On Thursday, Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute sent out the second article in a series of five by him. They are from a book he has coming out in September, Power: Limits and Prospects for Human Survival. (Click on More … for the whole second article.) — MCM
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‘The Evolution of Social Power’ / By Richard Heinberg
We are all enmeshed in fascinating and often daunting webs of social power. From laws to police and prisons, to armies and weaponry, to fame and high political office, to paychecks and taxes, to debt and credit, to advertising and public relations, to propaganda, to household and workplace gender dynamics, to organizational chains of command, to extremes of wealth and poverty, people have found endless ways of modifying one another’s behavior to suit their wants and needs.
These proliferating abilities to influence others are rooted in nature. All social animals have hierarchies (like the pecking order in my backyard flock of hens), and some animals are territorial, excluding others of their kind from access to mating opportunities or food. Some creatures (like ants) have even evolved a clearly defined division of labor. But we humans have managed to take social organization to extremes, empowering some and disempowering others in ways that are sometimes brutal beyond comprehension. How and why have we done this?
As a result of decades of work by anthropologists, archaeologists, psychologists, and biologists, answers are falling into place. It turns out that the chief initial players in the drama of evolving social power were language, food, fighting, and reproduction. More …
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For information about the book and how to join a pre-release reading and discussion group please see postcarbon.org/power. To read the first article in the series, see Museletter #337 or https://www.x-ma911truthwalk.com/power/.