scoop.co.nz 12 Mar, 2021 05:00 am

The International Labour System

The International Labour System
Historical Background Societies split into two strata following the post ice age (Neolithic) agricultural revolution. The new split, between ruling 'beneficiaries' and subservient 'workers', was made possible by the creation of food surpluses. (It ...

To the extent that capital goods were created, the 'beneficiary class' became a 'proto-capitalist' class as well as a landlord class; the social division between capital and labour was born.In a few cases in antiquity, a wider beneficiary class became a citizen class with established citizen rights; protodemocracies were established.In Athens and Rome, the beneficiary class was made up of households, of which the male head had the status of citizen.Feudalism was a highly decentralised order, in which the beneficiary class was defined principally by their possession of land, but also by the accumulation of money ('treasure').

There was also a petit beneficiary class, the rural peasantry, whose allegiance was more to kings and princes – their overlords – than to local lords and bishops.Capitalism emerged in Europe in the wake of the fourteenth century Black Death, a time when labour gained a high degree of bargaining power (a result of scarcity through mortality), and the landed beneficiary class could not easily enforce rents at the level they had been accustomed to.

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