From Family to State

According to Harari, the state and the market replaced the family and the local community as the central aspects of human culture. This is a result of many different factors. An example of such a factor that led to the collapse of family and local community was the ever increasing involvement by state to solve family vendettas once taken care of within the family. Another factor is the idea of becoming individuals. “’Become individuals,’ they said. ‘Marry whomever you desire, without asking permission from parents. Take up whatever job suits you, even if community elders frown. Live wherever you wish, even if you cannot make it every week to the family dinner. You are no longer dependent on your family or community. We, the state and the market, will take care of you instead. We will provide food, shelter, education, health, welfare, and employment. We will provide pensions, insurance, and protection”(Harari , 359). So what once was a community or a family, solving problems on their own, relying on each other within the community or family for safety, health or education, has become a bunch of individuals relying on state and market instead.

When considering the future or end of homo sapiens, I think the role that historians will have is an important one. Engineers and scientists can try to solve current issues or prevent something from occurring, but historians will be the ones that can relate the current to the past. Historians are able to see a more broad picture. They focus on more than just the specific task at hand that the engineer or scientist will be focusing on, and I think a broad outlook, presenting possibilities and weighing consequences will be a very important role that historians will play and are playing as humankind progresses through time.

3 thoughts on “From Family to State”

  1. I think you made a lot of very valid points in this post. I agree the Harari makes a very compelling argument for the downfall of the family and the rise of the individual. I reflected heavily on the reality of this notion that the individual has risen to importance in society and how the market revolves around this idea. I wonder however if it is true that the family structure has completely disappeared from society or has it evolved into something different. I would argue that the necessity for tight families has decreased over the centuries. Also I think you are spot on with the understanding that historians add a valuable resource to those who choose to predict the future.

  2. I enjoyed reading your blog post, I also was intrigued by Harari’s strong argument towards the decrease of family ties in the presence of new protection of the state and the market. Reading Cole’s comment, I agree that maybe the family structure has changed more than disappeared as we still see strong family values and some family businesses still up and running. Though our families give us emotional support and possibly financial, once we are adults most of our support comes from the jobs we have and the government’s involvement. Historians working together with scientists give us a better chance at avoiding past mistakes and making better decisions about the society’s future.

  3. I think you made a fantastic point! Your first paragraph (and your quote in particular) is spot on! The state and market really were efficient in creating the outcome that they wanted. There have been and still are generations of helpless individuals who completely rely on the state and market to gain fundamental aspects of life. (No, I’m not just talking about welfare, I am also talking about public school systems). In doing so, they have generations billions of dollars in services. What a genius idea! However, this leads to several debates about the positives and negatives this leaves us as a society.

    I also agree with your point on historians. They specialize in a field that requires you to look at a situation from hundreds of perspectives. Which gives them a unique view on every situation, making them extremely valuable for looking at future issues.

    Thank you for sharing!

Comments are closed.