Thursday, October 10, 2013

Empires

If money is one of the most potent digestive juices in the global cultural alimentary system, empires are the teeth. I'm just starting on Harari's empire lectures (Week 9), but he has already noted that these days empires have a really bad press. According to him, this critique is based on two notions: first, that empires don't work and second, that they are evil. He thinks that the first claim is nonsense and the second problematic, and notes that most people in the World have been ruled by empires for the last 2500 years.

He also notes that the scale of empires has changed drastically over the millenia, with the Athenian Empire ruling over a small part of modern Greece and the largest empire of modern times, the British, ruling big chunks of 5 continents. This is due mostly to the disintegration and disappearance of smaller cultures.