Friday, February 22, 2013

New book coming soon

From the prolog:

Seven or eight thousand years ago, early agriculturalists living in the fertile drainage valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were struggling with a climate crisis. The spring rains that they depended on to kick-start their crops were coming later and later every year. In some years they didn’t come at all. Many folks were abandoning the farming lifestyle altogether, reclaiming their birthright as members of a nomadic foraging species, and moving to where antelope and nut trees and other sources of food were still prevalent and more predictable. Out of ingenuity or out of sheer desperation—or both—some of those who stayed behind began to reroute local runoff streams and to scratch channels into the clay to bring water from the river to quench their sunbaked fields. 

It worked. 

But the devil included something sinister in the bargain. The use of irrigation to coordinate, direct, and control the flow of water requires a corresponding ability to coordinate, direct, and control the flow of human labor power necessary to dig the ditches and man the floodgates. And a brand new technology was born, a kind of social technology that was inconceivable just a few centuries before: hierarchically organized systems of authority and power. 

Human history since then has been a protracted tale of the proliferation, repurposing, innovative expansion, and brutal application of these technologies of social control.

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