this article put totaly different light on Incas. Plus this.

Will we ever be able to understand Quipu?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quipu

Quipus (or khipus), sometimes called talking knots, were recording devices historically used in the region of Andean South America. A quipu usually consisted of colored, spun, and plied thread or strings from llama or alpaca hair. It could also be made of cotton cords. The cords contained numeric and other values encoded by knots in a base ten positional system. Quipus might have just a few or up to 2,000 cords.

Archaeological evidence has shown that systems similar to the quipu were in use in the Andean region from c. 3000 BC. They subsequently played a key part in the administration of Tahuantinsuyu, the empire controlled by the Incan ethnic group, which flourished across the Andes from c. 1450 to 1532 AD. As the region was subsumed under the invading Spanish Empire, the use of the quipu faded from use, to be replaced by European writing systems.

Quipucamayocs (Quechua khipu kamayuq, "khipu-authority"), the accountants of Tawantinsuyu, created and deciphered the quipu knots. Quipucamayocs could carry out basic arithmetic operations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They kept track of mita, a form of taxation. The quipucamayocs also tracked the type of labor being performed, maintained a record of economic output, and ran a census that counted everyone from infants to "old blind men over 80". The system was also used to keep track of the calendar. According to Guaman Poma, quipucamayocs could "read" the quipus with their eyes closed.

Quipucamayocs were from a class of people, "males, fifty to sixty",[7] and were not the only members of Inca society to use quipus. Inca historians used quipus when telling the Spanish about Tahuantinsuyu history (whether they only recorded important numbers or actually contained the story itself is unknown). Members of the ruling class were usually taught to read quipus in the Inca equivalent of a university, the yacha-huasi (literally, "house of teaching"), in the third year of schooling, for the higher classes who would eventually become the bureaucracy.

So we have socalist state, universities, possibility that we have recorded history from 3000 BC.

I think that Inca walls ocuppy our attention while many things we miss. Well atleast I.

And if they didnt sacrifice children we could eaisly say that they were utopian society.

Edited by the L
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True socialism calls for 'the withering away of the state': not a lot of withering here, more "Do it or we'll kill you."

Which is about how it usually works out.

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If they didnt have a marketplace or trade or have any money, why does the article have a sentence that reads "So the Inca did engage in trade, but only with outsiders - not among themselves?"

Im confused.

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True socialism calls for 'the withering away of the state': not a lot of withering here, more "Do it or we'll kill you."

Which is about how it usually works out.

They were true socalists. :tu:

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If you were a Person with Authority in a culture and you want to keep your authority power and continue to exert your authority, without any dissent from anyone - what would you do?

  • Provide the basic necessities or full necessities to your people. Keep their minds and tummies occupied. Maintain them in this fashion. Propagate a feel good culture based on your philosophy.
  • Eradicate or Suppress Opposition from people of similar authority, so that no one tries to usurp your authority
  • Maintain a well fed, well trained armed forces and exert them over neighboring nations, so that they would never try to think of encroaching on your nations boundaries or your power. Attain tributes from them.

Its not a socialistic nature of the civilization or culture.

its Just a need of a person to continue exerting his authority.

Just a thought experiment.

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hey bro, try to watch "Machu Picchu Road to the Sky" great documentary about Inca Empire.

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