Underpinnings of the Drive to Industrialization: An Anthropological Perspective
Off the Keyboard of RE
In the Waste Based Society series Part I & Part II, I detailed many of the reasons why it behooves those in control of the resources of the earth to pursue such practices as Planned Obsolescence and R&D as a means to create ever more dependence on Control Conduits themselves ever more dependent on Energy Extraction from Earth resources. For the most part, this Energy comes from NON-RENEWABLE Fossil Fuel sources, becoming ever more expensive to extract from the Earth. If indeed we were able to develop RENEWABLE sources of energy to continue the paradigm, then also Industrialized Society might be a sustainable model. Diner A.G. Gelbert often makes the case that such Renewable Sources of Energy are within grasp, and he also contributed to the Waste Based Society series in Part III. I do not agree with him, but he makes a good case for this idea.
However, what neither of us really covered in that series is what DRIVES the Industrialization Paradigm to BEGIN with. Steve from Virginia who publishes Economic Undertow, one of our Cross Posting Bloggers on the Diner often posits that the choice to live the Industrialized Life is a FASHION choice.
From Steve’s Debt-o-Nomics Part III:
– The productive sector isn’t productive, this is so generally by design. Production answers the dictates of fashion and nothing else. The production enterprises are supported by borrowing. Finance provides enterprise profits, to ‘entrepreneurs’ who are shills. Finance provides essential initial capital without which enterprises cannot be born. Finance provides required enterprise cash flow when it is not natively available. Fashionable enterprises which have no hope of gaining a productive return are supported entirely by borrowing over extended period. Given fashion demand — for supersonic jet fighters, for instance — tens of trillions in any currency can be borrowed without end.
Bombarded as we are by all the Propaganda to buy Automobiles, GINSU Knives and Salad Shooters, every last person in the Industrialized World buys this paradigm because it is Fashionable to do so. Certainly true is it IS much more Fashionable to live this way than to live as a Kalahari Bushman feeding off Grubs, Lizards and Roots in the Kalahari Desert. Crap, the KBs don’t even have Wireless Internet or I-phones! Talk about being Out of Fashion! A KB is like a Beatnik showing up at Andy Warhol’s Factory or a Hippie showing up at Phillips Exeter, Andover or Choate! You just do not FIT IN with the crowd there Dude! Get With the Program!
However, is it REALLY true there as in we are immersed in this Industrial Civilization as simply a FASHION choice? Not at all. In reality, Industrialization is the outgrowth of the Will to Power as a Sentient Species evolves, first just attempting to SURVIVE in a Hostile World where many other species view you as FOOD.
In the beginning, without TOOLS, incipient Homo Sapiens was little more than a modern Chimpanzee. As such, said Great Ape was quite vulnerable to other Predators running around the Savannah once we dropped down out of the Trees to try to make a go of it out there on the Plains, where lots of FOOD for us was available. We are talking Africa of course here, with a wonderful variety of Predators running around. Lions and Tigers with Big Teeth and Big Claws of course. Cheetahs that can run a whole lot faster than the typical small child can run. Pack Animals like Hyenas that will Gang Up on you. Very tough environment overall for a two legged creature with no Claws and no Big Teeth to make a go of it. Not too big either, and for a lot of time there was Mega Fauna around MUCH bigger and stronger than we ever have been. Bears 12 feet tall, that sort of thing.
Given our apparent Weakness relative to the other Predators out there, you would figure that we couldn’t make it. Except we did, for two reasons mainly. Our Hands with their Opposable Thumbs, and our VERY BIG Brains relative to all the rest of those other predators. Smart suckers who figured out how to use TOOLS to lever up an ADVANTAGE over all the rest of them. Just some Rocks and Sticks at first, but always Improving on these Weapons. Spears came along, then Atlatls, then Bow and Arrow. Death at a DISTANCE, something no other Animal in the whole Kingdom can accomplish. For a Lion to make a Kill of a Wildebeest for example, it has to actually JUMP it and sink in the Claws and the Teeth. Wildebeests are not without their own defense here, that got some nice Horns to GORE with, and they can KICK mighty hard with legs strong enough to run that kind of weight around the Savannah. Lion makes Mistake ONE in his attack, he is likely to be STOMPED in a big hurry. A swift Kick to the Ribs cracking a half a dozen of them and puncturing a lung, Lion is TOAST. So it is a relatively Even-Steven Battle between the Wildebeests and the Lions, and a Balance is achieved in the ecosystem, though it varies from year to year in cycles between Predator and Prey. Lions being no complete dummies of course try to prey on either old or young or sick or injured Wildebeests rather than the tough suckers in their reproductive Prime years, but Wildebeests gather together to PROTECT AND DEFEND their weak ones. they are at the Center of the Herd, the tough guys run the Perimeter. Only if a Lion manages to catch a weak one outside this perimeter does he make the EZ Kill. Otherwise, if he is Hungry he HAS to take on a Tough Guy. A relatively even battle most of the time in that situation.
No such danger in preying on a Wildebeest for Homo Sapiens armed with an Atlatl and Spear though. From 20 yards away, HS can easy hurl a spear with an Atlatl so hard and fast even equipped with a roughly hewn Stone Point on it the spear will penetrate toughest Hide and go clear through the unfortunate Wildebeest before it ever knew it was even coming. Not only that, Brainy Homo Sapiens figures out how to Enlist the Assistance of a whole other Species, the Canines. They become Good Buddies, and work together. The Dogs run down the Wildebeests chasing them right into a fucking Ambush, traps laid to break their legs as they run, whatever. HS is now SUPREME KILLER out there, no other higher level Animal can stand up to his tools, his dogs and his SMARTS. Eventually he also enlists the aid of Horses, which allow him to run down all but the very fastest and nimble of other creatures as well.
Once this level is achieved, HS now begins to expand over the whole Globe with the Hunter Gatherer paradigm, knocking down just about all the slow and lumbering Mega Fauna as they go. Quickly enough by Geologic Standards, HS comes to completely dominate the entire Planet as an HG, actually migrating all the way from origins in Africa right down to the tip of South America by around 15,000 BC or so, after recovering from the Toba Supervolcanic Eruption which likely knocked down Human Population to around 10,000 Human Souls or 1000 Breeding Pairs approximately 75,000 years ago.
It is at this point that the Weapons once used just for Hunting purposes against other species become turned on each other. Why?
Essentially because the H-G paradigm takes a LOT of territory to support a relatively small number of HS, but HS was now reproducing faster than this amount of territory could support, so each group or Tribe of HS is now in COMPETITION with each other for territory. So now the Tribes of HS begin to use their weapons on EACH OTHER, in the attempt to gain or retain their territory. We are now Full UP as can be on Planet Earth for H-G style living, which began to decline probably around 10,000BC or so except for a few areas we were real late in making it to, like the Big Island of Hawaii, the very last pristine environment of good size H-Gs found and colonized around 1000AD.
Despite the fact a form of Warfare has now begun between tribes of Homo Sapiens, it’s mostly a pretty Level Playing Field, all armed with similar Weapons and similar Numbers. We essentially maintain a fairly steady-state in the environment through this period as well, and our numbers Level Out to just what the environment will support in terms of our numbers on a sustainable level.
This all CHANGES again on one Fateful Day when some Homo Sapiens somewhere probably in the Fertile Crescent around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers grasps that many of the veggie foods he eats grow well in his Latrine and Garbage Dumps. He realizes the SEEDS grow well in these well Fertilized locations. AGRICULTURE IS BORN!
This REVOLUTION completely changes the balance in nature for Homo Sapiens, both with respect to the rest of the animal kingdom as well as with respect to other HS stilll living the H-G life. Ag allows for a group of HS to reproduce even FASTER, remain sedentary on a given plot of land and then develop out of the excess population a Class of Warriors, aka an ARMY. The job of the Army is to protect the area already taken for Ag, and also to rid the surrounding neighborhood of H-Gs so that land also can be converted to Ag. Even without better Weapons, the Ag CIVILIZATIONS now developing start to overwhelm the H-Gs just by virtue of greater Numbers. Then it gets still WORSE for the H-Gs. Why?
Reason, now that the Ags have lots of people and no need for all of them to be involved in food collection, they have time to mess around with their Big Brains and they develop METALLURGY! Their new Bronze Pointed Weapons are better than the Stone Age weapons of the remaining H-Gs. Same Metal stuff also makes Ag more productive as well. Now the Ags are basically STEAMROLLING over the H-Gs just in the Bronze Age, but it gets still WORSE when the Iron Age hits.
But of course, the Ag Civililizations themselves start running up against each other here, now fielding some Big Ass Militaries to go up against each other in Full On Warfare we have become all too familiar with over the last few millenia. Again though, for the most part they all are armed with similar weaponry and something of a Balance is achieved with respect to each other, but we are now out of balance with Nature as a whole because Ag is pushing out of existence many other species and also soaking up resource faster than it gets replenished. Desertification begins in some of the areas earliest transformed to the Ag paradigm, the Middle East in particular there. We also run up against another Limiting Factor to further Exponential Growth at this time, the “Beasts of the Earth” in the form of PESTILENCE, or disease vectors.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
By around the 1300s, because of increasing population density as well as the practice of keeping so many Domesticated Animals in such close proximity with so many Homo Sapiens, a whole HOST of diseases begin to appear knocking down vast SWATHS of population every time one of these PLAGUES crop up. At this time, the HS population more or less stabilizes again at around 500M Human Souls walking the Earth at any given time, JUST prior to the NEXT REVOLUTION, application of Thermodynamics to Metallurgy which results in FIREARMS. AKA, Guns and Cannon. This preceeds the full on Industrial Revolution by a couple of centuries, but Tips the Balance of competition between the Ag societies towards the ones that made use of this Weaponry FIRST, the Europeans who made the Scientific Discoveries. Together with Sail and Navigation technology this set of discoveries now allows this Civilization to begin overwhelming all the other Ag Societies. The understanding of Thermodynamics leads then to the Steam Engine, from there to the Internal Combustion Engine, and thereafter it is another Total ROUT as the Europeans proceed to waltz all over the world in the colonial era from about 1750 through to 1900 or so.
The process results in Mechanized Warfare which really got underway with WWI, though you can see its beginnings in the War of Southern Secession (aka the Civil War) here in the FSofA . Finally after WWII, the powerful Industrialists are pretty much in control of the entire World, and they have built a HUGE Industrial Plant to build the Weapons of War, but now that they are in control of everything, unless they can put these Factories to other uses, they are malinvestment that will not pay off anymore. To make them continue to pay off, the Bomb Plants are turned into Fertilizer Plants, the Tank Factories are turned into Sports Car factories. The Green Revolution and the Mall Culture is BORN! Here in the FSofA, biggest WINNER after WWII, credit flows out fast and furious as Levittowns are built for the Victorious GIs to come Home and Breed Up the Boomer Generation. Over in Eurotrashland, the Losing Krauts are handed the Marshall Plan to allow them to rebuild what was destroyed of their Industrial Infrastructure, with the SAME folks who owned them before the War STILL in control of them! Together, the Anglo-American Illuminati and the Teutonic Illuminati join forces to turn the world into the Konsumer Paradise of Strip Malls and Ring Roads and Suburban Subdivisions all run on the OIL they now control worldwide, making themselves RICHER THAN GOD, far more wealthy and powerful than any Pharaoh or Chinese Emperor ever was, and really we do not even know who most of them ARE at all.
Industrialization did not arrive because it was FASHIONABLE, nor does it hang around because of that either. It evolved from the Will to Power, a gradual accretion of knowledge over many millenia which first allowed Homo Sapiens just to survive and prosper in a Hostile World where other Predators were Out to Get Him, and then allowed one group of H-S to dominate and squash out of existence other groups.
Where does the EVIL crop up in all this stuff? Tough question to answer, but IMHO it comes once one group becomes vastly more powerful than another group. At this point the Playing Field is no longer LEVEL, and one group can exercise POWER over another group willy-nilly without Consequence to themselves, at least on this side of the Great Divide anyhow. Once nasty consequence to your actions is removed, Evil begins to grow inside the Individual and inside the Society Unchecked. Today, for the top .01%, there are NO nasty consequences to THEM for their actions, only nasty consequences for EVERYBODY ELSE. So they have essentially become completely CONSUMED by Evil at this point.
I still hold out the HOPE that Homo Sapiens can make it through this trial, where Evil has now become so dominant a force in society. If we are to do that, there must be CONSEQUENCES for Acts of Evil. It is up to the GOOD people of the Earth to step up to the Plate now and administer the consequences, or suffer the results of leaving Evil to run amok unchecked in our society.