How do we get from capitalism to socialism?

Ever since the October Revolution 100 years ago today, socialists have spoken as if revolution – the seizure of state power from the capitalists by violent or nonviolent means – has been the be all and end all. Yet capitalism emerged gradually within the belly of the beast, as it were. It could be argued that capitalism emerged in the process of feudal societies trading with each other. While feudal societies taxed their peasants so that the aristocratic elites could enjoy the fruits of surplus, it was the merchants involved in trade that were able to accumulate sufficient capital to […]

The Rise of Classes

One of Lanchester’s points in his New Yorker article, “The Case Against Civilization” that I wrote about in my last blog  is that it took 4000 years for hunter-gatherer societies to settle down and adopt an agricultural system. They were reluctant because hunting and gathering worked just fine for them, thank you very much. He doesn’t say it, but one can surmise that ultimately force was involved, because once agriculture predominates, you also get taxation, writing – originally developed to keep track of taxes – and the State, with the development of classes, one of the oppressor and one of […]