You are on page 1of 10

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert Christian Taylor November 29, 2011

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert C. Taylor

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy The Qin and the Inca both used a variety of social controls and social policies to manage their empires. For example, the Qin Empire was famous for using strict laws to control the population, punishing even the lightest infractions severely. Similarly, the Inca Empire was famous for superb methods of societal organization and economic control with an imperial grandeur reported to rival that of Rome. At the height of these two empires, they both controlled massive amounts of land and subsequently had to govern the large number of people inhabiting their conquered land. Since both empires had the goal of expansion, they both employed a variety of social controls to ensure optimum societal functioning to fuel the empires lust for more land and power. Additionally, each empire had to design social policies to placate the population to ensure civil obedience so that the needs of the state were fulfilled. The Qin and the Inca Empire made use of a variety of similar social controls and social policies with some difference in the application of the controls and policies. First, the Qin and the Inca Empire designed and applied law to control their empires. In both empires the law prescribed brutal punishment ranging from dropping rocks on an offender's back to slicing a person into two. However, the Qin Empire made use of law as a social control much more formally then did the Inca Empire. The Qin Empires laws prescribed punishments for almost every activity and left little room for alternative interpretations of the law.1 In fact, the law system of the Qin Empire was formalized to such an extent that even the ruler was subjected to the hierarchal system used to reward individuals who served the state well in the military. According to Lewis,
1

Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han (United States: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 49.

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert C. Taylor

Even members of the royal family depended on merit earned through military service to maintain their elite status.2 Consequently, the loyalty of the Qin emperors subjects was guaranteed by making them believe in the merit of the social hierarchy and ensuring their continued faithful service in the Qin army. However, while the Qin Empire did use formal law more extensively, the Inca Empire did make use of law as well using it mostly to govern the day to day operations of the empire such as settling disputes or to prevent corruption by writing the law such that, according to Malpass, the higher the status of the individual, the more severe the punishment for the crime.3 Indeed, in the Inca Empire the law could have never been formalized to such an extent as the law of the Qin Empire because the Inca Empire did not possess a written language.4 Second, the Qin and the Inca Empire used terror to control their population. In the Qin Empire, the use of terror was sanctioned and implemented as part of the law. To hold the population in check, the Qin Empire organized peasants into groups of five and ten, holding every member of the group responsible for any crimes committed by any of the other individuals. Essentially, this encouraged submission to the state and prevented crime as every member of the group would spy on each other in the fear of missing the committing of a crime and receiving the subsequent punishment.5 In contrast to the Qin Empire, the Inca Empire made use of terror in a much more grand way: the moving and redistributing of the rebellious people throughout the empire.6 If the Inca Empire had problems governing a population because the population was in constant rebellion, the
2

Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han (United States: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 33. 3 Michale A. Malpass, Daily Life in the Inca Empire (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996), 35. 4 Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, The History of the Incas, trans. Brian S. Bauer and Vania Smith (United States: University of Texas Press, 2007), 57. 5 Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han (United States: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 30. 6 Michale A. Malpass, Daily Life in the Inca Empire (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996), xvii.

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert C. Taylor

Inca Empire would move the population to new locations and would mix the offending population with groups more loyal to the Inca Empire. The end result would be the creation of an atmosphere of terror and uncertainty as the rebellious population would find themselves in an unfamiliar land, with unfamiliar people who they could not trust. This atmosphere of terror would then effectively diminish or eliminate the troublesome population ability to organize into a rebellious state.7 Also, short term tensions between the groups of relocated people, and the existing population would be further exploited by the Inca Empire to create disunity, terror, and further diminish the relocated people as well as the existing populations ability to create war. Subsequently, this would lead to the further stabilization of the Inca Empire.8 Third, the Inca Empire and the Qin Empire made use of economic policy designed to control the behavior of their populations. These economic policies were both used to fulfill the needs of the empires war machine, and they were used to subdue the population into submission. Indeed, the Qin Empires economic policy was designed to keep peasants in constant labor and subsequently was backed up by the law which called for individuals found idle to be taken up as slaves by the state.9 Another example, the book of legalism, according to Lewis, expressed The effective ruler gets the people to forget their lived for the sake of their superior and make them delight in war.10 This ideal, expressed in the legalist book, underlies the Qin Empires policy of overworking the population into submission. Like the Qin Empire, the Inca Empire too made use of
7 8

Michale A. Malpass, Daily Life in the Inca Empire (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996), xxvi. Charles C. Mann, 1491: new revelations of the Americas before Columbus (United States: Vintage Books, 2006), 81. 9 Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han (United States: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 32. 10 Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han (United States: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 47.

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert C. Taylor

much of the same policies as the Inca Empires war machine placed a huge demand on the state necessitating the mass cultivation of agriculture. Additionally like the Qin Empire, the Inca Empire did not like to see its population idle. So, when no productive labor was needed by the state the worker would be directed to undertake worthless economic activities designed solely to occupy the workers time discouraging discontent.11 In both empires, the end result was that individuals did not sit idle but instead produced agriculture and other goods that were needed to satisfy the expenses of the states war machine. As an added benefit, the empires pacified their population by overworking the peasants making them less likely to lash out. Fourth, the Qin Empire and the Inca Empire made use of social policy designed to create compliance in the population and eliminate cultural differences leading to the promotion of a uniform cultural identity. This policy was used much more extensively in the Inca Empire because, in China, the culture was much more uniform when compared to the cultures in the Andes due to Zhou influence on the aristocracy of the Chinese states.12 Still, when it came to the common worker, there existed regional variations which the Qin Empire was known for eliminating by imposing their ideology and their law system on their conquered subjects.13 However, the Qin Empire never needed to formulate extensive policies for cultural control rivaling those of the Inca Empire because, when compared to the cultural environment of the Inca Empire, the culture environment of the Qin Empire was already quite uniform. Therefore, the Inca Empire

11 12

Michale A. Malpass, Daily Life in the Inca Empire (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996), 52. Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han (United States: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 11 13 Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han (United States: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 44.

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert C. Taylor

had to engage in a variety of social policies to assimilate the many groups in the Andes.14 One example of a policy the Inca Empire used was the relocation of groups throughout the empire. This relocation was executed with the goal creating a uniform culture by stamping out cultural differences and eliminating ethnic clashes by mixing cultural groups.15 Another example, the Inca spread their language throughout their empire, first forcing the nobility to learn the language, and then overtime introducing the native population to the Inca language.16 In the end, these policies were successful as much of the Andean region today shares a similar culture and the Incas language can still be heard.17 Lastly, the Qin Empire and the Inca Empire made use of effective social organization to control the population. Both the Qin and the Inca divided their empire into units for easy administration. Notably, the Inca went much further then the Qin, dividing their empire on the basis of a decimal system where local rulers would control 20,000 households by overseeing two men who each managed 10,000 households. This subdivision of control where each ruler oversaw men who were in charge of other men would18 continue all the way down to the final man who would oversee the operation of 100 households.19 The Inca Empire made use of this type of subdivision to effectively rule the vast number of different ethnic groups throughout the empire because this subdivision allowed the Inca to place local rulers in control over their own population

14 15

Michale A. Malpass, Daily Life in the Inca Empire (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996), xxviii-xxix. Michale A. Malpass, Daily Life in the Inca Empire (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996), xxix. 16 Charles C. Mann, 1491: new revelations of the Americas before Columbus (United States: Vintage Books, 2006), 71. 17 Michale A. Malpass, Daily Life in the Inca Empire (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996), xxix.
18 19

Michale A. Malpass, Daily Life in the Inca Empire (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996), 32. Michale A. Malpass, Daily Life in the Inca Empire (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996), 34-35.

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert C. Taylor

further ensuring the regions loyalty to the Inca Empire. However, while the Qin method of organization was not as grand as the Incas method of organization, the Qin did organize their population. The Qin Empire organized their population into groups of five and ten who would oversee each other and keep each other in check.20 The Qin Empire made use of this organizational strategy because the system tended to keep its self in balance aided by the formalization and accessibility of the laws and the added incentive of harsh punishment to all members of the group if the crime went unreported. Also, because the Qin Empire had access to a uniform culture already, the Qin Empire could trust the population and predict the populations behavior with more certainty then the Inca Empire because the culture of the Qin Empire was quite uniform. To conclude, both the Qin Empire and the Inca Empire made use of a variety of social controls and social policies. Interestingly, despite the difference in place and time, the controls and policies used by both empires were very similar. As mentioned, both the Qin Empire and the Inca Empire made use of similar laws, similar strategies to placate the population, and similar policies designed to stomp out cultural differences. In fact, most of the difference between the controls and policies used lied not in their purpose but in their implementation as each empire had to tailor policies which would most fit the circumstances of the time. Each empire had to navigate different cultural environments and had to figure out how to successfully resolve any problems arising out of those social environments. Consequently, this led to the variations between the two empires as each empire had to use strategies which it deemed most appropriate for success as there was and still is no perfect answer for properly controlling and directing a population. Thus, it

20

Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han (United States: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 30.

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert C. Taylor

is no surprise that when the difference in implementation is accounted for, and the effects of different cultural environments normalized, the Qin Empire and Inca Empires use and purpose of policies and controls were much more similar then different.

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert C. Taylor

Calhoun, Craig. social control. In Dictionary of the Social Sciences. Oxford University Press 2002. http://www.oxfordreference.com.db07.linccweb.org/views/ENTRY.html?subview=M ain&entry=t104.e1544 Gamboa, Pedro Sarmiento de. The History of the Incas. Translated by Brian S. Bauer and Vania Smith. United States: University of Texas Press, 2007. Lewis, Mark Edward. The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han. United States: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007. Malpass, Michale A. Daily Life in the Inca Empire. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1996. Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. United States: Vintage Books, 2006. Morton, Scott W. China: its History and Culture. United States: McGraw-Hill, 1995. Scott, John and Gordon Marshall. social control. In a Dictionary of Sociology. Oxford University Press, 2009. http://www.oxfordreference.com.db07.linccweb.org/views/ENTRY.html?subview=M ain&entry=t88.e2120. Wood, Francis. Chinas First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors. United States: Profile Books Ltd, 2008.

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy

Robert C. Taylor

Qin and Inca Empires use of Social Controls and Social Policy by Robert Christian Taylor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. http://www.scribd.com/doc/74211397/Qin-and-Inca-Empire%E2%80%99s-use-ofSocial-Controls-and-Social-Policy

10