[Marxism] Economics and the origin of writing

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sun Aug 29 12:49:21 MDT 2004


It's good to sense that Marxists of all sorts are still drawn to the
sort of basic questions that remain unanswered about the development of
civilization.  

The general consensus does seem to favor the idea that they were using
clay tokens in ancient Mesopotamia to keep track of business
transactions and putting these symbolic tokens into clay containers on
which they'd make appropriate marks indicating the contents.  After a
while, the marks became sufficient, and evolved towards cuneiform.

Maybe, but the use of Chinese characters and Mesoamerican glyphs to
convey information developed quite independently. 

What's more, people were using symbols like this for tens of thousands
of years.  The classic example has to be those carved markings conveying
information about lunar cycles.

I suppose what we can say is that economic interests certainly
encouraged the development of writing.  ...but the use of symbols to
convey information also had great religious (and political) significance
as well.

This is one of those things for which some googling puts the latest
thinking before us quicker than waiting for the books...or even the
latest scholarly papers.

For an introduction to the problem from lingua franca, see
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/ling/stories/s56356.htm  

There are also good sites at
http://www.usu.edu/anthro/origins_of_writing/  
http://www.ancientscripts.com/ws.html 

Solidarity!
Mark L.






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