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History of Social Systems

LoneBear's picture
Submitted by LoneBear on Thu, 02/20/2014 - 10:48

"Each person inherits the external world through birth. The social world is created by those inhabiting the external world."

Like it or not, Society Has Classes

There are four concepts important to the social history of our planet: culture, society, the social system and the group:


Patterns of life describing how to live in a society. The totality of what people learn, share and transmit by means of interaction within a group.


Traditions, rules of behavior and patterns for getting things done that must be learned.

Social System

An abstraction; a model that illustrates how social relationships work in a group. Each part of a social system is interdependent and interconnected to every other part. The primary condition of any social system is that individuals must be assigned status in order to carry out roles.


An association of independent and unconnected individuals where there is no status and roles are chosen by the individual. (Note that this is a psychological definition, not a conventional one, since many people use the term "group" where they actually mean a social system.)

The social system implies that there is a clear "pecking order" of who assigns whom to which status and role, typically based on seniority, rather than ability. The "sovereign" therefore becomes the "subject" of those of higher status. This is very different from the concept of the group, where people come together for a specific purpose, for the status and roles that they have assigned to themselves. Social systems and groups both have their advantages:

Benefits of Social Systems Benefits of Groups
  • Gives life predictability.
  • Keeps new learning to a minimum.
  • Forces interaction through competition, conflict and exchange (systems of rivalry).
  • Gives life diversity.
  • Maximizes new learning.
  • Level of interaction is chosen by individuals and tends to be cooperative (systerms of rapport).

As you can see, social systems and groups are inversely related; the benefits of one are the detriments of the other.

Social System Trends

Evolution is from small, traditional societies (known as Gemeinshaft) with a few simple roles, towards large associations with many roles (called Gesellschaft). The culmination of social system evolution is a single, global society with many rules, regulations and many complex, variable roles resulting in a large class separation from assignment of status, with total interdependence and little to no individual freedom. This is known these days as the New World Order, which is actually an oxymoron, since it is the culmination of the Old World ideals.

The ultimate expression of a social system in an industrial society is the Corporation, where individuals are assigned "job titles" (status), with specific duties to perform (roles), and little to no freedom to move outside their status or role, except for death or attrition. It is the current trend of western civilization to make everything into a corporation; towns, cities, states and even governments are now "municipal corporations" operating under one set of rules, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). These days, our planet should be called Ferenginar, not "Earth!"

Development of Social Systems: Out of Order Comes Chaos

Humans are group-oriented mammals that achieve survival and acquire human nature as a result of being members of groups.

Within groups, individuals have certain abilities that are beneficial to others. This service is requested by others and when provided, it develops into a role for the individual. The importance of this role towards survival gives this person status. Once status is achieved, that person begins to decide the status and roles of others, based on demonstrated ability, to aid in the execution of survival-oriented roles.

After time, there is a hierarchy of people providing the survival needs of the group, rather than one individual. However, that individual still has his original status, which is elevated to an "adviser," since they can no longer perform their original role, due to age or disability. This is the developmental stage of the "Tribe" and its "Chief," in the autocratic, hunter/gatherer society.

The next step is the domestication of food animals, which localizes the nomadic hunter/gatherer tribes to a specific area that has the necessary resources for herding animals (food, water, minimal predation). At this time, survival roles change--the hunter is less important, since the animals are convenient and passive. Because tribes are no longer on the move, possessions begin to accumulate. This is the start of capitalism and the shift of power from the person who is the best provider for the tribe, to the person with the most possessions—capital or wealth.

A class separation occurs between the "haves" and the "have-nots." The "haves" give some of what they "have" to the "have-nots" to create a militia to protect what they "have left." The tribe size increases, resulting in a pastoral/herding society, typically ruled by a despot.

Individual freedoms are then sacrificed for the security of the tribe because pastoral people do not have an aggressive hunting nature and become unable to defend themselves, their families and their possessions. However, since there are still hunter/gather tribes around looking for a cheap, "take away" meal, warfare also becomes a way of life.

Birth of Horticulture, the Agrarian Society and Class Separation

As tribes become less nomadic, the males are typically assigned the role of herdsmen, caring for the flocks and protecting them from predation as a leftover from the hunter instinct. The females, remaining encamped for security and to teach and protect the young, develop agriculture as an alternate and supplementary food source. This begins the horticultural phase of society. At this phase, food is still in demand and not plentiful. The tribal chief moves from the autocracy to the monarchy, a family line rule from the old despot line.

Enter the discovery of the plow and the start of the agrarian society. Males begin plowing the fields, instead of herding on them. Life styles become very settled, now that most men are staying encamped as well. Population size explodes and creates large families to tend the fields.

Agriculture produces more food than herding, so an abundance of food occurs giving free time to pursue non-survival related activities. This is the onset of mechanization—tools and technology.

In agrarian society, a distinct class separation sets in. With surplus food, there is a flow of capital. The merchant class arises and the society splits into four major divisions: nobility (those assigning status and roles), military (defense of society), merchant (trading surplus) and peasant (field and herd workers).

As a point of interest, this also forms the four suits of the Tarot and the suits of the common deck of playing cards:

Class Function Tarot Suit Common Card Deck Suit
Nobility Assign status and role Cups Hearts
Merchant Trade surplus Coins Diamonds
Military Defend society Swords Clubs
Peasant Execute assigned roles Staffs Spades

Land is held by the Nobility, worked by the Peasants and defended by the Military. The fruits of labor are exchanged by the Merchants for luxuries, which makes people happy and more productive, providing more fruits of labor and more luxuries. This results in increased population and a growing economy.

The Peasants Are Revolting!

The basic freedom to control the circumstances of your own survival (dominant in prior societies) has been violated by the agrarian society with monarchic rule, as the only class that actually produces something are the peasants. Luxuries are collected by the Nobility (usually in excess) by using the military to extract some of the fruits of labor of the peasants for protection (taxation). The Nobility class, itself, produces nothing. Their sole function was to assign status and roles. But there are seldom openings in the ruling family tree for jobs, so the assignment of status and roles gets delegated to the Merchants (business) and Military (police). The Nobility must justify their existence through the use of laws and regulation, thereby turning the population into a class of criminals (see Law and Government).

Revolt of the peasants occurs, whom have the largest population, and laws are instituted to control the Nobility and restore some of that freedom. From this develops the constitutional monarchy of agrarian society which, as population grows, develops into theocracies, aristocracies and oligarchies.

With surplus food, trade, security and free time, creativity and invention take dominance and the age of industrialization, industrial society, begins. What was once small herding camps become large cities, along with the concept of urbanization.

Industrial society is mechanized and organized. Automation replaces many of the simple "peasant" tasks, such as milking cows, herding and reaping crops. Because of the number of people involved in the urbanized, industrial society, the nobility class develops rapidly into a bureaucracy—formal societies with the role of assigning status and roles to "subjects." This is the birth of bureaucracy as democracy and ochlocracy.

Merchants: 1, Nobility: 0

The availability of roles in a mechanized environment is limited and people are forced to relocate to survive in order to obtain a status/role in the "big machine." Traditional family ties are replaced with pseudo-family groups, a loose association of friends and co-workers, substituting impersonal relationships for kinship.

Surrogate activities and distraction become commonplace (sex and violence), because all the survival necessities are provided for by the society, rather than the individual. A large welfare state develops, composed of the former peasant class, which—due to automation—performs no useful function for the survival of the industrial society, save "do you want fries with that?"

Industry begins to supersede government simply because it can supply more status and roles to the society at large. The current plethora of government-sponsored social programs is its attempt to provide these "roles" without providing associated "status" and is doomed to failure, for the only "status" a government social program can provide is the victim status—the worse the victimization, the higher the "status."

As a natural consequence, corporations (originally the merchant class) will take over the nobility class and begin dictating the rules and structure of society, where former nobility becomes the military class—the enforcement branch of the merchants. This is done without the knowledge and consent of the governed, who have raised the old nobility class to that of a godhead—after all, they have had centuries of practice with this. Nobility are kept around as puppet leaders, to visibly pass and enforce the laws and regulations of the merchant class, which is now acting as a hidden, corporate government.

This paradigm shift will produce a lot of role confusion, as the merchants are now the nobility, the nobility becomes the military, and the military becomes the "new" peasants (trained, security dogs to enforce laws), leaving no role for the original "peasants" at all, except as "victims" to keep the puppet leaders in office.

Peasants, without status or role and trapped in an urban environment still need to eat and live and turn to crime to obtain the essentials of life. Unlike their ancestors, the urban peasant class has no familiarity with the land (or nature) and cannot survive on their own outside the urban areas, where they can live on the wastes of the employed peasant class and "welfare programs" that do the absolute minimum to assure their votes.

We have now reached the Gesellschaft, the huge society with many, many roles, and total role confusion. Everyone is out trying to find "truth," because society is no longer providing truth, let alone education—which is what society was created to do. The merchants are no longer satisfied with trading surplus goods, but now want it all, since the society has degenerated to where people no longer produce surplus, but over-consuming and destroying the surplus that has been built up over the decades. The Nobility class does not perform any useful function and the only mechanisms they have to continue to assign status and roles is to put people in their employ. The function of "nobility" is now seen to govern (regulate), not to execute the functions assigned to it by the People. Therefore, all roles assigned by government are to increase regulation, which decreases freedom. And they control the Military class to enforce those regulations, rather than protect the property and lives of the tribe, as was its purpose.

Out of Chaos Comes Order: The New World Order

The change in class function and confusion of roles has culminated in chaos and the emergence of a control on chaos to bring order—a totalitarian oligarchy—the New World Order, where the world is becoming one giant corporation with puppet leadership (the United Nations), for the sole benefit of the members of the Merchant class. The only way it can continue to grow is to continue to increase regulation and reduce freedom, like that old saying concerning the definition of a "specialist": "a person who learns more and more, about less and less, until they know everything about nothing." The New World Order can only continue until they have total regulation of every activity and no freedom within the non-Merchant classes. At that point, the system has reached maximum entropy, and must fail.

The peasants will be revolting... again.

Note on "2012": There has been a lot of "end of the world" associated with the purported end of the Mayan calendar (it is not the end, just the start of a new Baktun cycle), with people stocking up food and munitions. It seems to me that it is more wishful thinking--they are hoping for a catastrophe, to return society to a simpler structure and restores role, status and thus purpose back to their lives.The destruction of the economy--the removal of the merchants as the ruling class--appears to be the motivation behind the 2012 preparations.