THE FIRST, HUNTING-TECHNICAL, REVOLUTION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOCIETY’S PRODUCTIVE FORCES
1. The origin of hunting-technical revolution
In primitive society, simple instruments of labour are improved very slowly, and it’s only during the last tens of thousands years that they are developed and improved more or less quickly. At last the first mechanical tools appear. The importance of hunting in primitive society increases with the invention, use and wide spread of such relatively complex instruments of hunting labour as a spear with a flint head, boomerang, bole, and especially mechanical instruments, appearance and wide application of which is a starting point of the first revolution in the development of the society’s productive forces. The change of hunting’s role in common economy of primitive society is connected in particular with the appearance and wide spread of such technical means as spear-throwing tool, air gun and sling. Spear-throwing tool, perhaps the first hand mechanism invented by man, is a small board or a lever with a stop on one end for spear. Using spear-throwing tool, which as if lengthened the hand of a hunter, the latter could throw a spear two times farther - up to 60 to 80 meters instead of 30 to 40 meters. Though the accuracy of hit got somewhat worse, spear-throwing tool became widespread among the majority of primitive nations.
The air gun became widespread in Indonesia and tropic South America. It is a part of a trunk of bamboo with a straight and smooth hole (bore), from which small and usually poisoned arrows striking at a distance of 25 to 30 meters are blown.
The sling was more widespread as compared to air gun. Two types of sling are known. The first is a split stick in which a round stone is put. When the stick is waved powerfully, the stone gets free and flies in necessary direction at a distance of 50 to 100 and more meters. The other type of sling consists of a strap or a rope with a special place in the middle for a stone. One end of the strap is wrapped round the palm, the other is gripped in the same hand and gets free during a powerful wave as a result whereof the stone flies in necessary direction at a distance longer than in case with a sling-stick.
At the same time, a fishing rod with fishing-line and fish hook was invented and became widespread for catching fish. It also belongs to mechanical means of labour – hand mechanisms.
Hunting for animals and fowling are usually referred to one and the same branch of common economy of primitive people, fishing – to another. We think that hunting for animals, fowling and fishing should be referred to one branch consisted of several parts:
hunting for land mammals
hunting for small reptiles and amphibian: snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, crayfish, crabs and some other
hunting for sea animals
hunting for ducks
hunting for land birds
hunting for fish
If fishing is referred to an independent branch then arises a question: where should be referred hunting for fish, catching animals and fowling, which, though not so widely as hunting for animals and birds and fishing, nevertheless were used in primitive society?
Along with mechanical tools applied in hunting and fishing, in the period of origin of the first revolution in the development of productive forces both old, improved and newly invented non-mechanical tools, i.e. simple instruments of hunting labour, both one-piece and compound, keep being widely used. One of the most important is a spear (without spear-throwing tool), which is improved and specialized more and more. Another widely used simple instrument of hunting is a boomerang, which apparently appeared at the time of origin of the hunting-technical revolution, i.e. much later than a spear, and which is the most original of the instruments of hunting labour. A boomerang, though it’s a simple instrument of labour, nevertheless requires great skill and experience for its production and use. A boomerang is used as a missile. The peculiarity of boomerang is that being thrown with a sweep of arm it rotates in the air and strikes its victim from the least expected direction. A special type of a light boomerang has a remarkable capability when thrown skilfully to return to his owner in case it does not hit the mark. Russian traveller E.R. Zimmerman, who visited Australia in 1880s, describes the use and good qualities of boomerang as follows: “An Australian threw his wooden flat crescent-like tool with a magnitude following a curve from one end to the other of some 70 cm. The boomerang, rotating, flew high in the air for about three hundred steps forward and having described a parabola started its rapid descent but not reaching about twenty steps to the ground suddenly turned over and flew back; again along a parabolic trajectory it fell at last to the legs of the native. Another time a Negro threw his tool in such a way, that it having flown forward turned over and flew aside in the air, then not falling on the ground turned over once more and flew again in another direction” (14 – 56).
At the first stage of the first revolution of the society’s productive forces, simple instruments of labour do not disappear; on the contrary, they begin to be used more widely than were applied before. They still hold the dominant position among technical means of this period of the development of society and its productive forces. But not only they alone characterize the technical basis of society as it took place earlier, before the hunting-technical revolution. Together with simple technical means, the fundamentally, qualitatively new technical means – hand mechanisms began to be used, which, for the first time in the history of society, were mechanical instruments of labour, unlike simple technical means.
The appearance and wide use of hand mechanisms in hunting and fishing means the appearance of two new phenomena in the development of productive forces. First, the mechanization of hunting (and fishing), the first branch of production sphere, which in the course of hunting-technical revolution becomes a mechanized branch of common economy, takes place. And, second, there appeared a new, higher mode of technics.
We imply by mechanization not the process of replacement of pre-machine technics with machinery as it is considered sometimes, but the process of replacement of pre-mechanical technics with mechanical means of labour. The process of replacement of pre-mechanical technics with machinery we shall designate with another term – machinization. Mechanization and machinization are different phenomena in the development of productive forces, though they sometimes coincide. So as to avoid confusion in the further interpretation (understanding) we shall clearly differentiate these notions. There are four forms of technical means in the development of productive forces, which can be referred to mechanical means of labour: hand mechanisms, draught mechanisms, machines and automatic machines. Mechanization occurs when some of these four forms of mechanical tools replace simple technical means. Four forms of mechanization conform to four forms of mechanical means of labour. When simple technical means are replaced with hand mechanisms, the hand or simple (small-scale) mechanization is realized. When simple technical means are replaced with draught mechanisms, the draught or complex mechanization takes place. When simple technical means are replaced with machines, the machine or comprehensive mechanization (machinization) occurs. And, finally, when simple technical means are replaced with automatic machines, the complete mechanization or automation takes place. Thus, the term “machinization” means only one form of mechanization. Machinization in its turn is not confined to the replacement of simple technical means with mechanical machinery, it, the same way as mechanization, has several forms. Machinization takes place when machines replace, supersede hand mechanisms; machinization takes place as well when mechanical machinery replaces draught machinery. Of all these forms mechanization and machinization coincide in case when machines replace simple technical means. Mechanization and machinization designate one and the same phenomenon only in this case. In all other cases one can speak either of mechanization or of machinization.
Thus, in the period of origin of the first revolution in the development of productive forces, the simple (small-scale) mechanization of hunting and fishing - its initial stage - takes place.
At the same time, in the period of origin of the hunting-technical revolution, when, for the first time in the history of human society and its productive forces, mechanical means of labour: a spear-throwing tool, an air-gun, a sling, a fishing-rod and, possibly, some other such as a fish-trap, a trap, a loop and other snares originate and spread widely – the origin and formation of a new, higher mode of technics takes place. The old (first) mode of technics which existed during several million years before the first revolution in the development of the society’s productive forces which started about 35 thousand years ago, embraced only simple technical means: one-piece and compound instruments of labour as well as non-tool technics (vessels, hearths, etc.). The new (second) mode of technics, which became firmly established during the hunting-technical revolution, embraces (along with simple technical means) mechanical tools – hand mechanisms. The new mode of technics differs qualitatively from the old one, which consisted only of simple technical means. Hand mechanisms is the new phenomenon in technological expansion which divides technics into two modes the boundary between which is the hunting-technical revolution, which, as it has already been said, started some 35 thousand years ago.
Why did the hunting-technical revolution, this first revolution in the development of the society’s productive forces, start at that time – about 35 thousand years ago, not earlier or later? Is it by chance or not that it started in that very time? It seems to us that the hunting-technical revolution could start exactly in this time, not earlier or later. The matter is that the hunting-technical revolution needed for its completion a prerequisite without which it could neither take place nor even begin. The prerequisite required for the first revolution in the development of productive forces was the origin of man of modern (euhominid) type (Homo sapiens) (who replaced Neanderthal man), the formation of which was completed 35 to 40 thousand years ago. The hunting-technical revolution could not take place earlier, in the epoch of Neanderthal man and Pithecanthropus, for the latter were not intelligent enough for the invention, making and application of mechanical tools that could do man of modern type only. The hunting-technical revolution could not start and take place later, or rather, it could not but start right away after the greatest event on the planet, which is the origin of man of modern type that was a prerequisite for the first revolution in the development of productive forces since the level of technical and technological development at that time was rather high for it to take place.
The appearance and wide spread of the first hand mechanisms meant only the origin of the hunting-technical revolution. The hunting-technical revolution could not take place, the more so, come to the end on the basis of spear-throwing tool, sling and air-gun for the reason that they were not productive enough, efficient enough to supersede simple instruments of hunting labour, such as a spear with a head (without spear-throwing tool), a boomerang, a bludgeon, a harpoon, and as a result of low efficiency of mechanical tools which were widely used in hunting and fishing, hunting (and fishing) could not become the leading branch of common economy, and mechanical tools of hunting and fishing labour could not hold the dominant position in new mode of technics. The dominant position at that time was still held by simple technical means, the leading role in common economy was still held by gathering. For the hunting-technical revolution not just to start but to take place (and to come to the end) such high-production and efficient mechanical means of hunting and fishing labour were required, which owing to their efficiency would hold the dominant position both among technics of hunting and fishing and in the whole new mode of technics of common economy, and hunting, including fishing, would turn into the leading branch of primitive society. And these efficient mechanical means of labour, which wide use and spread lead to technical revolution in hunting and fishing, had been invented. But their invention and technical revolution, which they caused, were preceded by radical changes, transformations in production engineering, mainly in production engineering of technical means, the changes that can be called a technological overturn.
2. Rise of the hunting-technical revolution.
Before the hunting-technical revolution, primitive people consumed a number of different materials, which they used for making technical means. They were stone (flint, jasper, chalcedony, obsidian, sandstone, quartzite, granite and many other rocks), wood, bark and roots of trees, pelts, tendons, bones, horns, shells. But not all these materials were applied to the same extent, in the same quantity. Some of them were used widely, systematically, other – more rarely or even on occasion. Such materials as stone and wood were applied daily; they were main materials for making instruments of labour. The rest types of materials were non-base or subsidiary.
During the hunting-technical revolution, at the beginning of its development, a need for new materials, which could be applied so systematically and in the same large quantities as stone and wood, showed up. Such new main materials were bone, tusk and horn. Their use in large quantity was not possible earlier for two reasons. First, primitive people, owing to their lack of development and weakness and because of a low level of technical and technological development, procured too little animals, bones and horns of which could be used for making instruments of labour. Second, they still could not process them. The types of processing, which were used by primitive people when handling stone and wood (crushing, beating off, chipping, cutting, scraping, etc.), were not efficient enough or unfit at all for processing bone, horn and tusk.
Now, at the beginning of hunting-technical revolution, hunting though had not become the leading branch of economy, nevertheless its importance became substantially higher. Using new, more efficient mechanical means of hunting, they started procuring far more large animals. Now people had at their disposal a great deal of bones and horns, which began to be applied more and more as materials for making technical means. Bone, tusk and horn as compared to wood and stone, along with their certain shortcomings, had a number of advantages. They were far harder and stronger than wood, on the other hand their processing was easier than that of stones. Besides, they could be applied instead of wood where use of stone was impossible, for example in making harpoon, spear-throwing tool, boomerang or even spear. All this called forth their wide use in the course of the hunting-technical revolution; thus, horn, tusk and bone, along with stone and wood, which they could not supersede, became the main materials used by primitive people in making technical means.
Wide application of bone and horns that started at that time and that coincides chronologically, according to archaeological classification, with the end of late palaeolith (Madelaine), gave cause for some researchers to call late palaeolith or its end the age of bone. “Late palaeolith is sometimes called the age of bone. In fact, at this time, especially at the end of this period (in Madelaine), a peculiar bone industry thrives. Heads of darts, harpoons were made of bones, and, what is especially important, compound implements of bone and stone appear.” The author of these lines says about it again in other passage: “Madelaine is called the age of bone. At this time thin compound heads of darts, leisters, harpoons, awls, needles and a great number of goods of unknown purpose are made of bone” (15 – 108, 130).
Before the hunting-technical revolution, during a long period of time, primitive people when making different goods used the simplest methods of material processing. In making woodwork they used mainly cutting and scraping. In making stone implements primitive people used as main such methods of raw material processing as crushing, beating off and chipping.
As the role of hunting (and fishing) in primitive society and as a consequence the role of bone, tusk and horn as new materials in making instruments of labour increases, new processing methods spring up which, having appeared apparently for processing bone, tusk and horn, begin to be applied gradually but more and more widely for processing stone and wood as well. It is grinding, polishing, drilling and sawing. Besides, in making stone instruments of labour, the squeezing, counterblow and dot retouch, which arose before the hunting-technical revolution but, nevertheless, becomes widespread only in the course of it, becomes the most widely spread.
Along with mechanical processing methods, both old (cutting, scraping, crushing, beating off, chipping) and new (retouch, grinding, polishing, drilling, sawing), during the hunting-technical revolution and sometimes, perhaps, earlier, physical processing methods such as baking and steaming, though far less widely, are applied as well. Baking is applied in making spear, and, later, arrow and other tools, which have a point. Wood and horn become very hard as a result of baking. People used this property in making woodwork out of horn. Steaming is also applied in processing horn, tusk and wood for the purpose of their softening, that allows, for example, to use these materials better. Steaming is used, for example, in making spears from mammoth tusks. “…To make, for example, a two-meter spear from a mammoth tusk one should be able to steam out a huge tusk, to straighten it, to divide and, finally, to cut out an implement from it and to grind it” (15 – 139). Steaming of wood is applied, for example, in making hoops for barrels and other vessels, sledge runners, skis, etc.
But though physical processing methods were considerably widespread during and after the hunting-technical revolution, they, apparently, cannot be referred to the main processing methods of this period of the development of the society’s productive forces. The main material processing methods during the hunting-technical revolution and after its completion right up to the second revolution in the development of productive forces were mechanical processing methods.
Some researchers think that such important mechanical processing methods as drilling, grinding and sawing were invented and found wide application in Neolithic age, i.e. in 7 to 4 millenniums B.C. (6 – 30). But archaeologists say another thing to us, namely that these mechanical methods spring up not in Neolithic age but at the end of late palaeolith – at the beginning of mesolite, i.e. 20 to 10 thousand years B.C. (7 – 12; 15 – 123, 139). Archaeologist G. Child enumerating “archaeological documents on pre-history” points out the following human inventions in the epoch of palaeolith: strickles for pelt processing, an awl, a needle, a knife, a cutter – for processing stone, bone, wood, a saw – for bone, a drill – for processing bone, stone, grinding stones – for bone processing, a plane – for wood processing, a wedge, a chopper, a hammer, a scraper, a polisher – for arrow shafts, a large hammer, a punch – for splitting tendons, a fire steel, a lamp, a fine grater, missile weapons: spear-throwing tool, a bow and arrows, a harpoon, various baits, music instruments: a whistle, a flute, a tally, a two-dimensional drawing.
No doubt, many of these implements were made at the very end of palaeolith, and they became widely used only in mesolite.
In the epoch of mesolite, the implements for wood processing: a chisel, an adze, an axe were invented.
The implements for fishing: a leister, a net with a float, a sledge, oars, a boat” (15 – 186).
These words indicate that, during the hunting-technical revolution, at its first stages, not only a number of various technical means, both simple and mechanical, were invented, but new materials (as main: horn, bone and tusk) and new mechanical processing methods, including drilling, grinding and sawing, began to be applied. In the epoch of neolyth these mechanical processing methods just found their further development, improvement and wide spread, in making axes and mattocks as well.
So, we see that in the course of the technological overturn, which means the replacement of one technological mode of production with another, not only the application of new materials in making technical means takes place, the application of new methods of processing of these new as well as old materials takes place too. The main new processing methods are retouching, drilling, sawing, grinding and polishing.
The first people used only one type of energy – the energy of their muscles. Then, gradually, they started to use a new type of energy – the energy of burning wood. At first, primitive people used natural fire they got from fires, lightning strokes, etc. Since they still could not make fire they had to keep it up constantly day and night, in summer and in winter. In the course of time primitive people learned to make fire themselves. Mastering the artificial obtaining fire using technical means, and it happened apparently at the beginning of the hunting-technical revolution, was one of the greatest achievements of mankind.
Application of obtaining fire led to systematic use of energy of nature different from the energy of man himself, his muscular force.
In addition to the energy of fire, primitive man, during the hunting-technical revolution, mastered one more type of energy – the energy of some animals, mainly of dog. Dog, domesticated by man in the period of the first revolution in the development of productive forces, was used mainly in hunting, which was far more efficient and productive in this connection. But dog at that time was not used at hunting only, but for other purposes as well: for protection of dwelling, man, some peoples used it for transportation of man and load on a sledge (dog-sledge) in winter. Some peoples used at hunting not only dog, but some birds as well: falcon, golden eagle.
Thus, in the course of hunting-technical revolution, man started to use, along with the energy of his muscles, some other types of energy, increasing his power over nature.
We see that, during the hunting-technical revolution, the radical changes in social production engineering take place. These changes, which mark with themselves the transition from one technological mode of production to another, more progressive, in other words – the technological overturn, are not restricted to changes in application of materials, processing methods and types of energy. Along with them, such important technological changes as the division of labour and specialization of technical means of labour take place.
The specialization of instruments of labour can clearly be seen in the history of the development of spear, which was the main implement of primitive people during hunting over a long period of time. At first, spear was a universal implement, i.e. one and the same spear was used by man both for hunting for animals, large and small, and for hunting for fish and birds. Then the spears, as hunting was becoming more important that happened during the origin of hunting-technical revolution, are being specialized. First of all they divide (differentiate) into heavy and light in weight. Heavy spears are made for hunting for large animals and for the defence against predators, lighter and shorter spears – for small animals and birds. For fish hunting the spears with several teeth placed in a line (a leister) are made and used. For hunting for large sea animals and large fish, special spear - harpoons with a separating sharp head are produced.
Similar specialization may be observed, though not so clearly, in the development of other technical means as well.
Before the hunting-technical revolution, in primitive society there was no division of labour, at least a developed one. All primitive people were busy with different types of works, moreover, they obviously did it jointly in most cases. If a primitive group was occupied for some time with gathering berries, all people went there together. Then all together they went to gather other types of vegetable or animal food. If a primitive herd went hunting, all the people of this group went hunting again together. Some of them, which were stronger, lay in ambush, the other were beaters. All men and all women went gathering, hunting and fishing. The division of labour, even if it existed, was insignificant, was of no importance.
During the hunting-technical revolution, as the importance of hunting increases, the situation changes radically. If before the whole group went gathering either bird eggs or nuts and then went hunting for fish, now some people of this group are occupied mainly with gathering of vegetable or animal food, other are occupied mainly with hunting, the weakest are busy with housekeeping: preparation of food, child care, fire keeping, etc.
The origin and fixation of the division of labour, as well as specialization of the instruments of labour facilitated a considerable increase of labour productivity and, therefore, living standard of primitive people.
3. Maturity of the hunting-technical revolution.
Technical overturn in hunting (and fishing).
Wide application of mechanical tools we spoke of above in hunting and fishing did not result in hunting to become the leading occupation of the majority of primitive people. Gathering still retained the role of the leading branch. Though hunting grew sharply in importance, it still ranked second after gathering. It is explained by the fact that the technical means applied in hunting labour, both simple and mechanical, were not enough efficient and productive so that hunting (including fishing) could make the provision of primitive people with sufficient quantity of meat food possible. Food gathering gave more than hunting for animals, birds and fish (and their catching) with use of a spear, a spear-throwing tool, an air-gun, a sling, a boomerang, a bole, a fishing-rod, a fish-trap, traps and other snares. For the situation to change radically, such technical means in hunting and fishing were required which could raise the efficiency, productivity of labour sharply. None of the technical means listed above, both simple and mechanical, could accomplish this task.
This role, the role of technical means that resulted in radical changes both in correlation between different forms of technics in hunting and fishing, and in structure of different branches of economy of ancient people, was played by new mechanical tools: bow with string and arrows (in hunting) which appeared about 15 thousand years ago or, maybe, earlier, and which became at once widespread among ancient people, and nets with plummets and floats (a seine, a self-catching net) – in fishing.
The invention of bow and fishing nets was the greatest achievement of mankind. “A bow, a string and an arrow form a very complex implement, invention of which presupposes the experience gained over a long period of time and a more developed intelligence, hence, a simultaneous familiarity with a great number of other inventions” (Marx, Engels, vol. 21, p. 29). The role, which was played by these technical means, especially the role of a bow, is acknowledged by many researchers and historians. S. Lilly, enumerating the most important achievements of ancient people of this period in technical sphere, writes: “They used two most important mechanisms: a bow and a spear-throwing tool; the first mechanism created by man, which acted on the principle of energy accumulation, was a bow. An archer gradually drawing a bow imparts it his energy, which accumulates and retains up to the moment it is released in concentrated form at the moment of shot. Spear-throwing tool in its turn is a lever which makes a man’s hand longer and which makes it possible to throw a spear farther” (7 – 11).
A bow with a string and an arrow replacing many technical means in hunting becomes the most widely spread. It happens because hunters’ labour productivity with the use of a bow rises sharply. “With the invention of a bow, people succeeded in use of an absolutely new force – latent elastic forces. A bow and arrows that appeared in mesolite became the main type of weapon up to XVIII century, in some countries up to XX century, for example, in the North. A bow and an arrow made possible for man to kill animals and birds at a distance of 100 to 150 meters, sometimes the range reached 900 meters” (4 – 39).
A bow as compared to a spear and a dart is a highly long-range, accurate, quick-firing and powerful weapon indeed. Let’s compare for example the following data: active range of a spear thrown with a hand amounts to 30 to 40 meters, the use of spear-throwing tool will double this distance, up to 60 to 80 meters, but the accuracy becomes worse. A bow not only enabled the increase in active range up to 100 to 150 meters and more (a range of heavy Indian bow comes up to 450 meters), i.e. twice as compared with a spear-throwing tool and four times as much in comparison with a spear thrown with a hand, without spear-throwing tool, it improved considerably the accuracy, rate of shooting and shooting power. Thus, a good shot’s rate of shooting approaches 20 shots-hits a minute, a bow of Eskimos in Alaska at a close distance pierced the deer through, a bow of North American tribe Apache in its turn pierced through a man at the distance of 300 steps (14 – 49).
The invention and wide application of a bow suggests a high technical level of ancient society of this period. “A bow is an arrangement which suggests that man in the epoch of mesolite gets to know some laws of mechanics. Using the principle of a bow, man creates a great number of various hunting traps.
During the excavations of Mesolithic sites, the bows of man’s height were found. They were made of elm. The arrow shafts ran up to one meter in length. Using such bows and arrows man hunted successfully. Hunting for bison, elk, wild hog gave him meat, hunting for bear, fox, beaver and squirrel in addition to meat gave fur to be used for clothes and dwelling” (15 – 152).
In fishing, along with such mechanical tools as fishing-rod and weel which became widespread during the origin of hunting-technical revolution, a new technical tool – a net used during two main methods of fishing becomes the most widely spread. According to one method, a net is placed into the water (river, lake, etc.), and in some time, say, a day, the fish tangled in it are taken out. By another method, a net is thrown into the water and is being pulled through it for some distance; then the net with the fish caught in it is beached. A self-catching net (as a net used in the first method of fishing is called) and a seine (a net used by the second method) allowed ancient people to catch fish in large quantities that raised sharply the role of fishing in their economy. Labour productivity of fishermen increased many times as compared to the former methods of fishing and hunting for fish, especially to those, which were used before the hunting-technical revolution.
Thus, we see that, at a certain stage of the development of society and its productive forces, the making, mass application and wide spread of mechanical means of labour begins. The hunting-technical revolution begins, at a certain stage of the development whereof mechanical tools – hand mechanisms - get the predominant position in hunting and fishing. The simple mechanization of hunting and fishing develops from the stage of initial (partial) mechanization to the stage of the developed mechanization. The technical overturn takes place. Hunting (and fishing) becomes the first mechanized branch of social production (common economy) of ancient society.
As we saw above, a new, higher (second) mode of technics includes not only simple technical means like the first mode of technics but mechanical tools as well – hand mechanisms, such as spear-throwing tool, air-gun, sling, bow, self-firing tool, trap, fishing-rod, weel, nets, etc. What is the qualitative fundamental difference between mechanical means of labour and simple instruments?
During the work with simple technical means, working instrument is operated by man’s hand directly. Here man performs several working functions necessary for transformation of subjects of labour into product of labour. First of all the implement should be driven, for that the motive energy should be spent. But working instrument should be not just driven, but driven expediently, in a certain way: in a certain direction and at a certain time. In other words, besides a simple setting of working instrument in motion (motive function) in the process of production activity (stone dressing, making net, fishing, etc.) a working instrument should also be handled, that is connected with the performance of executive function. Hence, man working with simple instruments of labour performs a number of working functions, including motive and executive ones.
During the work with mechanical tools man no longer handles working instruments, i.e. does not drive them with his hands. The function of handling working instrument, or an executive function, moves from man to some technical tool, is performed, or incarnated in it. During the work with mechanical means of labour – hand mechanisms, operation of working instrument is performed by a special mechanical device, or working mechanism as we are going to name it henceforth by analogy with the term “machine tool” used by K. Marx in “Das Kapital” in his analysis of mechanical machinery. That is the main difference between mechanical and simple means of labour.
So, the main difference between hand mechanisms and simple technical means is not that mechanical tools – hand mechanisms are more complex technical means, consist of a greater number of components or parts, are bigger, more massive, powerful or efficient than simple technical means, but that during work with simple instrument of labour, a working instrument is handled by man and during work with mechanisms a working instrument is handled by working mechanism.
Let’s for clearness compare a spear (without spear-throwing tool) which is a specimen of simple technical means and a bow with a string and arrow which is a specimen of mechanical tools. Here, working instruments are a spear and an arrow. A spear is set in motion in the certain direction and at a certain time (executive function) directly by a human hand and that is why is a simple technical means. In its turn, an arrow, unlike a spear, is set in motion not directly by a hand of man but by a bow with a string (working mechanism). Here man does not operate working instrument (an arrow) directly (executive function) but performs other working functions. He draws a bow accumulating, concentrating his energy in it (motive or energy function), holds a bow in a bent state, aims and lets an arrow go at a necessary time (control function).
While examining other mechanical tools we shall see a similar, though more distinct, and sometimes, on the contrary, less distinct picture. In arbalest, air gun, drilling machine with bow-shaped drive that gained certain prevalence in the course of the hunting-technical revolution; using them, man does not hold a working instrument (arrow, drill) with his hand as it happens during application of a bow, he does not even touch it. And in all the other mechanical tools operation with working instrument is performed not by man but by working mechanism.
Thus, during the hunting-technical revolution, hand mechanisms to which the executive function – the function of operation with working instrument moves from man, are invented and become applied widely. The other working functions, for example, motive or control function (technical means and manufacturing process control) is retained by man. From the fact that the executive function is embodied in hand mechanisms, an external, visually perceived difference between simple and mechanical technical means (hand mechanisms) follows. This qualitative difference between hand mechanisms and simple instruments of labour is that if simple technical means consist of a single element (part) – a working instrument, then hand mechanisms are composed of two single elements: a working mechanism and a working instrument. Hence, hand mechanisms are two-element technical means in contrast to one-element simple technical means. In each of the two elements (as in each element on the whole, that we shall see below during consideration of other forms of mechanical tools) of hand mechanisms, the embodiment of one of the working functions, which are consequently delegated, pass from man to technics, takes place. In the course of hunting-technical revolution, the executive function was embodied in a newly-originated element – a working mechanism. Even earlier, during the appearance of the first technical means, during the origin of technics in the form of one-element simple instruments of labour, the shift of another (chronologically – the first) working function – a function of direct influence (impact) over the subject of labour from man to them happened. This function, before being delegated to simple technical means during the origin of technics, was performed by man by means of his natural “instruments” of labour: teeth, fingers with nails, fists, legs.
The function of direct influence over the subjects of labour was the first working function, which moved from man to technics. It was embodied in the first appeared element of technical means – the working instrument. The function of operation with working instrument became the second working function delegated by man to technical means. If the first working function delegated to technics was embodied for the first time in one-element (simple) technical means, then the second working function (executive) which was delegated to technics was realized for the first time in two-element technical means (hand mechanisms). If the first function – the function of direct influence over the subjects of labour was embodied in the first element – the working instrument, then the second working function – the function of operation with working instrument is embodied in the second element of technical means – in working mechanism. If in simple technical means (one-element) only one working function is embodied, then in hand mechanisms (two-element technical means) two working functions: the function of direct influence over the subjects of labour and the function of operation with working instrument are embodied.
Thus, the invention and application of spear-throwing tool, air gun, bow and other similar technical means marks the appearance of fundamentally, qualitatively new technical means, which unlike simple technical means that preceded them are mechanical tools, namely hand mechanisms.
4. Completion of the hunting-technical revolution.
The wide spread of mechanical tools, especially of a bow with a string and an arrow and a net with a plummet and floats, in the course of the hunting-technical revolution in hunting and fishing results in the fact that hunting and fishing gradually become the main occupation of the majority of adult able-bodied inhabitants, the key branch of social ancient economy. “The appearance of a bow and arrows facilitated the transition from primitive forms of hunting to its more efficient organization, owing to that the potential for obtaining meat food grew. As a result, hunting soon became one of the main branches of economy” (4 – 33).
If before the invention and mass application of mechanical tools – hand mechanisms, which became the most widely spread in hunting and fishing, the latter gave little meat and fish food in view of low labour productivity, then, after their mass application (and the use of dog during hunting) people, for the first time, as a result of jump in labour productivity of hunters and fishermen, could provide themselves with more or less sufficient quantity of meat and fish food, though not everywhere and not annually. Hunting and fishing become more and more mass occupation of the people of this period of the development of society and its productive forces. In the course of the first revolution in the development of the society’s productive forces, groups of gatherers gradually change mainly into hunters’ or fisher’ groups. Hunting and fishing gradually turn into the key branch of common economy of ancient society, gathering in its turn moves to the position of a secondary branch. Gathering does not disappear at all; it continues to exist. Hunting and fishing becomes the key branch not due to the disappearance, total ousting of gathering, but due to its reduction. Ancient people were in need not only of meat and fish food, which they got now in hunting and fishing, but of a vegetable food as well, which they could get at that time only by gathering fruit produced by nature.
A sharp increase in the part of an aggregate working time spent by ancient groups in hunting and fishing in the last phase of the hunting-technical revolution happened first of all at the expense of the disappearance of expenditure of working time for gathering animal meat food, second, at the expense of reduction in expenditure of labour for gathering non-meat animal (honey, bird eggs) and vegetable food, third, due to saving expenditure of labour in other branches of common economy as a result of application of mechanical tools in them, which increased greatly labour productivity.
A rapid, as compared to the previous period, development of technical means in hunting and fishing during the hunting-technical revolution resulted in more quick development of artisan production, that promoted perfection and specialization of artisan instruments of labour and the appearance of mechanical means of labour (along with hunting and fishing) in other branches (sections) of common economy. Such mechanical tools that appeared during the hunting-technical revolution as drilling machine with bow-shaped drive and fire drill, which had bow-shaped drive as well, should be mentioned.
Since mechanical tools of hunting labour as well as of fishery become the main technical means of hunters and fishermen, and since all or almost all adult male inhabitants and some of women become hunters and fishers, then, on the whole, mechanical tools in the new mode of technics of ancient society start playing the predominant role having ousted simple technical means from there. Each man, with rare exception, and in many hunting tribes also some of women of this period of the development of society had one or several bows and dozens or hundreds of arrows. It, certainly, refers only to those groups and areas where the first revolution in the development of productive forces took place and where a bow becomes the main instrument of labour. One can suppose that in some places the hunting-technical revolution due to especially favourable circumstances could be completed without the invention and application of a bow with a string. Some researchers think that hunting’s turning into the main branch may happen on the basis of a spear-throwing tool or an air-gun as well. “Ethnography knows hunting tribes, particularly many tribes in the Amazon basin, which did not used a bow but applied other, not less efficient implements of hunting, for example, a pneumatic arrow-throwing tube” (16 – 86). If it is true, then the hunting-technical revolution in these tribes took place on the basis of an air-gun, though the facts that both an air-gun is not less efficient weapon of hunting than a bow and that in these tribes hunting turned into the main branch of economy give rise to doubts. The hunting-technical revolution in these tribes more likely was, during the time described, at the initial stage (at the stage of origin or at the stage of technological overturn) of its development.
The same obviously refers to Australians who did not know a bow with an arrow (by the time of colonization of Australia), but at the same time used spear-throwing tool and a boomerang, including returning ones, who did not know drilling, if it corresponds to reality, but possessed polished axes and water communication means. “Occupying the leading place in the economy of Australians hunting industry formed their amazing techniques of craft skill – a through knowledge of animal habits, ingenuity in masking, indefatigability in pursuit, virtuosity of weapon wielding” (16 – 91). As it seems to us, the hunting-technical revolution in Australia by the moment of its colonization had not been completed yet, it was at the stage of technological overturn. That is why hunting had not yet ousted gathering from the position of the key branch that had to take place at the completion of the hunting-technical revolution.
In some places, the hunting-technical revolution took place earlier, in other – later. In some groups or places, where the hunting-technical revolution took place, the main mechanical tools became a bow with a string and arrows, in other places the main mechanical tool, in the course of the first revolution in the development of productive forces, became nets, in still the other – probably some other mechanical tools. Here one should mention the main thing that all peoples (almost all) had in their history such a period, when, under the influence of mass, wide application of mechanical tools of hunting and fishing, the latter turned into the key branch of economy, while gathering descended to the position of the branch second in importance. Hand mechanisms on the whole took the dominant position in mode of technics of social production, having ousted simple technical means from there to the background.
5. Main characteristic features of the hunting-technical revolution.
What is the essence of the first revolution in the development of productive forces? What are its most characteristic features which distinguish it from previous period of the development of the society’s productive forces?
We saw above that during the hunting-technical revolution which began after the completion of the process of formation of man of modern type, after the appearance of “homo sapiens”, i.e. about 35 thousand years ago, there takes place the invention, mass application and wide spread of mechanical means of labour – hand mechanisms, which were a new form of technical means that differed qualitatively from simple technical means. Unlike simple instruments of labour which consisted of one main element (part) – a working instrument, mechanical tools – hand mechanisms consist of two elements: a working mechanism and a working instrument. In the new element – a working mechanism of technical means of new type - the embodiment (transition from man) of the function of operation with working instrument (an executive function) takes place. The appearance and wide application of hand mechanisms marks the origin of a new (second), higher mode of technics which embraces two forms of technical means: simple technical means (integral instruments of labour, compound instruments of labour and non-tool technical means) and hand mechanisms. New, mechanical tools become applied widely in hunting and fishing, their mechanization (simple) begins, they oust simple technical means from hunting and fishing more and more, finally, they hold the predominant position in them (and then in the whole new mode of technics), the technical overturn takes place. Hand mechanisms spread to some extent in other branches of ancient society’s common economy as well.
At the same time, the radical changes take place in production engineering as well, mainly in making technical means. Bone, tusk and horn, along with stone and wood, become applied widely as new main materials. The new methods of influence (processing) over the subjects of labour during making different articles from them, such as retouch, grinding, polishing, sawing, drilling begin to be applied widely. The mastering of yielding fire and the expansion of use of its energy as well as some technological application of fire take place: in making instruments of labour by means of baking, drilling, and also at hunting. Dog is domesticated; it finds an all-round application mainly in hunting. At the same time, a deep specialization of technical means, especially in hunting, takes place and the division of labour develops and becomes widespread. The technological overturn takes place.
The consequence of technological and technical overturns is a radical change in the structure of branches of common economy of ancient society. If before the hunting-technical revolution the key branch was gathering vegetable and animal food where the major part of aggregate labour (working time) of people of primitive groups was used, then in the course of the first revolution in the development of productive forces the role of key branch is passed on to hunting (and fishing). Gathering becomes a subordinate branch of common economy where mainly vegetable food began to be obtained. This radical change in the structure of economy, or a structural-branch overturn is the completion of the first revolution in the development of the society’s productive forces.
So, the main characteristic features of the first revolution in the development of the society’s productive forces are:
- The appearance, mass production and wide application and spread of mechanical tools in hunting and fishing, their mechanization (simple) on the basis of hand mechanisms.
- The ousting of simple technical means from hunting and fishing by mechanical tools, their getting the dominant position – the realization of a technical overturn in this branch of common economy, transformation of hunting and fishing into the first mechanized branch of economy.
- The appearance of a new, higher (second) mode of technics, which included both simple and mechanical tools – hand mechanisms.
- Complication of technics, the appearance of two-element technical means consisting of working mechanism and working instrument.
- Transition of one of the main working functions – the function of operation with working instrument from man to technical means. The embodiment of this (executive) function in the new element of technical means – working mechanism.
- The wide application and spread of new major materials: bone, tusk and horn.
- The appearance and wide application of new mechanical methods of processing the subjects of labour: retouch, grinding, polishing, drilling and sawing. A slight spread of physical methods of influence: baking, steaming, drilling using fire and water.
- The expansion and perfection of application of human energy (for example, accumulation, concentration of moving energy in a bow) as a principal type of moving energy. A certain application of the energy of animals (dog, etc.) as well as a quick expansion in application of energy of artificially yielded fire, including its technological application.
- Specialization of the instruments of labour.
- Growth and expansion of the division of labour.
- Ancient people’s change from mainly primitive groups of gatherers into mainly hunting or fishing (or mixed, hunting-fishing) tribes. Transformation of hunting (and fishing) into the key branch of common economy, and gathering – into a secondary one.
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