Topic: 35. WOMEN AS BREEDING PROPERTY AND AS TRADE PROPERTY

Academic and classical economics equates pots and pans, say, as items of trade.  Economics does not equate pots, say, with human beings.  And yet humans were once and still are things of trade.   Force Theory as a branch of Philosophical Anthropology does not categorize human needs as economic versus biological ones but focuses upon the time when humans began, first to use and then to work around their own biology.  Society and nature turned at that juncture against one another.   A case in point has been the slavery of women.  It was stated that this slavery began with the first human technology which served the humble purpose, in the hands of men, of enslaving women.  But what or whom was mastered by one man could be mastered by another man.  Men set themselves against one another, this time, however, through the agencies of technologies and agreements as to the use of technology.    Women were transfered, by agreement, between men.  This was the world's first commerce.  But there is more.  Women themselves intruded politically into the relations between men; in the process, they were granted an "ownership" of men that was more than symbolic.  Marriage was such a bilateral agreement of possession and one that endures today.  The question still has not been answered as to how women reached this new status.  Suffice it to say that to use women as agents of reproduction was impossible under the precise terms of slavery.  The power of the men had disrupted the biological or instinctive relations; yet the mentality of legal ownership of persons--slavery--was not abandoned.  Ownership rather became mutual.  Such mutual relations, so long as human beings were equated with one another, developed into the institutions we call culture and society. 
Force Theory economics, if there is such a thing, is not interested in why,  say, when the price of pots goes up the price of pans goes down.  Force Theory is concerned with the way law mediates the relation between biology on the one hand and pure human artifice on the other.  Human beings can be bought and sold.  A wife, however, has more use value than trade value; wives are virtually never sold in order to buy daughters.  Daughters are sold as wives.  If the use value of something (or someone) is highter than its (her) trade value, all transfer of that thing or being will end by permanent possession.  A daughter has more trade value than use value; she will be transferred.  On the other hand, as the relations among humans are complex, and bonding is likely between a man and his daughter--and she carries his genes!--a complex set of relationships arises.  Human intelligence is a factor:  such high intelligence and language may have arisen precisely for the purpose of articulating this relation between biology and culture.  We may expand upon this thought.   A thing may have a use value and/economic science.  "Labor value" is an invention of communist theory.   or an exchange value.  These are the only "values" a thing can have for The primary focus of Force Theory, on the other hand, is the relationship between biology and human artifice.  Thus if we try to calculate  the "worth" of a human female--and such a commodity was the entire content of paleolithic and primitive economies--we have to assume that no artifice was expended on her at all; she like any other plant or animal  is a creation of nature and would exist with or without human intention.   Women at an early time were enslaved and sold; this constituted the first human economy.  But a woman as any item of value does not acquire this value by any human effort put into her:   a gem can be found by accident; no work was expended to find that gem; yet the gem is valuable.  I stated earlier that women were the first commodities exchanged.  Yet to calculate the "work" put into them takes us into the realm of imponderables.    Such a  point of view does not assume there is anything like a pure commodity such as is posited by traditional and classical economics.  The assumption regarding a "pure" item of trade is that such an item is without will or volition, when obviously women as human beings can assert themselves.  Consistent with the program of philosophical anthropology, we do not "dehumanize" an article of trade if that article is in fact human.  On the other hand, we acknowledge that in treating a human being as an article of trade we begin to perceive an area of human life where biology and human artifice collide with one another.   Economics as it has been developed as an academic "science" is a superficial study whose use is limited to the equasion of a narrow range of commodities, such as pots to pans.  A wider view of  trade, on the other hand, such as Force Theory attempts to present, sets any economy against a background of biological--narrowly speaking, reproductive--drives and motives.  For instance, the genetic influence of a man is carried on not only through his wives but through his daughters and sons.  To "marry off" his daughter and son is the only way he can extend himself biologically.  The father does not have sexual relations with his daughters, but he protects them after marriage.  He considers them after marriage his, or partly his, biological property.   Economic property, where human beings are concerned, can be regarded also as biological--reproductive--property.  Finally, the issue of race arises.  The first economy that there was was a species economy.  That is, this economy served the species Homo sapiens and was in turn served by this species.  There was no contradiction at that period between the species and one of the species' races; there was only the species, no races.  This close relationship between society and the one species was perpetuated.  The species needed society;   it is true that humans through intelligence and language articulated a relation between biology and culture.  But society needed this same species and, through its values and moral precepts, affirms the species.  Society is specifically for Homo sapiens as a general concept, not, for instance, for some unknown species that will follow Homo sapiens.  Society precludes anything racial, since any race is more than or less than, but not the same as, Homo sapiens. 

In man, nature has brought forth its highest creation.   In society, nature has accomplished nothing.   Nature does not care about society, which is an issue limited to one species.  Nature aspires, rather, to higher species and above all a new species which will surpass the human one.   The thought began with Nietsche; in me it has been a long time coming.   Nietsche had not yet experienced the findings of Philosophical Anthropology.  His methods had learned nothing from Hegel and the Young Hegelians.  The development of the smallest ideas is a slow one.  Fifty years ago I began my study of Philosophical Anthropology.  I should explain.    The great thinkers that there have been have all been interested in the "question of man."   I said earlier that I began with Schopenhauer who is the great mentor of my life.   My formal education led to a degree in anthropology.    These different threads have come together in Philosophical Anthropology, the methods of whichs are applied to the present problem:  to bring  man and society together in a single theory.  This theory should be "dialectical."    This is not Hegelian dialectic, precisely,  but a concept wherein pairs of facts  are seen as conflicting realities.  Thus if we talke about man, here, we also talk about society as an "opposed" concept.  Race and species are the same sort of opposites.  Here we talk about man and society as  opposed concepts of this sort.  What is being suggested is that society is not a creation of nature, at all, but one of man.  Refering again to the solemn pronouncements at the beginning of this essay we return to the issue of society and nature.   When we say that in society, nature has accomplished little, we have only said that nature has no role in society.  Society is not first of nature, rather it is of man.   We saw earlier that nature does not aspire to produce a higher society, or any society at all.  What nature aspires to is a higher sort of man, as a species eventually, of course, but in the meantime as a race.   In man, as creator of society, nature has in effect reversed itself;  something has appeared for which nature was indirectly responsible; but which opposes the creative forces of nature itself.   It is remarkable that a creature--man--exists that can create society, but it is man, not nature, that creates society.  Nature has no role there, except the indirect one of producing man.  Man is the one capable of creating many things.  We can talk about all the things that man has created; but that would be tiresome.  We could start with anthropology, move on to history.  What we are talking about here, rather, is the opposition of man and socity, finally, at this point in evolution.  History comes into collision with biology. 

My most recent topic has been the role of women in human life--not as benefactors of civilization, in this case, but as objects of property.  I have talked about women as trade property and as breeding property.  We cannot talk about women in their breeding capacity without raising the issue of animal reproduction.    In the human female a purely biological  force collides with a human intention.  By intention I mean a conscious purpose.   Human life is the story of the collision of human purpose with the purposes, so to speak, of nature as biological process.  Hence we see, for instance, this same biological thought in the otherwise human institution of the unilineal (patrilineal or matrilineal) descent group.  The clan, as this group is called, is a continuity of related (through birth, a biological event) persons; but these persons are structured in an artificial way.  I might mention, by way of transition, that Philosophical Anthropology influenced entirely by Gehlen and Plessner have not gotten beyond the biological problem; we will raise that problem here.  I said earlier that in man, or Homo sapiens, nature had given rise to a unique being which could be considered nature's masterpiece.  That is true.  We do not need to argue the point that mind, a union of intelligence and individual consciousness, stands out in the cosmos as something exceptional.  We turn now, however, to those creations which man has brought forth.  We have talked about society.  It is remarkable that anyone or anything can create something like society.  That is the case.  But what this thing society is is another matter.  We turn for wisdom on this issue to the great writers of Philosophical Anthropology;  nothing yet is found.  A thread of thinking that was pronounced in the prefascist period--in the work of Spengler and Klages, for instance--was suppressed under Philosophical Anthropology.  The grounds for this suppression may have been political.  I have already said that German academic philosophy was under duress following the war.  I have mentioned the effects of the war.  The issue of women is an example of an issue where politicians interfere with academic philosophy .  But the facts are plain.   Women, we say, were property but property, as other forms of property, of both use (and here we are talking about reproductive use) and trade use, as a "commodity" in Engels' terms.  So women were both bartered and put to use to ensure the genetic line of males.  The human purpose comes into collision with the biological purpose, or purpose that "nature" has.  Philosophical Anthropology has to long pondered the question of "what is human biology in the first place?".   A fact must be recognized, that, in other words, man is responsible for man's productions--nature is not  responsible.   Man is nature's doing.  But man's image of man himself is man's doing.  In society, we are saying, the image of man as man's creation comes into collision with the species Homo sapiens that nature has created.  But there is more.  Man attempts to ensure his existence in his present form.   This form has been produced by nature.  But attempt to perpetuate any particular form is artificial and, finally, futile.  Such an attempt contradicts nature, which is in a state of unending creativity and change.   It is in man's image of himself that he comes into collision with nature.  Man attempts to usurp nature's function and purpose.    The nature of nature is race, which is a perpetual unfolding.  Race comes into collision with man's attempts to perpetuate himself solely as one thing that nature has already produced.  Society proposes to stand in the way of the creativity of nature.  Yet this purpose is for naught.   Nature constantly surpasses itself with new creations so that, finally, man himself will be surpassed by something higher.  //

One man's breeding property is another man's trade property.  In marriage the boundaries between personal desires and commercial interests are confused.  Marriage is an institution of both personal attraction and ownership of property in sensu strictu.  Earlier I talked about the methodology of Philosophical Anthropology in bringing together small facts of early human life and parlaying them into broad theories of modern times.  This is what is being done here in the consideration of marriage as the seminal institution of society and a practice from which all subsequent society, in general terms, is derived.  I will proceed on this assumption.  Every human desire has some price attached to it, we are saying, and that price can be expressed as money.  (In reality, there are feelings which no price could be place on; it is only theoretically possible to attach such a price.)  The only area we are still vauge is regarding what constitutes money.  Engels brilliantly states this issue.  Items that were once produced for personal needs become items of barter.  What is said about the smallest items of everyday use can also be said about human beings.  They too can be items of use and also items of barter.  Slaves in a general sense fit this description.  We understand that in the Old South slaves that were once tools of use could be mortgaged; at any given time a bank might own the slaves.  But slavery on this magnitude depended upon an advanced infrastructure of government and finances such as exists only in certain periods of civilization.  At first, in paleolithic times, women were property and represented the wealth and standing that a man had.  They were sought after.  I talked earlier about the mesmerizing effects that a stick has when waved in front of a woman; she submits to be, in effect, a sex slave.  This weakness is very basic to the nature of the human female.   First these slaves were sex-and-breeding slaves.  Then out of the first relations came daughters.  Here was an item in possession of one man who was alert to the fact that these daughters were of value to other men; not so valuable to himself.  There was a strong urge at this points to "make a deal."  These daughters were sold, and the proceeds--perhaps there was the intermediate exchange of money in the form of cattle--were in turn used by the father to buy more wives.  "Married off" is simply a euphemism for "sold."  Cattle were individually not as valuable as women and served as an intermediate means of payment.  But the prize possessions were women themselves, who were bartered in a circle of wives to daughters and vice versa.   A man's sole plan was the simple one wherein he parts with his daughters in order to acquire wives, these being the daughters of other men.   This was the first real human commerce.    It should be emphasized that women used to buy wives were construed as trade property.  There came to be, in the manner of the precise modes of human reckoning, a strict separation of possessions into categories of breeding-material and trade-material.   Such possessions were not parted with lightly; the price for transfer was high.  A woman demanded many cows.  Strict rules of trade were instituted.   The problem as to how to command property (hold it to one) began to translate into how a man was to transfer property at his own gain.  Issues of possession (technological "mastery") were complimented by problems of buying and selling.  Men did not lust after their daughters, instinctively, but after the daughters of other men.   Dominant males were diverted from their first task, of, through display of weapons, commanding respect of fellow group members; they began negotiating with one another.   The human being was not however reduced at this point to a purely commercial, "money"-hungry individual.  At no point is a human being, as Marx would have him to be, a pure money-bags or creature of greed.  Anthropologists know that an incest "taboo" was probably in place before the origin of human culture; that there is a certain resistance to sex among siblings of animals of many species.  Man is no exception.  The instinctive proclivities that there were inclined men to consider their own daughters as trade property rather than breeding- or use-property.  We may note at this point that human instinctive propensities were basic to and re-enforced commercial interests.   To their own fathers,  daughters simply were not valuable as breeding property; a man could part with them.  Daughters as such constituted simply inventory that costs to keep about.  As I say, men entered into complex negotiations for transfer and possession of women.  The clan concept emerged out of this sort of barter-gaining (bargaining).

The general question I am asking is still this:  how did slavery, which was the first human institution, become "democracy" or "mutualism"?    I have asked that question before and will ask it at every turn.  We are struck by the fact that democracy is, in fact, something rather different than unilateral slavery.  Where we depart from modern political theory is that we do not acknowledge that concepts of "freedom" have any application at all.  Unilateral slavery transitions, by some mechanism, into bilateral or "mutual" slavery.  In   the advancing system Men do not obtain wives unless they first have daughters. Therefore, possession of daughters--their control by "authority of the stick"--becomes of utomost concern of every man.  But there is more.  We are left with the idea that marriage may not be an absolute transfer at all--that the father of the wife may still have some control over her and interest in her well being.  This interest may be a personal one--and we may be sure that affection is there--but the thought never leaves, too, that there remains at least a certain dispute over the ownership of the woman.  This is what compels men into negotiations of a specifically human sort.  The expression "possession is nine tenths of the law" simply does not apply in marriage.  There is the thought that every woman is valuable property:  one does not destroy that property.  In this complex way of reckoning the human institutions of mutuality came about.

Even without assuming that a father has a sentimental or personal--which we do not assume--the fact remains that the daughter is still a member of the clan of the father (in a patrilineal, patriarchal system); and for that reason valuable.  It is the residual [?]:rolleyes: value of the daughter as member of a clan, one protected not only by the father of the woman but her brothers, that a "mutuality"--contractually binding agreement subject, in case of default,  to a penalty of violence through force of arms--between the husband and the father-in-law.  In the institution of marriage the entire idea of the contract emerged.  This would not be a contract between man and wife but between the clans (essentially) of the father and son-in-law.  The daughter is still a member of her father's clan.  Resale, upon divorce or death of the husband, is still a possibility.  The father has a vested long term interest and does not simply hand over his daughter to anyone ohne weiteres.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-05-10 18:33:24)

Re: 35. WOMEN AS BREEDING PROPERTY AND AS TRADE PROPERTY

In property we face the issue of the conditional ownership of a thing (or person).  That a thing is owned conditionally compromises, and in an important sense contradicts, the idea of ownership if we mean by ownership absolute control.  That our primal being, that we talk about frequently, has with him a thing that he covets, and does not want it to leave his side, suggests absolute ownership.  We assume only that there is no fellow being that wants possession of the same thing.  In the case of humans, on the other hand, ownership is conditional.  The saying "Possession is 90% of the law" is suggestive.  We acknowledge that simply in having a thing with one does give one some legal right to that thing.  In this phrase we also evoke the issue of the law as something more than mere physical possession.  We are moving toward a paradox that, in the case of human beings, "rights of ownership" actually contradict the absolute ownership in an animal sense.  I have discussed this issue in detail in another section [cite].    neutral [expand this later....]  The contradiction is possibly resolved in the idea that the thing possessed is not itself capable of possession, so could not possess its possessor.  A simple "technicality" is afforded to the possessor by the people around him.  That is, they "agree" [see below} to leave the possession with him.  In the case of human beings, however, who themselves are capable of possession, the matter is different.  A human being is physically and mentally always capable of possession; yet he or she is possessed.  In this phase of Force Theory (which is a performance, as I have defined that term elsewhere), I am moving toward the consideration that a human being has to be declared incpable of possession before he or she is possessed.

The question now before us--pertaining to the issue of marriage as ownership--is:  what are the implications of "mutual" ownership?  That is, assuming I can "own" something, can that something (or someone) I own also own me?    And own me in the same way that I own this other thing (or person).    We are carrying our general theory of ownership--leveraged coercion and control of something (or someone)--into the issue of the relationship between a man and woman under terms of "marriage."  Fourier, Morgan and Engles call marriage an extension of slavery.  The connection between marriage and slavery--even in the ordinary marriage vows themselves--is unmistakable.  In these vows the individual commits him- or herself to the other, virtually in terms of a transaction that slave traders and owners would enter into.  The precise wording within the marriage ceremony is almost identical to a slave transaction.  And these vows are taken seriously by the principals and witnesses and agents of society.   Men altogether "own" women in this conception.  But it is also safe to assume that, under explicit terms of marriage, women also own men.  In the words of poets and musicians:  "I own you, you own me!"  This is common parlance; we simply do not think about the implications.  And these expressions of mutual ownership are not merely symbolic; they have the practical implications that agents of the third party, or society, can step into the relationship and act with authority and violent force.  The ownership of a man by a woman, and simultaneously a woman by a man, has all the imortance in everyday life that other property ownership has.  Associated with marriage are concepts of stealing, cheating, break of contract and restitution that go with other property ownership, such as ownership of--title to--one's car or house.  It should come almost as a cliche that marriage is the strongest kind of ownership of one human by another that one can have.  The fact that other forms of slavery are forbidden by the Emancipation Proclamation, while marriage remains, is a paradox no present day layperson or theorist wants to confront.  The communists are considered oddities of the past.  What is asked here, on the other hand, is whether to own and be owned by the same thing (or person) is, as it appears to be, an outright contradiction.   And if there is a contradiction, where does this contradiction lead?  We look for a resolution of the contradiction.

The question before is whether to own a thing "conditionally"--under terms of the larger society in which one lives--involves a "contradiction" of the idea of ownership.  We are talking about the orignal idea of ownership, now, such as we have already characterized as "animal" existence.  What limits an animal in its possession of some object (or female of its own species) is the strength and personality and belligerant intelligence of the being.  Ownership and possessions come down to the being's inborn capactity for violence.  Otherwise no condition is set for ownership.  Human beings on the other hand have, or tend to have, or often have rules of ownership.   In earlier sections of this blog [cite] I talked about "agreements."   Humans possess objects by virtue of agreements; other human beings are acknowledged to exist and to have an interest in one's possessions.  Interest means here two ideas:  1. there is interest in the sense of desire; 2. there is interest in the sense of "common interest,"  under some terms or other, an acknowledged participation in the ownership of the thing.  One owns one's house, we say, but not unconditionally; the town or village has aesthetic codes, taxes the property and so forth.  This is the everyday business of human beings in American communities.  In Haiti, we are told, the only rights are of squatters who appropriate and hold property solely through personal violence. We may speak of a squatter's "ownership" of property as unconditional.   The owner in America theoretically gives up some control of his possessions; on the other hand, the society around him which takes partial control of the possessions--has an "interest" in them--acts also in the interests of the "principal" or principal owner.  In the face of intrusion by non-owners, society steps in.  In this instance, some persons are declared by the larger society to be non-owners.  Under formal rules or law, there is a clear distinction between owners and non-owners. 

Does the human being contradict himself in ceding partial control of a thing to society?  We say absolutely that he does contradict himself, indeed, which is only to say that creates for himself a further problem.  To create for oneself a further problem is something entirely different than taking something away from oneself which will never be returned.  The age-old question is once again opened:  through society we give up rights but acquire new rights.  That is true.  But we also have forced upon ourselves a new competitor, society itself.  The thesis presented here has to do with marriage as a special institutions.  In this institution what is property is also the owner of the owner of that property.   We must confront this question, since here there is a contradiction that leads to new--and violent--kinds of human interaction.  Marriage is the outcome of primal slavery, in which, by superior technological force (weaponry), certain dominant males enslaved the rest of the group, including females.  We are saying that the first technics arose, not as men leveraged their strength to pry up a rock or fend off a larger preditory, but as they waved a stick (or some such object) in front of the females of the group.  This waving of a stick mesmerized the females and caused them to submit to sex.  This ritual of human mating, though raised to more sophisticated levels in modern society, still "impresses" the women; they have not evolved in this respect.  Stick waving in human corresponds to mating rituals of birds and other animals.  Such stick waving is the true origin of human technology, although, as we have already said, technology was applied to more objective purposes as time went on.  Human nature has not changed and the fundamental mentality of technics has not changed.  We may confidently assert that the real intent and purpose of technics is not in its objective (purely mechanical) function, to get food and so forth, but in its social function.  When therefore we say that men now own women, through technics, women now own men through a "technicality"--the law--and in this way restore the otherwise lost natural balance of male and female roles. 

Marriage is "perfect" mutual ownership.  The man owns the woman in the same sense that she owns him.  This ownership is qualified by certain recognition by society of the natural biological differences between men and women.  So, men and women have different roles in culture.  But in principle, the terms of ownership are the same for both sexes.  I could command my wife to do a thing; the terms of marriage are to love, honor and obey.   That one spouse can command another is written into the marriage contract.  But the wife also owns the husband; by virtue of this ownership she can countermand the husband.  She is now commanding the husband not to command her.  This is a convoluted relationship but one which, if it does not duplicate the male-female relation "in a state of nature," it emulates this natural relation and so, in other words, the balance of the sexes is restored to its pre-slavery (gender slavery) state.  In effect the dominance through technology that a human being had is obviated in the instance of marriage.  Technics is cancelled out by the technicalities of marriage.  Women have the same advantage as men by virtue of their, the women's, technicalities of law.  But this contradiction is the engine or motivator of a further progression--an externalization--of technics.  A new age of slavery--technological intimidation--is born out of the old.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-10-13 14:06:00)