The Incas and Socialism

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6/7/10 The Incas and Socialism During the history of early America, one of the most well-known peoples of South America were the Incas. The Inca Empire was one of the most advanced in America when the Spanish began exploring the Pacific coast of South America in the 1520s. One must imagine the shock of the Spanish Conquistadores lead by Francisco Pizarro when they marched into Incan towns and cities. Incan language, culture, technology, and social structure was very unique and very different from their own. Even today, modern historians find it difficult to place the Inca into a specific political and economic system. The dominant thinking by historians such as George Murdock in the 20th Century is that the Inca were a socialist society. At first glance, it would seem to appear so. There was very little individuality and there was a large emphasis put on working collectively for the state. However, when one looks at the full extent of the Inca social structure, one sees that only in a local context could the Incas ever be called a socialist society. Rather, the Inca were a society with a complex social hierarchy with only a communal economic system at the local level. There were no socialist elements in their centralized government, which was essentially politically authoritarian. Though socialism is an important term in the modern world few people have an exact understanding of what it means. It is usually merged into the definitions of Communism and Marxism though it is a very different economic and political system. According to Mastrianna &Hailstones book, Basic Economics, "Socialism involves strict government regulation of production and distribution and is advocated as a way to pro... ... middle of paper ... ...yze the social hierarchy of the Inca Empire, which counted on distinct levels of class to conduct certain levels of work, one can only conclude that they were not a socialist society. Works Cited Malpass, Michael Andrew. Daily Life in the Inca Empire. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1996. Print. Nishi, Dennis. The Inca Empire. San Diego: Lucent, 2000. Print. Moore, Sally F. Power and Property in Inca Peru. 1st ed. New York Ctiy: Columbia UP, 1958. Print. Mastrianna, Frank V., and Thomas J. Hailstones. Basic Economics. 11th ed. Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western College Pub., 1998. Print Galbraith, John Kenneth, and Nicole Salinger. Almost Everyone's Guide to Economics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978. Print. Harris, Kevin R. "WAS THE INCA EMPIRE A SOCIALIST STATE." (2006): 55-60. Web. 5 June 2010. .

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