Category Archives: Nonaggression Anthropology

Respect Indigenous Property Rights

Environmentalists and mining companies are fighting over the fate of the remote Klappan Valley in northern British Columbia. The different sides struggle for government approval of their particular plans, but almost no one fully acknowledges the property rights of the first owners of the valley, the indigenous Tahltan people.

The Tahltan have lived in and around the Klappan Valley since before there were any states at all in North America. They defended this rich territory against rival tribes, as Tahltan leaders put it, “from time immemorial, at the cost of our own blood,” long before European contact.[1] They defended it against the mercantilist Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1800s. And now they are defending it against the corporate cronies of the central government.

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Filed under Emerging Events, Nonaggression Anthropology

The Tyranny of the Cultural Curators

The state is at its most arrogant when it tries to protect us from ourselves. And there is perhaps no group of people subjected to a more absurd policy of state "protection" than the Jarawa tribe of India. They are confined to a reserve and forbidden to interact with outsiders, ostensibly for their own good.

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Even “Primitives” Pursue Profit

Anticapitalists like to use examples of supposedly selfless gift exchanges in “primitive” societies to contrast with the greedy behavior of modern markets. But a closer look at one famous exotic gift exchange, the Trobriand Islanders’ Kula, actually reinforces libertarians’ claims about the universal power of the profit motive.

In the elaborate Kula trade among the islands off the eastern tip of New Guinea, men sailed for many miles to receive ceremonial gifts of shell jewelry, apparently for the sole purpose of giving those gifts away again within a year or two.

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Seeing Like a State

When I first read James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State, I was studying at a far-left Canadian university, and in one of its furthest-left graduate programs. I, like many of my instructors and peers, assumed that the proper goal of scholarly research was to help the state help its subjects — with everything from raising crops to raising children. I looked forward to a career as a wise academic providing the state with all the knowledge it needs to improve its subjects’ condition. But my statist assumptions came to an end when I read, as Scott’s subtitle puts it, How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed.

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Filed under Austrian Economics, Nonaggression Anthropology

Imprisoning the Jarawa Tribe

Pop quiz: What do you call forcible imprisonment in impoverished conditions? Well, if the person you’re imprisoning has dark skin and a culture older than yours, you get to call it “protection” on a “reserve.”
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Filed under Emerging Events, Nonaggression Anthropology