As the Band Breaks Up…


According to Harari, the state and the market allowed people to become individuals in the world and have freedoms beyond their family structure, tradition and community. Harari says that with the state and the market that people could rely more heavily on the system to continue to have their basic needs met; Harari writes, “A person who lost her family and community around 1750 was as good as dead” (Harari 358). State and market created the possibilities for alternative ways of life that were previously inconceivable and inspired people to create paths away from their families, home and communities in unprecedented ways. Whereas since the beginning of human history it has been the role of the youth to care for the elders once they have received the support they need to grow, modern culture leaves the elderly to be cared for by strangers in strange places- if they are lucky. We can see clearly a difference in parts of the world that are still developing and how the idea of family and culture have shifted less dramatically though security and freedom are less available to all.


It seems very likely that humans will move further and further from our roots of centralized groups of people and generational livelihoods. In my extended family for example, we are spread out across the country on all sides, have chosen largely different life paths, have had incredibly different experiences and hold a range of varying beliefs. It is my hypothesis that we will only continue to spread further down the generations and I think historians might estimate the same. I think historians should play the role of looking at how and when these changes occurred, such as state and market, and what new systems might bring in terms of change in human culture.

2 thoughts on “As the Band Breaks Up…”

  1. Hi Ellie! First off, I love your title, it’s awesome. I really like that in the first paragraph you use Harari’s example of the woman losing her family in 1750, I thought it was a nice way to frame the idea that back then if you had no family, you could do nothing. I also thought that using the example of the elders was pertinent as well. Your second paragraph is nice as well. I particularly enjoyed that you used a personal example to make your point clear. On your point with historians, do you think historians should perhaps attempt to keep familial bonds so they are not entirely lost?

  2. Really great work summarizing some of the ideas Harari digs into in this section Ellie. The mentioning of how market and state allowed individuals to go beyond what their family did as well as have other resources available to them was an aspect I really enjoyed in this section as well. Although I think its very interesting to entertain how Harari mentions this amount of freedom is rather overwhelming for some and to put so much trust in a system of economy and government instead of a their family and neighbors. It makes me think about how happy people would be in a smaller community of like 50-100 people where they all have jobs and a part to play but not as much freedom.

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