What happened to the family?

According to Harari, States and markets replaced nuclear families and communities. Before there were states and markets, individuals’ lives were based around their families and communities. As Harari states, “Most people worked in the family business – the family farm or the family workshop… The family was also the welfare system, the health system, the education system, the construction industry, the trade union, the pension fund, the insurance company, the radio, the television, the newspaper, the bank and even the police.” If the family could not do something within those many factors, they looked toward their communities to help out. Humans had evolved this way and had learned over thousands of years to work within their families. Once the state and the market became a thing they slowly replaced everything a family could do. The market became an individuals construction company, insurance company, radio, television, and so on. The state became a family’s police, education, health care and so on. People no longer had to depend on their family and could become an individual who lead their own life and made their own choices. It is very easy to see today that the state and the market became the central aspects of human culture. We still have families, but we do not rely on them the same way.


Historians are great teachers that can show us what mistakes we have made in the past. They can also show us what we may do in the future, which could be leading ourselves to our end. Historians are here to tell new generations what happened millions of years ago and what we have done only fifty years ago. In a way they are like fathers, telling their sons the mistakes they made in their lives and what they should try to avoid in order to live long happy lives with no regrets. They could also be the disappointed parents that knows their kid is not going anywhere cause we are so doomed, and even though they are trying to teach us, we have just reached a point of no return.

1 thought on “What happened to the family?”

  1. I think that you sum up Hararis feelings on the disappearance of the family and local community very well. As all of this coincides with the industrial revolution, according to Harari, and the advent of faster communication, I think that as the world becomes even more interconnected, eg instant translators, faster ways of traveling and various forms of social media, we will further from our localized, familial risk management systems. That is, we will rely more on people even further removed from us than we do now. In this way, I think that the community has just expanded rather than completely disappeared. Your thoughts on the importance of historians is also pretty spot on. They say that hindsight is 20/20 and historians can look at and understand why a certain event has happened which can give us insight into how it might happen again.

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