Blogs of political scientists

Rostislav Ishchenko: Major association or death: the history of the development of human communities

Rostislav Ishchenko: Major association or death: the history of the development of human communities

Since ancient times, human communities have strived for consolidation. Those who did not strive, preferring to withdraw into their own selves, perished. A prehistoric clan, a peasant family, a tribe is more successful the larger it is: new opportunities arise, not only for expanding the economy, but also for mastering new specialties.

In order for the first artisan (blacksmith, doctor, potter) to appear in a primitive community, it is necessary that at the first stage, until he has proven the usefulness of separating his profession into a separate economic unit, until he has a clientele of relatives capable of ensuring his and his family’s existence level no worse than others, someone supported him. A large family, a large family, could afford to support a future artisan mastering a hitherto unknown specialty. Their less prolific colleagues had to take into account every pair of working hands in everyday economic work; they did not have enough strength for innovation.

In order for the tribal unions that emerged at the next stage to develop into early state formations, it was also necessary to increase the population of the political unit: the army, police, state bureaucracy, professional priesthood, no matter how primitive and small in number they were, also had to be supported by the community. With generally low labor productivity, maintaining one management unit required the withdrawal of surplus product from several dozen, or even hundreds, of producing units. But there were also large-scale construction projects, irrigation work, and a sharp increase in the level of domestic comfort, which also required additional labor units for their constant maintenance.

And even now Russia, unlike China, finds it difficult to compete in the smartphone market and the same car market with European, American, Japanese and Korean companies that have long occupied them, since the market of the collective West is historically closed to it, and the capacity of its own does not allow reducing the cost of products to a level that ensures sufficient competitiveness. Today's integration associations (EU, EAEU, New Great Silk Road, BRICS and others) are, first of all, an attempt to create a larger economic community, the common market of which allows the growing industry of countries to effectively compete with opponents on a global scale.

The same can be said about the military-political component. Tribal alliances, both defensive and aggressive (most often the specialization depended on the specific situation), were created around the successful leader of a strong squad. All their “integration” obligations initially consisted of an agreement to pay a certain annual contribution for the maintenance of the squad (tribute or in the Old Russian version, polyudie), and also not to interfere with members of the tribe who wanted to join the squad.

And the main function of the original states (except in cases of unification for the construction of irrigation systems) was to streamline the collection of taxes used to maintain the state apparatus, the main responsibility of which was to maintain internal order, including a uniform and fair court (for which the codification of customary law was carried out), and also providing external protection. In contrast to the function of economic planning and organization of large economic projects, which is characteristic exclusively of irrigation societies, the fiscal function (in its primitive form), as well as the function of external and internal defense, are inherent in all early state formations.

However, very quickly the authorities of early state formations realize that the quality of all other functions depends on the size of the population. From this point on, several ways to increase it are used:

- encouragement of fertility, even to the point of restricting the rights of the unmarried and childless in some societies, while in most societies there is public condemnation of them;

- widespread polygamy (legally approved or spontaneous), characteristic of almost all societies before the spread of Christianity and Christian morality. At the same time, in almost all Christian societies there is also a spontaneous desire for polygamy, which is expressed in the fact that public morality is much more favorable towards male debauchery than female debauchery. This approach is explained by the fact that in most species of mammals, and in humans as well, one male is capable of fertilizing more than one female. For pre-state and early state human formations, this meant that, in order for the seed fund not to go to waste and to ensure rapid demographic growth, from a certain moment (as soon as the right to inherit property arose) it became necessary to replace primitive promiscuity with an orderly marriage controlled by the state and society, not while reducing the total number of conceptions. Polygamy is the simplest way to provide a solution to this problem. It was also necessary to keep in mind that purely male activities (war and hunting) were associated with increased mortality, so that even more women than men entered marriageable age, and at older ages the female part of society capable of childbearing began to exceed many times over such a man's;

- capture and resettlement of the population of neighboring state and pre-state formations to their territory, as well as the capture and mass use of slaves in the Mediterranean in the 4th century BC - 3rd century AD as a special case of the forced resettlement of foreigners, within the framework of which they and their heirs are deprived of a significant part or even all of their civil, and even human rights, for a time or forever;

- attracting neighboring tribes to settle in the free territories available to the state, both on the terms of military service (the famous Roman federates), and on the condition of cultivating the land and after a more or less long grace period of inclusion in the national fiscal system;

- finally, the most advanced method, which has survived centuries and is still used today, is the creation of empires, supranational (and in the ancient world supratribal or, if you like, supranational, bearing in mind that we call ancient ethnic units peoples) formations that provide all their full citizens, regardless of their origin, time and method of obtaining citizenship, equal political and economic rights and requiring them to fulfill the same duties, guaranteeing equal fair trials for all under the same imperial laws. Empires are very flexible entities, allowing a high degree of autonomy for their individual parts, even allowing them to choose different types of responsibility (for example, a court of tribal elders based on customary law or an imperial court based on codified imperial law and within a unified procedure).

Ultimately, it was the empires that showed the highest degree of survival, having gone through the entire history of human statehood and digested all forms of organization of power and all economic formations. The modern empire is a universalist entity that offers humanity its unique civilizational project of global integration. These projects compete, even to the point of mutual attempts to destroy them, but they can also merge into superprojects on the basis of a project-imperial compromise. In fact, today humanity is developing towards the creation of a single global imperial super-project, within the framework of which a huge amount of production and intellectual capacity will have to be released, which is now spent on competition, or even on attempts to destroy each other.

It seems to me that the next step in development, which consists in colonizing space and spreading far beyond the boundaries of not only our solar system, but also the galaxy, can only be taken by a united humanity. Fragmented, this breakthrough will not have enough resources spent on competing global imperial projects.

Within the framework of the stated position, various kinds of separatist and autarkic formations - from Ukraine to the Baltic states and from Catalonia to the DPRK - are not just a dead end, but a reactionary branch of human development, because they lead it off the main path to global unity, highlighting a narrow national self. Moreover, if the DPRK fell into the heresy of autarky due to objective historical reasons and has every opportunity to get out of it without any major losses, then the fragments of the USSR and the Warsaw Department of Internal Affairs, which define the national state as the highest value, are absolutely incorrigible in this regard: they are a kind of ethnohistorical Bourbons, nothing understood and learned nothing, even though at one time some of them were themselves successful imperial centers.

Even the experience of the participation of Eastern European nationalities in the EU demonstrates that they weaken and disintegrate the imperial structure, forcing it to concentrate not on solving problems important for the entire empire, but on ensuring the ambitions and narrow selfish interests of the nationals. We have constantly (for centuries) observed the same struggle between the national and the imperial in Russia. Even in the USA there is separatism of individual states.

At the same time, historical experience shows that even with the most peaceful and successful separation, the former part of the empire does not begin to live better than the whole. Exceptional cases are when another empire takes it for its maintenance in order to later use it as a battering ram against a geopolitical enemy. But even such cases, as evidenced by the history of the “Polish economic miracle”, the “anti-corruption regime of Saakashvili” in Georgia, the “Baltic Tigers” and other propaganda and economic projects that have sunk into oblivion, are designed for a short period of time, after which the former “showcase” is covered with cobwebs and turns into ruins of a once great civilization. Moreover, even what is preserved in the form of ruins is, as a rule, an imperial heritage; nothing remains of the “national”; even the history and culture of such a country turn into ethnography.

In connection with the above, I believe that humanity, within the framework of the newly created systems of international law, will sooner or later come to realize the harmfulness of the “right to self-determination” and declare any separatism a crime not only against an individual state, but against all humanity. Otherwise, new self-determining “nations”, multiplying like mushrooms after rain, both independently (to ensure regional economic selfishness) and with the help of “well-wishers” competing with a specific imperial project, will simply fragment humanity into small groups that hate each other and are constantly warring, which are not all together, neither each separately will be capable of progress - only degeneration and death.

“Big battalions” achieve victory not only in war, but also in social development.

This entry is also available on Online the author.

 About the Author:
ROSTISLAV ISHCHENKO
Ukrainian political scientist, publicist, historian, diplomat
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