On 07/11/2022 18:59, Felix Stalder wrote:
In the 20th century, in the West, there have been, as far as I can see, three ways of reacting to such 'total crises'. Fascism, Keynesian and 'war efforts'.

For 6-7000 years the same approach to the basic social metabolism (i.e. food systems) has been in place in what is generally called states: extractivism instantiated on simple principles:

Central command and control of territories for the production of grain, based on the most destructive technology ever invented, the plough, and enslavement (increasingly combined with wage slavery or human resources, if you want), as well as taxation and debt.

When the soil communities finally fully collapse, as a consequence erosion and loss of structural complexity, then the human societies collapse. It has taken about 250 years, more or less, every time, as David Montgomery has shown.

So, for argument's sake, let's say modern European state-based civilisation began with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Add to that 250 years and you get to 1898. It would all have been over by then, if not petrochemical fertilizers had been invented and, more or less, perfected by the end of that period.

In other words, oil saved modernity from collapse. It has been petrochemically borrowed time since.

With extractivism at the heart of operations, the rest is incidental: class society, colonialism and so on. Discussing the finer details within any given civilisation is merely a distraction, a brain candy look on specificities, which hides the logic at play - although it might pay for a career as an intellectual, expounding sophisticated views on the colours and cuts of the emperor's clothes.

Plough produced grains are at the heart of it all: relatively non-perishable, countable and therefore easily taxable and functional as a currency. The original currency.

Money is merely virtual grain. Which can be taken to further levels of abstraction in financial systems.


Yes, a broken record.


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