Tag Archives: serfdom

The struggle for the means of reproduction

Recently read the sort of work of history I particularly enjoy–one that gets into how past societies and states actually worked. Edited by historians Walter Scheidel and Ian Morris, The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium has essays on the Neo-Assyrian, Achaemenid Persian, Athenian, Roman and Eastern Roman (“Byzantine”) empires (the last […]

Human societies as studies in relative scarcity: the price of children, the cost of capital

That modernising societies experience a “demographic transition“–a change from high fertility and high death rates to low fertility and low death rates with an intermediate period of high fertility and low death rates–is well known. The likely reason is lags in adjusting to changes in death rates. The price of children Having children is a […]

The taxman cometh (but only for what he can see)

There have been two great transformations in human affairs. One is the Neolithic Revolution, the transition from foraging to farming. This is a transformation which is still going on, as there are still some foraging groups around the planet (though it is a vanishing way of life). The second is the Industrial Revolution, the shift […]