Excerpts from Introduction to Third Phase Transition: Solving The Anthropocene Crisis

On human nature and class society

“At the proto-historic pre-stages of class society, with their typical domestication of slave labour, human cooperation had been brutalised. A minority of men had conquered power, as an enclosed cooperation, in a sect-like community above general cooperation. They could live relieved from toil, at the expense of human collaboration. They had thereby acquired a special interest in spreading the cooperation of the labouring population. Such segregated leadership versus massive incapacitation, would remain the hallmark of human cooperation throughout civilisation. This fundamental feature would constantly reproduce itself down to the micro level. It would produce hierarchies, that were not founded in selecting those most merited for tasks. Rather they would form through self-selection of those most self-interested. Their climbing up the social ladder, would form the socially fertile soil, of what was to eventually become politics.

But such association by segregation, was to be fully realised and constituted as organising principle, only with the advent of class society. The great historical achievement of class society was that it institutionalised human labour and its division as an exploitative social relation, optimising the development of productive forces – social exploitation of surrounding nature, through the leverage of exploiting human nature. At the most general level, class society and its metabolism corresponded to remaining scarcity in the means of cooperation.

“Class society arose and constituted itself under the pressure from labour’s social mutiny against the rule of robbers. The system appeared as an historical solution to this active or latent plunder crisis within humanity. It had been emerging as massive development features, until finally finding its self-organising principle: development of productive forces through production relations among social classes. Put in metabolic terms, this formula corresponds to exploitation of nature by exploitation of human labour.”

“The new order substituted private property in land and the territorial state for tribalism. These more robust, durable, and inclusive forms of association were to prove their force of social cohesion. Linear metabolism had reached its characteristic level in right of association – class society.”

“The prevailing principle of association by class division, characteristic of the second phase of human metabolism, had been the powerhouse of civilisation. Combining the motive forces of human cooperative development with the incentives of class society, channelling, amplifying, and extending this cooperative development, humanity had achieved to grow from local isolation and meagre material conditions to accelerating labour productivity, and eventually merging into global interconnectedness. Cooperative development and class division once were as synonyms, the latter expressing the former under unevenly scarce conditions. Now, however, they have become opposite and incompatible, as demonstrated by the Anthropocene crisis.”

Now, class society is no longer possible. And means of cooperation are becoming abundant. Massive incapacitation of human association within the earth system has become obsolete. In fact, it expresses the former productive forces transforming into an aggregate destructive force. Realising that human division of labour cannot and must not continue in oppressive and exploitative forms, should lead to the conclusion that constructively working for a global social mutiny is the path that is left, for solving the Anthropocene crisis.”

“The present disintegration of class society, if not progressively solved by global social mutiny, will follow a social path of criminalisation in human relations. It would spell a devastating relapse into barbarism, accentuated by the abundant means of cooperation at its armed disposal.”

“The constitutional principles of class society – state and property – do no longer hold any possibility of furthering human cooperation. Generalised associationism needs to de-segregate and de-propriate human cooperation, in order to complete the third phase transition.”

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