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Chapter 8 Mobilizing Resources: Regional Production, Tribute, and LowlandUpland Exchange Systems Ethnohistorical sources suggest that within the lowland core of historic period Philippine maritime-trading polities, in the alluvial river basins close to each chief’s center of political power, formalized tribute systems and luxury good production by sponsored craft artisans provided revenues to support the chiefly political economy. The surplus production necessary for sustaining the chief’s household and elite retinue was obtained not through direct ownership of lands within a fixed geographic territory, but rather through the development of clientage relationships that granted a chief the right to collect agricultural tribute from political subordinates. Slave labor captured through intensive investment in maritime and riverine slave raiding was also a significant means of expanding chiefly surplus in many of these societies, since agricultural surplus could be expropriated directly by slaveowning chiefs rather than accumulated sporadically through the tribute system. Thus, in the core area of these lowland polities, chiefs had a number of mechanisms for directly mobilizing resources essential to sustaining their roles as social elites and powerful political leaders. However, one of the challenges facing Philippine rulers centered at coastal ports was the establishment of economic control over an ecologically distinct and geographically remote hinterland, frequently inhabited by an ethnically heterogeneous population with varying sociopolitical configurations and economic orientations. In the Philippines, the interior uplands were inhabited by an amalgam of culturally and linguistically distinct groups ranging from small bands of hunter-gatherers to tribally organized swidden cultivators and emergent ranked societies practicing intensive agriculture. While the interior uplands yielded resources that were significant to lowland coastal economies, the populations of these hinterland regions were too geographically remote, mobile, and ecologically specialized for direct conquest , political subjugation, and economic control by lowland polities to be a viable alternative. Instead, lowland polities and adjacent upland tribal peoples generally formed extensive interactive networks that were often loosely integrated through political and social as well as economic ties. Archaeological evidence suggests that economic specialization and “symbiotic ” exchange relations are a long-term response to ecological diversity in the Philippines and have considerable time depth even beyond the period of lowland complex society development. However, long-distance maritime 222 Foreign Trade and Internal Transformation trade significantly transformed the organization and scale of what once were localized exchange partnerships between individual lowland farmers and adjacent interior swidden farmers or forest collectors. These internal domestic good trade networks became directly linked to the lowland chiefs’ political strategies for controlling the wealth-generating foreign trade because of the nature of Chinese import good demands. In return for their primarily luxury good cargo, Chinese traders desired interior forest products (spices, tropical hardwoods, abaca cloth, metal ores, animal pelts). These were commodities that the coastal chiefs did not control directly but had to amass through symbiotic exchange relations with interior upland peoples that were not under the direct political hegemony of the lowland chiefs. Archaeological and ethnohistorical data suggest that early to mid–second millennium a.d. chiefs centered at Philippine coastal ports increased their competitiveness in foreign trade by developing the more efficient internal mobilization systems necessary to establish themselves as a stable export source. Some specific mechanisms for improving reliability of internal mobilization systems may have included (1) increasing tributary demands on subordinates, (2) increased use of an economically disenfranchised slave agricultural labor force through expanded slave raiding and debt-bondage institutions, (3) shifts in the location of upriver secondary centers to more energetically efficient collection points for collecting resources, (4) consolidation of interior and upland exchange relations through the influx of lowland prestige goods such as Asian mainland porcelains, and (5) centralized mass-production of lowland products such as earthenware for intensified coastal-interior trade. The Spatial Organization of Production and Exchange: The Dendritic Settlement System In examining the regional settlement organization associated with different forms of political economy, cultural geographers and anthropologists have distinguished what are termed “dendritic” systems from the more latticelike “central place” systems (Hirth 1978; Santley and Alexander 1992; C. Smith 1976). Dendritic systems are characterized by the concentration of regional political and economic control within a single primate center, which exerts weakening authority over a series of linearly radiating settlements (Fig. 8.1). This type of system contrasts markedly with “hegemonic” or “territorial” systems, in which political and economic control expands outward from a powerful regional center in a latticelike pattern toward the polity’s periphery, and even distant settlements are strongly integrated with the polity center through a...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780824864064
Related ISBN
9780824820350
MARC Record
OCLC
45843033
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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