The Theory of Leisure Class

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In the sequence of cultural evolution the emergence of a leisure class coincides with the beginning of ownership (Dugger, 1992). This is necessarily the case, for these two institutions result from the same set of economic forces. In the inchoate phase of their development they are but different aspects of the same general facts of social structure.


The present inquiry, therefore, is not concerned with the beginning of indolence, nor with the beginning of the appropriation of useful articles to individual consumption (Hinkrl and Fotos, 2002). The point in question is the origin and nature of a conventional leisure class on the one hand and the beginnings of individual ownership as a conventional right or equitable claim on the other hand.
The early differentiation out of which the distinction between a leisure and a working class arises is a division maintained between men's and women's work in the lower stages of barbarism (Hodgson, 2004). Likewise the earliest form of ownership is an ownership of the women by the ablebodied men of the community. The facts may be expressed in more general terms, and truer to the import of the barbarian theory of life, by saying that it is an ownership of the woman by the man.
There was undoubtedly some appropriation of useful articles before the custom of appropriating women arose (Michelman, 1969). The usages of existing archaic communities in which there is no ownership of women is warrant for such a view. ...
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