Wednesday, 10 June 2015

History and Change

Modern humans originated some 200,000 years ago. Agricultural society began a little over 10,000 years ago, and brought the first forms of civilisation. Capitalism as a form of organising social production began some 300 years ago, but many people see capitalism as the ultimate, unchangeable form of society, even though it has been such a small portion of human existence. If today we consider that, because we have lived our whole lives under capitalism, this would continue forever, that would be equivalent to believing, from humanity’s social standpoint, that the last eleven days in the past year would also continue forever. By contrast, history shows that things change. Not necessarily as quickly, although John Reed’s book, Ten Days that Shook the World, on the Russian revolution, indicates that it could even be less.[1]
Tony Norfield, 10 June 2015

[1] The calculation has been changed from when this text was originally posted in order to make the point more clearly. Note that 300 years of capitalism divided by 10,000+ years of all forms of human civilisation is 3% at most.

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