Family Feuds and Minds for Sale


The chain of arguments which Harari uses to explain how state and market became central to human culture begins with the collapse of the family. Previously, the system which people relied on for all forms of support were family, or at least the community close enough to be considered family. But, as communities dynamics and technology changed, that was no longer possible to maintain. If the family died or a person is ostracized, they have no good course for surviving. With the increased control of the market, individuals were significantly more secure than they used to be because they had resources upon which they could rely on. It was no longer a death sentence to not have a family. Another element that seemed key at least to how society has been showing up in the past few decades/centuries, is that the most value in society no longer comes from raw materials, but inventions and technological improvements. Value is found in the ideas of people, and not manpower for harvesting. Since the market is what determines value, it holds the ultimate power in this situation and is currently more supported by “individuals” than strong families and small communities.

Based on everything we’ve discussed thus far in this course,  and this particular section of Harari, it feels to me that the most valuable role a historian can play in the future of homo sapiens is to provide perspective and insight. It helps to know how things have developed over time, and just how the events our culture regrets came about when considering the types of tech-fixes (and the like) we want to try to implement now, and historians are necessary if that information is going to be put into a format which can be understood by those that need to know it.

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