Headline August08, 2014


MAYA civilization is one very perfect example: At the Maya city of Copan, now in western Honduras, there is a famous monument known as Altar Q.

Altar Q records the names of all the Kings, starting from the founder of the dynasty K'inich  Yax K'uk Mo', or  "King Green-Sun First Quetzal Macaw," named after:

Not just the sun but also two of the exotic birds of the Central American forest whose feathers were greatly valued by the Mayas.

K'inich Yak K'uk Mo' came to power in Copan in AD 426, which we know from the Long Count date on Altar Q. He founded the a dynasty that would reign for four hundred years.

The Mayas, by the way, were highly skilled builders who independently invented cement.

Existing archaeological evidence does not allow us a definitive conclusion about why the K'ubul  ajaw and elites surrounding him were overthrown and institutions that had created the Maya Classical Era collapsed.

We know this took place in the context of intensified inner-city warfare, and it seems likely that the opposition and rebellion within the cities, perhaps led by different factions of the elite, overthrew the institution.

Though the extractive institutions that the Maya created produced sufficient wealth for the cities to flourish and the elite to become wealthy and generate art and monumental buildings, the system was not stable.

The extractive institutions upon which this narrow elite created extensive inequality, and thus the potential infighting between those who could benefit from the wealth extracted from the people.

This conflict ultimately led to the undoing of the Maya civilization 

Extractive institutions are common in history because they have a powerful logic : they can generate some limited prosperity while at the same time distributing it into the hands of small elite.

For this growth to happen, there must be political centralization.

Once, this is in place,  the state   -or the elite controlling the state-   typically has incentive to invest and generate wealth, encourage others to invest so that the state:

 Can extract resources from them, and even mimic some of the processes that would normally be set in motion by inclusive institutions and markets.

In the Caribbean plantation economies, extractive institutions  took the form of the elite using coercion to force slaves to produce sugar.

In the Soviet Union, they took the form of Communist Party reallocating resources from agriculture to industry and structuring some sort of incentives for managers and workers.

But as history discovered, that such incentives were undermined by the nature of the system.

The potential for creating extractive growth gives an impetus to political centralization and is the reason why King Shyaam wished to create the Kuba Kingdom, and likely accounts for why the Natufians in the Middle East set up a primitive form of   law and order, hierarchy-

And extractive institutions that would ultimately lead to the Neolithic Revolution. Similar processes also likely underpinned the emergence of settled societies and the transition to agriculture in the Americas and can be seen in the-

Sophisticated civilization that the Mayas built on foundations laid by highly extractive institutions coercing many for the benefit of their narrow elites    

The growth generated by extractive institutions is very different in nature from growth created under inclusive institutions, however.

Most important, it is not sustainable. By their very nature, extractive institutions do not foster creative destruction and generate at best only a limited amount of technological progress.

The growth they engender thus last only for so long.

The Soviet experience gives a vivid illustration of this limit.
Soviet Russia generated rapid growth as it caught up rapidly with some of the advanced technologies in the world, and resources were allocated out of highly inefficient agriculture sector and into industry.

But ultimately the incentives faced as every sector, from agriculture to industry, could not stimulate technological progress.
This took place in only a few pockets where resources being poured and where innovation was strongly rewarded because of its role in the competition with the West.

Infighting and instability are thus inherent features of extractive institutions, and they not only create further inefficiencies but also often reverse any political centralization, sometimes even leading to the total breakdown of law and order

And descent into chaos, as the Maya city-states experienced following their relative success during their Classical Era.  

The Honour and Serving of the Post will continue on regular basis in the future.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"' The Future "'

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - The Voice of the Voiceless


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