Change

Before the Industrial Revolution most of the property in the world was owned by absolute monarchs, and parceled out to others at their whim, to be taken back equally whimsically. Over a period of 250 years or so, this entire system disappeared, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, to be replaced by the one we know.  Clearly there is nothing about the rights of property that are bound by nature. They can be redefined at will.

The capitalist economic system operates as a positive feedback loop. The more resources you have the easier it is to get more. This describes a runaway effect: nuclear fission is an example of a positive feedback loop. A thermostat, on the other hand, operates as a negative feedback loop, and has the effect of putting a natural limit on the phenomenon in question. Those born to wealth will in their time tend acquire even more wealth, while those at the bottom will tend to have less and less. The odds are astronomically high that any particular person born in the world at any given moment will find themselves at or near the very bottom. This fact in itself makes me very skeptical of the “we chose our position in life in order to learn certain lessons” school of thought. Why would so many agree to such a miserable existence? 

It is not as if we could simply opt out. All of the livable space in the world is controlled, and access to it requires paying rent. We do not have the basic right of every wild animal, the right to exist unmolested on the planet, making our own way. There is nowhere in the world that you can do that, even if you could afford to go to such a place. We are born in a specific country, a completely artificial construct, yet one which, second only to our parentage, will largely determine our fate. We cannot simply choose to belong to a different country, except by dint of monumental effort we are tied to one place, one political entity. That political entity has life and death power over you. It can order you to fight to the death on its behalf. It can take away your freedom of movement and action for the rest of your life, or even take away your life itself if it so chooses. 

Perhaps the most important feature of our societal system is that we believe that it is the best way of life ever invented, and everyone in the world should live that way.  The idea of opting out is thought of as aberrant. The only way forward is more and better civilization. All other choices are unthinkable.

Yet all of it is a human construct. Nothing about the way society operates is dictated by any natural law. Gravity and friction are examples of natural law. We are bound by their effects no matter how much we may deny their existence. Countries and civilizations and economies are artificial constructs made up by people, and their rules were made up by people, and could just as well be completely different. Countless varieties of society have existed throughout history. All of these things that absolutely govern our lives are constructs that we collectively agree to. They are constructs that can change, will change, indeed are changing right now. 

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