Thursday, November 5, 2009

week 10

Guilds offer benefits and disadvantages to society. When a guild is created, the skills of the members can be consolidated and improved; thus making the product better for the society that consumes it. Also, the younger generation gets to train under the experts of a craft that would reduce the time it took for a beginner to master the skill, and goods would be produced more rapidly. Economically, they are able to create a monopoly on the production of a certain good and increase prices through the lack of competition. While it is dangerous to the economy to have monopolies I feel like competition among the individuals in the guild would prevent any serious damage to the economy.

I feel that the custom of arranged marriage is looked down upon in Western society because of our ideal of love from culture like Disney movies. In different societies, marriage is thought of differently so it unsurprising that there are different practices. I tutor a family of Somali refugees, and the eldest girl had an arranged marriage when she was 17. She invited me a few days before her wedding, and did so in a very nonchalant manner. I feel as if she did not mention her wedding to me earlier, because she worried that I would disapprove of an arranged marriage.

Most everyone can agree that slavery was a terrible institution as it dehumanized an entire people and forced them to leave their homes. However, it was necessary to dehumanize the people in order to justify enslaving them. Slavery was also justified by the Europeans through religion. They believed that it was their duty to convert the native "savages" to Christianity. I've often heard it mentioned that slavery was originally introduced in Africa by opposing African tribes, who would enslave their defeated enemy and later sold them to the Europeans. This seems to contradict what I was previously taught regarding African slaves and certainly puts a new perspective on slavery. However, it is not to say that because of this, slavery was not a great tragedy for humanity.

Africa was a part of the world system in a sense that it provided primarily the West with labor in the form of slavery. Africa was also highly exploited for natural resources like gold. West Africa was controlled by the Islamic Empire, and the time of Leo Africanus, Timbuktu was a center for trade and learning. Therefore, Africa is included within the world system, however, it is due to the outside influences of the Western and Islamic world.

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