3) by procedures that impose sharing and prevent accumulation


Accumulation is of course potentially one way of asserting or influencing other people. If I have got lots of something that somebody else needs, then I can make demands of them, in order for them to get access to the things that I have. So accumulation is seen as a bad thing as immoral, as wickedness and what people should do in these societies is to provide what they have got from the environment to other people on demand.

When you share people in these societies it takes quite another dynamic, than int the societies in which you can make use of the system of delayed return to make demands on people. In these societies you can´t refuse anyone what he or she demands from you and very quickly that is dissipating in the group, that you delivers to it,  without you having any control over it, so there is no possibility to use it in order to  get any authority power over that flow whatsoever. This is what we call demand sharing in the HG literature.

In DEMAND SHARING IN HG SOCIETIES its crucial to understand that this quite a different economic process from what we are familiar with as “sharing”. One man hunted to much and instead of being celebrated and achieve lots of statues and girls - he was thrown out he was chased away by the women, who said we are not cooking your meat any more. You hunt too much! So the man had to leave Mbedjele and had to go and find a wife among Baduma. And some ten years later I just bumped into him by chance and then he had had to move from the Baluma to the Mikaya, other groups of pygmies, and it was his boasting; he couldn´t control himself he loved hunting, and for some reason he couldn´t figure out that this was causing him so much trouble and he just kept on  being kicked out from one community after the other, and its deeply painful to him, because he is really a tragic human being as a result of this.

In these societies each individual is potentially atonomous and can fulfil their basic needs without being dependant on any other individual. Whether you are old and sick you will always obtain your share.

People who do go over the top, get levelled off.


According to the fundamental requisites for achieving and maintaining an egalitarian society, identified by James Woodburn, and exemplified by the RAG- anthropologist Jerome Lewis in his lecture Egalitarian Gender Relation how they are practised by the hunter and gatherer  Batek and Mbendjele-people in the African rainforest 



1) through direct individual access to food, water and raw materials needed for tools

2) by mobility

3) by procedures that impose sharing and prevent accumulation

4) by `leveling mechanisms´such as mockery or avoidance that assert egalitarian values and reject authority.