By Michael J. Cassity
E-book via Cassity, Michael J.
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Additional info for Defending a way of life: an American community in the nineteenth century
And like the panther that stalked the deer, the hunter fit in. That solitary life represented not a force for change but another part of an intricate ecology. But change followed nonetheless. 2 The change came from outside. It came when others representing larger forces than separate individuals roaming this land, in societies characterized by claims to possessions, began to lay claim to this parcel of nature. The earliest claims here, those stemming from the discovery of the New World in the fifteenth century, proved to be irrelevant.
With an eye to the pre-eminent results of those changes, this approach also beings with a consideration of industrial capitalism as an entire system of developing social arrangements and patterns of life, not just as a form of economic organization. The central concept in this pattern is one that can best be associated with the marketthe market not just as an institution of exchange but as a conception of human relationships that emphasizes the individual as an independent marketing, or bargaining, agent in the determination of his or her own fate.
5 The isolation of the place put severe limits on the commercial nature of the economy. This is understandable considering the circumstances which caused many to relocate to this area; they would usually not be seeking out the market, the institution that had been responsible for displacing them once already. It was this determination to avoid the market that probably most accounts for the nature of the economy in the area. Few, after all, bothered to make the trip to the markets. Most produced what they needed for their own consumption.