To be more specific, it’s not that factory jobs are harder or more dangerous for children than farming jobs. It’s that suddenly there’s an opportunity for them NOT to work in that kind of society, so the laws and fashions follow the practicalities.
I would argue that the style of government alters due to the same forces. The economy dictates the method by which the few can control the many, and thus changes perceptions about what KIND of government there should be as well. Everything hinges on economy.
The government part of that theory was suggested to me by my reading on prehistoric communities in the Near East. There was a brief period of sedentism in the Paleolithic that corresponded with a temporary warming trend. See the Natufian culture. No crops were domesticated at the time, but “wild farming” was practiced alongside hunting and gathering. In this society we see a greater disparity in consumption patterns between individuals--in grave goods, especially trade items, you can see differences between those of higher social rank vs. lower rank. This is more pronounced than was previously common among the nomadic cultures of the region.
In a sedentary society the trade can be controlled by a few much more readily. It’s the early Neolithic (farming) societies that evolved big government-look at Mesopotamia and its food distribution system, which is totally impossible in a hunting-gathering community-government, like everything else, must depend on the economy for its nature as well as its size.
That’s not to say that a voluntaryist community or more egalitarian gender roles are impossible in a farming culture, only that without a fair amount of conscious self-organization, it’s a lot likelier to go the way it has historically.
This may suggest that the kind of voluntaryist civilization we posit here on this site could be made more (or less) possible through certain kinds of economies. Also that such a civilization would probably evolve a perception of a fairly small degree of gender difference, which is not to say none at all.
such a civilization would probably evolve a perception of a fairly small degree of gender difference, which is not to say none at all.
I'm more concerned about the range of possible forms of self-expression... I think it matters less what is "normal" as to what is "allowed". This is why I specifically call out enforced monogamy... if it's true that women hate polygamy so much, there's no need to ban it. And if you're banning it, then aren't you restricting people's free choice? The same goes for any kind of family arrangement from the two dads, to two moms, to whatever. Also, I think that we need to distinguish between prohibition and censure... what use is it to be free to express one's alternative sexuality and be a tax slave? If State-protected expression of popularly frowned-upon lifestyles comes at the cost of a big State (and heavy taxes), perhaps we're all better off going back to what we had before... widespread disapproval of certain lifestyles but without active prohibition of them or general enslavement of all of us to the State. In summary, it seems to me that expecting/requiring that people equally approve of all lifestyle choices is actually a kind of "public opinion communism"... instead, we should want to see people free to be bigots (in terms of personal opinions, not actual aggression) if they choose to be, as well as free from prohibition should they choose to live an alternative lifestyle, even if they must do so "quietly" so as not to arouse general disapproval from their neighbors.
Agreed, on all counts. All I'm saying is that the trend as to what is, or is not, socially acceptable has been fairly closely linked to economics all along.