“As goes General Motors, so goes the nation,” Lee Iacocca reportedly said. With GM’s bankruptcy headlining the news in recent days, Ken Jameson’s article in USpace called “Castle or the tipi: rationalization or irrationality in the American economy” seems timely (originally published in 1972 in the journal Review of Politics). Written in response to the American economy in the 1960s, the article discusses the tension between an economy based on the castle and one based on the tipi. Jameson concludes that the contradictions in these two economic approaches can lead to fundamental change. GM represents the castle metaphor Jameson uses: it’s multinational, expansive and has several lines and brands. Now owned 60% by the federal government, perhaps Jameson would say GM is moving more towards the tipi: fewer distinct products, smaller geographic area of business and fewer mergers and acquisitions. While we watch what happens with GM (and our nation’s economy as a whole), Jameson’s final analysis provides some perspective: “castle and tipi interrelate in a fashion which yields stability to a system which would otherwise be unstable.”
Before I get to the article of the day, I thought I would give a brief overview of what USpace is. It’s a digital collection of scholarly materials produced at The University of Utah. Our goal is to collect and archive these materials–the U’s “intellectual capital”–and make them freely available on the Internet.
One of our USpace collections, UScholar Works, showcases the work of our faculty and researchers. We approach faculty at the U and request their permission to archive their articles. Sometimes we aren’t able to archive all of a faculty member’s works in UScholar Works because we can’t get permission from some publishers, but we persevere.
Really, you could call us hunter-gatherers. We hunt through faculty vitas and websites in search of articles. We use UScholar Works as a place to gather those materials and share them with the world. Anyone, anywhere, can visit the site and search any subject or phrase, say, “hunter-gatherers,” and find some of what U faculty has produced on that subject.
So, that brings me to the article of the day, by Dr. Kristen Hawkes, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology: Why Hunter-Gatherers Work: An Ancient Version of the Problem of Public Goods. Drawing on her fieldwork with the Ache of eastern Paraguay and Hadza of northern Tanzania, Dr. Hawkes offers an alternative hypothesis on differential resource sharing of hunter-gatherers, looking at the issue of why hunter-gatherers share some categories of foods more widely than others. Are you curious to know some more? Check it out in USpace.