Author Topic: The New Class War  (Read 1730 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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The New Class War
« on: June 15, 2017, 11:53:25 »
https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/05/new-class-war/

Way too filled with goodness to highlight anything with a teaser.  It is as well put together, well argued and as insightful as anything I have read.  And remarkably short of invective.

The real revelation to me was the appearance in 1902 of a realistic prediction of our modern world.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 11:59:50 »
Some thoughts after digestion.....

Slime mold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-veC-f7Ou4  I've used it before.

Just to recap a slime mold is a sexual organism that requires a mate to reproduce when it is wandering in the wilderness living off the land.  When it finds a mate it then agglomerates with its offspring and gets all lazy and incestuous, locking itself into one place and reproducing until it has sucked up all the available resources.  Then, as it is stressed and can't do anything else, it is forced to disperse -sending its offspring far and wide to look for a mate in the wilderness and, just like Michael Finnegan, begin again.

Quote
Hobson further warned: “The greater part of Western Europe might then assume the appearance and character already exhibited by tracts of country in the South of England, in the Riviera, and in the tourist-ridden or residential parts of Italy and Switzerland, little clusters of wealthy aristocrats drawing dividends and pensions from the Far East, with a somewhat larger group of professional retainers and tradesmen and a large body of personal servants.” The “little clusters” of rich rentiers and their professional retainers and menial servants bring to mind today’s increasingly stratified “global cities” like London, New York, and San Francisco, embedded in nation-states with large tracts of derelict, former industrial zones.
  From "The New Civil War"

Quote
Cities are the manifestation of the cultural, economic and social acceleration that we have experienced in our modern history. In 1950 about 2/3 of the population worldwide lived in rural settlements and 1/3 in urban settlements. By 2050, we will observe roughly the reverse distribution, with more than 6 billion people living in the messy, burgeoning athmosphere of urbanized areas.
According to the Sustainable Urbanization Policy Brief, urban centres currently occupy less than 5% of the world’s landmass. Nevertheless they account for around 70% of both global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. Innovation in urban infrastrucure and technology is essential when addressing this issue. For instance, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by up to 1.5 billion CO2e annually by 2030, primarily through transformative change in transport systems in the world’s 724 largest cities[1].
https://morphocode.com/global-trends-urbanisation/

So....2050 2/3 of 9 billion on 5% of the land mass consuming a bit more than 2/3 of the resources available.
The corollary is 1/3 of 9 billion have the remaining 95% of the land mass and dominate the resources the other 2/3 consume.

So, an "at risk" population of 6 billion people, at risk of famine, plague, pestilence, invasion, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic ashclouds and whatever else the gods can throw at them and their walls.  And as the threats pile up, as the resources get stretched, as the waste products accrue, then the more those 6 billion will turn on themselves, and on the others outside the cities.  But they will find the others elusive targets.  There are no major clusters to defeat. Their internal fights will be more effective.

On the other hand a population of 3 billion people free to roam the worlds land and oceans using the resources they find to hand.

And peculiarly modern technologies - especially wind, solar and hydro - enhance the probabilities of survival of the nomadic 3 billion.  They are inefficient as power supplies for cities, but they are sufficiently efficient to provide a modern lifestyle to an isolated single family homestead.  Similarly one hole outhouses are inefficient in high-rises but adequate for the cottage.

So, over the long haul, the cities are likely to fail.  The nomads are likely to prevail. 

Time for dispersion? 

Dispersed urbanites would have to learn how to compete with the established nomads. 

And I hear banjos......


« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 16:32:25 by Chris Pook »
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2017, 13:02:33 »
Continuing thoughts.....

Given the above, what of cities?

Do they revert back to being emporia, places where the "nomads" go to get the things they need and want that they can't find or make themselves?

In that case the cities are dominated by merchants.  Merchants accumulate wealth when they "buy low and sell high".  The lowest buy is free.  Free happens when you sit on top of the resource.  A close approximation to free is if you can make it yourself and control the cost of production.

Old cities were, in my opinion, built on this model.  Emporia dominated by merchants attracted people to make the stuff that the merchants could sell.  And thus the artisan class. 

But the artisan class grows and needs more bread and water and wants a bit of gold as well.  And order needs to be created.  And thus the priests and lawyers and soldiers.

But the new cities, the new emporia, don't need the artisans, or at least not as many.  Most of the goods the merchants need produced can be produced by robots - both the new, flexible mobile types and the slightly older, inflexible, immobile types known as automated factories.  The only artisans necessary are the technicians necessary to create and maintain the robots.  And few of them are required.  Does it become easier to maintain order?  If so what of the priests, lawyers and soldiers?

One of the other outcomes of urbanization, from the stand point of the merchant class, is that it is losing its markets.  Too many of its customers, with their own independent, if meagre, wealth are moving to the merchants' emporia and demanding to be made employees, employees that the merchants have to support - cutting into the merchants' wealth and generally making life harder for them.

The merchants are forced to look to find ways to make money by making goods that other emporia aren't.  But what happens when all goods can be produced everywhere (everywhere there are robots and technicians) for the same price?  Where is the competitive advantage that allows tulips to be exchanged for bread?

Suppose the riots when cops are involved in shootings are the indicator of the merchants losing control of their emporia.  Suppose Trump, and Brexit, and LePen, and Corbyn are the indicator of the merchants losing control of the "nomads".  Is there an inchoate sense amongst the merchants of this loss of control?  Their inability to impose their order both inside and outside their emporia?  That their priests and lawyers and soldiers are no longer getting the job done?  That their law no longer runs even as far as a half-day horse-ride from their castles? And what future do their priests, lawyers and soldiers see?

And the world looks more like the borderlands - like Northern Ireland, like the Western Marches, like the Cumberland Gap, the Cevennes, Catalonia, Basquia, Ukraine, Syria, the North West Frontier, XinJiang, Mongolia?

And Hobbes was right all along.....

I suppose a rich merchant, with only a few artisans and robots to support, could afford to buy an army but armies have been successful at repelling nomads.  They have been less successful at subduing nomads, much less still eliminating them.  And, in any event, why would a rational merchant want to eliniate his customers?
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 13:10:44 by Chris Pook »
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Offline Kat Stevens

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 15:35:13 »
When walled city states have encountered large nomadic populations, traditionally they haven't fared particularly well. Gooooooooo NOMADS!
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

“In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage.”

 Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2017, 20:42:18 »
Unlike the past, I suspect that the distributed powers of computation, manufacturing and energy production will lead to "islanding" of small units. Villages, towns and even city neighbourhoods could become largely self sufficient, rather than nomadic in nature.

Indeed, it is a bit harder to envision a"nomadic" lifestyle these days, unless you are looking at the far future in space. Even the Humongous in "The Road Warrior" needed control of the oil pump and refinery to continue in his lifestyle, and much of what we take for granted as necessities of life require a fairly large and complex infrastructure and logistical chain to provide.

This is bad for the sorts of people and institutions in positions of power these days, built as they are around the centralized control and distribution of resources. The "information" industry is showing the future, as media and entertainment companies suddenly find their markets cut out from under them and upstarts with low cost, studio quality equipment and access to global audiences take their place. Even trying to deprive people of their platform works against you; as an example "Just Right", which was once a small local show on Radio Western offended some SJW sensibility and to was "suspended" (although never officially cancelled). The people who did the show moved to shortwave radio and podcasts, and now have a global audience.....

So I think the future will be far different than either Utopian or Dystopian writers predicted. The institutions and structures which underpin the new society will be quite different from what we are used to today, but will reflect the social, economic and demographic trends of the near future.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2017, 10:34:22 »
I used “nomad” in a broad sense.  Probably not incompatible with the dispersed or distributed society.

My ancestors on the borders, and in the not so distant past at that, lived in cabins – a term they brought with them to the Appalachians according Hackett Fisher.  They were easy to build.  And just as easy to rebuild.  They certainly weren’t worth defending.  When raiders or constables came it was just as easy to flit and leave them to it.  They could burn them if they liked.

Rich men had households that required castles and castles that required fighting tails to defend them.  Just like modern cities, and modern ships.  Investments demand investments to defend the investments.

On the other hand, if you are content with a wigwam by the water, well, as a grandfather said: “flee laigh and ye hinnae faur tae fa’”.  Fly low and you don’t have far to fall.

Fisher connects those folks in the Appalachian cabins to the folks in the trailer parks.  It is not that they don’t want a castle.   They don’t need a castle. 

On the subject of cities as places of merchants and artisans and not of kings and priests  I offer this of Tell Brak.   The old story of archaeology was that cities were created fully formed in Southern Iraq by Kings and Priests organizing society.  Tell Brak, in Northern Iraq, on the Turkish, Syrian border speaks of the growth of a city that had to become organized.  It started from merchants and artisans on a trade route.

Quote
“Here we review recent evidence from the north Mesopotamian site of Tell Brak, indicating its growth as a major settlement apparently well before the emergence of large urban centres such as Uruk in the southern alluvium. In particular we report the convincing evidence for monumentality, industrial workshops and prestige goods that has emerged from the latest excavations of fifth/fourth-millennium BC levels. We show that these northern developments, while particularly well attested at Brak, are indicated also by evidence from across northern Mesopotamia, for example at sites like Hamoukar, Tepe Gawra and Qalinj Agha, and at Arslantepe in south-eastern Turkey (Gibson et al. 2002; Rothman 2002; Hijara 1973; Frangipane 2001). The implications are that northern Mesopotamia was already a land of cities long before the appearance of colonies in the later fourth millennium BC.

Tell Brak

The importance of Tell Brak derives in part from its controlling position on one of the major routes from the Tigris Valley northwards to metal-rich Anatolia and westward to the Euphrates and the Mediterranean (Figure 1, centre). This route ran through the pass at the western end of Jebel Sinjar directly to the river crossings at Brak. Tell Hamoukar, another important fifth/fourth-millennium BC site referred to more than once in this paper, sits astride the eastern route around this massive mountain (Figure 1, right). Both sites are well situated to benefit from the rich agricultural potential of their surroundings as well as areas suitable for nomadic pastoralists.”

https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/4269009/Ur_EarlyMesoUrbanism.pdf

 


Just down the road, to the east of Tell Brak, is another town, a bit younger, Hamoukar.  You can see it on the same map.  But it is noteworthy for the evidence it offers of the first urban battle.

Quote
“Evidence of battle at Hamoukar points to early urban development
By William Harms
News Office



     
Above is a sample of three sling bullets made of clay and found in the collapsed, burnt buildings at the Hamoukar site in Syria.
    
New details about the tragic end of one of the world’s earliest cities, as well as clues about how urban life may have begun there, were revealed in a recent excavation conducted in northeastern Syria by archaeologists from the Oriental Institute and the Syrian Department of Antiquities.

“The attack must have been swift and intense. Buildings collapsed, burning out of control, burying everything in them under vast piles of rubble,” said Clemens Reichel, the American co-director of the Syrian-American Archaeological Expedition to Hamoukar. Reichel, a Research Associate in the Oriental Institute, added that the assault probably left the residents destitute as they buried their dead in the ruins of the city.

Reichel’s assessment of this battle, which occurred around 3500 B.C., was made after a field season in September and October of 2006 at Hamoukar, a large archeological site located close to Syria’s border with Iraq. Having excavated at Hamoukar since 1999, the team this season uncovered further evidence of the accomplishments of the inhabitants among the remains of a walled city that dates to the fourth millennium B.C.

In addition to the city’s wall, the mission continued to excavate quasi-industrial installations and two large administrative buildings that had been destroyed by an intense fire. Mixed in with the debris from collapsed walls, more than 2,300 egg-shaped sling bullets were found. This discovery led the excavators to conclude that an early act of warfare had brought the settlement to its end.
     
These remains of a body were found in a burial pit that had been dug into the ruins of a destroyed building in Area B. It is likely the person was a war casualty. Twelve graves were found at the site.
    
Evidence for warfare was first reported in 2005, but this season the excavators found gruesome details associated with the preparation for the battle and the aftermath. “We found sling bullets at literally all stages of use, from manufacture to impact,” Reichel said, pointing out that the team found a sling bullet that had pierced the plaster of a mud brick wall.

Hamoukar’s defenders resisted the attack using all facilities and materials available, a fact highlighted by discoveries in a shallow pit in the floor of one of the rooms. Ordinarily, this pit, into which a water jar has been buried to its rim, would have been used for soaking discarded clay seals for recycling into fresh clay, but two-dozen sling bullets found neatly lined up along its edge indicated that the pit also had been used to make sling bullets during the city’s final hours.

“It looks as if they were—quite literally—throwing everything they could find against the aggressors,” Reichel said. The team also found 12 graves in the debris, very likely of people killed in the battle.
     
Three views of obsidian cores found in the southern extension of the site show blade-napping in the grooves.
    
Hamoukar was on a key trade route that led from Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) across northern Syria and the river Tigris into southern Mesopotamia. Some evidence of this long-lasting trade was found in an area to the south of Hamoukar’s main site—a large mound. The team found obsidian fragments in an area of more than 700 acres (280 hectares), which they dated to 4,500 to 4,000 B.C. using pottery fragments found with the obsidian. In addition to tools and blades, the team found large amounts of production debris such as obsidian cores, a discovery that is even more significant than finding actual tools.

“Finding cores and other production debris tells us that they are not just using these tools here, they are making them here,” explained Salam al-Kuntar, the Syrian co-director of the expedition. Obsidian does not occur around Hamoukar but had to be brought in from Turkey with the nearest sources being over 70 miles away.

The discovery of an obsidian-processing center is significant, Reichel added, for it could explain the emergence of a city in this location at such an early time. A large-scale export of tools to southern Mesopotamia would have resulted in significant revenue and accumulation of wealth. “This could have been the incentive that pulled people off their fields. People specialized; instead of plowing their own fields, they bought their food supplies from surrounding villages. And once people accumulated a fortune, they wanted a walled enclosure to protect it—your first city.” Unlike in southern Mesopotamia, the move toward urbanism appears to have been influenced by economic incentive and not coerced.
     
Clemens Reichel, co-director of the excavation at Hamoukar in Syria, works at uncovering some of the evidence of a fierce battle dating back to 3500 B.C.
    
The obsidian workshops were located off the main mound and predate the destroyed city by several hundred years, but numerous older levels already have been noted below the destroyed buildings in small test trenches. “We have no clear idea how far the first city at Hamoukar goes back in time,” Reichel said. “It could be much earlier than 3,500 B.C.”

By the time the city was destroyed, he added, copper had started to replace obsidian as the key raw material for tools. The discovery of numerous copper tools in the ruins of Hamoukar might indicate that Hamoukar had developed from an obsidian-processing center into one that processed copper and exported copper tools to the south.

The discovery could help lead to an additional explanation for how civilization developed in the Fertile Crescent. In the South, urban society emerged in the Uruk culture in response to the need to provide organization to an economy supported by irrigation-based agriculture.

The latest findings from Hamoukar suggest that the specialized mass-production of goods for trade could have been a similar driving force in the North.

http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/070118/hamoukar.shtml

I guess we still haven’t figured it out.

Hobson wrote his prophecy in 1902.
Two hundred years ago Shelley wrote:

Quote
“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.' “


« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 10:43:35 by Chris Pook »
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Online Thucydides

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 00:13:44 »
Low cost, low rent, low maintenance "trailer park" lifestyles coupled with 3D printers, distributed energy production and local sourcing of water and food do look like a very viable future lifestyle for a great many people, and sadly (or maybe presciently), people have been priced out of the market for conventional housing and city living for several decades, creating a large pool just ready for this.

When the people who were priced out of the market suddenly become self sufficient, then you will see some pretty major changes to institutions and society.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2017, 11:59:23 »
And the implications with respect to the battlefield:

Decentralization and Distribution.

This author talks about societies producing warriors in pre-history and then soldiers in massed armies even as society massed in cities.  But how that changed circa 1917 with Auftragstaktik - and the loss of central control.

Quote
The Age of Modern Warfare
By Ian Morris

 The age-old method of fighting wars by massing together as many men as possible, bludgeoning the enemy and then hunting down survivors reached its culminating point a century ago.(SCOTT NELSON/Getty Images)

Contributor Perspectives offer insight, analysis and commentary from Stratfor’s Board of Contributors and guest contributors who are distinguished leaders in their fields of expertise.
Historians love anniversaries, and this year we're having a lot of them. In an earlier column I looked back exactly 100 years to April 1917, when Lenin made his famous journey from Zurich to Petrograd. This laid the foundation for a distinctive kind of illiberal modern state that now seems to be making a comeback. But in this column, I want to consider a second set of events in 1917 that arguably played an even bigger role in creating today's world: the invention of a new way of fighting wars. Military leaders began exploiting the fact that modern states had effectively created a new kind of human being — the educated, independent-minded citizen who could do much more than just follow orders — without whom modernity would look very different indeed.

Harnessing the Masses
The archaeological record shows that humans have been fighting since we evolved, but for the first 95 percent or so of our time on Earth, our war-making was a ragged business. Putting together what we can excavate with what anthropologists observed among the surviving Stone Age societies of the 20th century, it seems that there were few real battles. After all, battles are dangerous: It takes fierce discipline — or even fiercer belief in some cause — to make men get close to other men who are trying to kill them, and Stone Age societies lacked the institutions able to instill such discipline or inspire such fanaticism. Consequently, pitched battles tended to take the form of long-range skirmishes — with bows, slings or javelins — that often broke off if anyone was seriously hurt (or even if it started raining).

This did not, however, mean that prehistoric warfare was some kind of harmless ritual. Rather, the real killing went on in ambushes, where half a dozen men might jump out and attack a single enemy, beating him to death, or the young braves from one clan might storm a sleeping enemy village in the hours before dawn, spearing and scalping defenseless men, women and children. Archaeologists have dug up the remains of such massacre sites dating back to 11,000 B.C.

This kind of dirty little war has never gone away, but for the past 5,000 years it has been subordinated to a very different way of doing things.

When farmers created the first proper states, with governments led by godlike kings who had the power to coerce others to do as they were told, one of the first things rulers did was to use this force to turn warriors into soldiers. The distinction between the two is that a warrior is a wild young man who will kill when his mad blood stirs but will run away when the odds look bad, while a proper soldier is a disciplined professional who will stand his ground and would rather die than disgrace his regiment. Depictions of spearmen advancing in formation and descriptions of standing armies suggest that this revolution in military affairs was underway in the Middle East (particularly in what we now call southern Iraq) by 2500 B.C., and over the next 2,000 years it spread or began independently from China to the Mediterranean.

By the first millennium B.C., this vast area was dominated by mass armies of iron-armed infantrymen, fighting in serried ranks. There were differences among geographic regions, of course: Indians used elephants, while Iranians and other peoples living near the steppes made greater use of horses than did Europeans and societies farther away. But every civilization developed two surprisingly similar dimensions in how it fought.

The first concerned command and control on the battlefield, provided by officers who bullied their men to stay in formation, maneuvering in formations tens of thousands strong, protecting one another's flanks while seeking out the enemy's weak points. This took a lot of doing, because fighting face-to-face with iron weapons and without much in the way of medicine meant that battles could be very bloody indeed. It was normal for two men to be wounded for every one who was killed; and when troops were properly trained, confident in their leaders and expected to win, they would typically maintain order until about 10 percent of their number had been killed and 20 percent had been wounded. Though there were exceptions, such as the 300 Spartans who fought to the last man against Persia at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. (this is no legend; you can still find the occasional bronze or iron arrowhead on the battlefield today), panic would overwhelm even the toughest soldiers by the time a third of their comrades had fallen.

This was the point at which the second dimension of fighting came to the forefront. If terrified troops ran away fast enough, they might well escape, regroup and live to fight another day, forcing the victors in the first battle to risk everything yet again. The real measure of victory, then, was the ability to pursue enemies once they broke, chasing them down so they never had a chance to regain order. From Alexander the Great to Napoleon — from the Battle of Gaugamela (331 B.C.) to the Battle of Austerlitz (1805) — it was cavalry that turned a tactical success into a decisive victory, riding down foot soldiers as they ran for their lives.

For a New Society, a New Strategy
Carl von Clausewitz, the greatest of military theorists, argued that in war every kind of action has a "culminating point," beyond which "the scale turns and a reaction follows with a force that is usually much stronger than that of the original act." For the 5,000-year-old method of fighting wars by massing together as many men as possible, bludgeoning the enemy and then hunting down survivors, that culminating point came 100 years ago. In the First World War, Europe's governments put tens of millions of men into uniform, mobilized their entire economies for violence and hammered their enemies on a scale never seen before. But by the time they had done so, mass warfare had passed its culminating point, and its old rules had ceased to work.

The slaughter that ensued between 1914 and 1917, generating millions of dead and wounded but failing to produce a decisive victory, is often blamed on barbed wire, trenches and machine guns. These were of course major tactical innovations, but the real issue, as the generals understood well, was that mass warfare had passed its culminating point. Contrary to the legends, armies in the First World War could (and several times did) beat their way through the enemy's front line. The real problem was that with millions of men fighting on battlefields dozens of kilometers wide and deep, their systems of command and control — which were not so very different from those Napoleon had used a century earlier — could not identify where the breakthroughs were happening in time to rush in reinforcements to exploit them. All they could do was keep bludgeoning on a broad front, pushing forward more and more men in the hope of grinding their way through line after line of defenses.

By the summer of 1917, it was clear that things could not go on as they had. Between April and November, huge French and British offensives left hundreds of thousands dead on each side without coming close to breaking through the German position; in July, a Russian offensive fared even worse. Despite the millions of men called up, casualties were so high that some French divisions mutinied and the Russian army began falling apart.

The Germans hit back in September. But rather than responding with more of the same, pushing even more infantry into confined spaces, they unleashed an entirely new approach to fighting. The strategist Stephen Biddle, in his outstanding his book Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle, calls this the "Modern System" of war. The Ancient System was all about top-down control, with troops massed closely together so that officers could get them to obey orders; but what if battles could be run from the bottom up, with soldiers deciding for themselves what to do? Instead of driving forward entire divisions and corps to bludgeon the enemy, the idea was, battles would now dissolve into countless small actions, with clusters of men moving forward wherever the opposition was weak and skirting places where it was strong. Rather than trying to kill everyone in their path, squads just half a dozen strong could work their way deep into the gaps and cracks in the enemy position, paralyzing it by overrunning its vulnerable command posts and supply dumps. For most enemies, the first sign of trouble would be shooting coming from behind them. Cut off, with no orders and no sure idea of where the real battle was happening, defenders with any sense would simply surrender.

In a way, the Modern System dismantled the Ancient System by looking back to the Prehistoric System. The Modern System dissolved the huge, rigid formations that had dominated battlefields for over 4,000 years and freed up individuals to act as they thought best. It could afford to do this because instead of prehistoric warriors, who tended to think about self-preservation first and winning battles only a very distant second, it made use of an entirely new kind of man. This individual was a unique product of 20th-century nation-states, with their systems of mass education and nationalist ideals.

Modern states needed citizens who could think for themselves, doing jobs of vastly greater complexity and autonomy than the great mass of peasants in preindustrial farming societies.

Industrialized societies also needed their citizens to identify their own well-being with that of the state, handing over far more of their incomes in taxes and allowing themselves to be conscripted on unprecedented scales. These modern men were rarely keen to go into battle, but once there, they could — with training — be persuaded not only to put their lives on the line without being reduced to cogs in a machine but also to take the initiative in the process.

Hints of this kind of citizen-soldier can be seen in the American Civil War of 1861-65, and the British learned the hard way during the Second Boer War (1899-1902) how vulnerable old-style armies were becoming to modern men. However, in 1914 all of Europe's armies went to war with plans that took little notice of these developments. By 1916 several were experimenting with some kind of Modern System, but the Germans were the first to make it work. They called it Auftragstaktik, or "mission tactics," with senior officers formulating plans but trusting junior officers and enlisted men to be smart enough to figure out for themselves the best ways to make them work. German staff officers began encouraging this way of thinking by forming special assault groups (Sturmabteilungen) in 1915, but it seems that much of the initiative in fact came from the ordinary "storm troopers" (Stosstruppen).

The first time assault groups were given the lead, in September 1917, the Russians opposing them simply ran away after three days of fighting. The next attack, at Caporetto six weeks later, was even more dramatic. Almost the moment the Stosstruppen struck, the Italian army that had fought bravely and doggedly for two years descended into blind panic, powerfully described by Ernest Hemingway in his novel A Farewell to Arms. German and Austrian forces surged forward about 97 kilometers (60 miles), taking a quarter of a million prisoners. At one point a young Lt. Erwin Rommel, backed by just five men, bluffed 1,500 Italians into surrendering.

At both Riga and Caporetto, handfuls of Stosstruppen achieved results vastly disproportionate to their numbers, but when the Germans applied the Modern System on the primary front in France in 1918, the small numbers of elite storm troops available proved to be its undoing. The entire British Fifth Army collapsed in the face of German infiltration, but over several weeks of fighting, attrition gradually blunted the German attacks. And much more conventional French, British and American counterattacks in the late summer broke the German army with the time-honored tools of bludgeoning and pursuit.

The Revolution Isn't Over
Since the revolutionary days of 1917, the trends have all run in one direction — toward greater reliance on well-trained, highly motivated Auftragstaktiker. In the Second World War, numbers and resources proved decisive only when used properly, spearheaded by armored and air forces trained in the new ways; and in the past 40 years, most major armed forces have moved toward smaller, nimbler and more elite militaries. Even Russia, long the last holdout of the top-down mass army, has moved since 2007 toward smaller, better-paid and more intelligent forces. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, officers in the Israel Defense Forces regularly joke that their men are constitutionally incapable of obeying orders without trying to find their own way of putting them into practice.

Stratfor founder George Friedman has often suggested that the next great war will be global but not total, meaning that it will touch every part of the planet but will not be fought by mobilizing entire populations. Very small, highly trained elites with astonishingly expensive and destructive weapons are likely to decide the issue long before old-fashioned mass armies can be conscripted, trained and put into battle. Thus, the revolution in warfare that began 100 years ago is likely to keep shaping geopolitics well into the 21st century.

https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/age-modern-warfare?

But does this "new man"  - shades of Shaw and Lenin - does this new man leave Auftragstaktik on the battle field and consent to being regimented at home?  Or does he bring his love for freedom of movement home with him?  Does it change his perception of home life and the need to "doff his cap" to his "betters"?   Or is it the other way round?  Being independently inclined, and finally given free rein by Auftragstaktik he excelled?

And what of the fact that most of the modern soldiers, in these elite units, are drawn from the 1/3 of the population that inhabits the 95% of the land mass outside of the cities, and by all accounts is happier in the struggle against fellow denizens of the wilderness than fitting in to the urban structure?

Can the urbanites control either their soldiers or the wilderness? 

Also, with respect to the soldiery, while the Germans demonstrated the ability to disrupt, much in the same sense as an artillery barrage, they, like the artillery barrage, never demonstrated the ability to hold ground,  to bring matters to a final conclusion and impose a solution.

To be fair, even the victors have only demonstrated an ability to impose a solution for 70 years, a single lifetime.  And it has been almost 12,000 years since we first met at Gobekli Tepe.

Do we go back to endemic warfare?  Or have we ever left that state?

A world of Hell's Angels, Commandos and indigenous activists (I suggest that ISIL represents the extreme indigenous activist organization) with islands of terrified masses huddling on the edge of the ocean.

It is easy to find the stresses that can be exploited to create a Hobbesian dystopia.  But can we find something of Hutcheson's better nature and still accept the desire of many for independence and not feel the need to revert to authoritarianism and quash dissent?

My impulse is to allow separation, and distance, and difference.

In short, I guess I may be a coward.  I would rather flee than fight.  The fighting just isn't worth the aggravation.
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Online Thucydides

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2017, 21:44:07 »
I suggest the distinctions in warfare come from the sorts of resources you command. "Prehistoric Warfare" is based on a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, where you carry what you can, live off the land and must keep moving so you don't strip away all the available resources.

What is referred to as the "Ancient System" (sometimes first and second generation warfare) results from the ability of settled societies to gather increasing resources and apply them to battle (or indeed any task; organizing the chariot armies for Rameses II at Kadesh was't much different from organizing masses of craftsmen to build pyramids or other massive monumental architecture, or gather and store grain in warehouses against the "seven lean years"). Whoever was better at this tended to have the edge, with very few exceptions. The Persians were pretty much unstoppable until they ran into the Greeks, who thought about and practiced warfare in an entirely different manner, which is about the only exception that comes to mind.

Modern warfare (3 and 4GW) depends much more on communications technology than anything else; if radios and other communications technology had not been invented, I suggest we would still be fighting in forms analogous to WWI. Even Sturmtruppen were very limited in their flexibility, and often were stopped by small pockets of British soldiers gathering around the ruins of a supply dump or small pocket of defensive works that were still standing. There was no way to communicate this to higher, and reinforcements were fed right into the meat grinder; in the end, the Germans were no better in that regard than the British or French. (We should take note that reliable portable platoon level radios only became common in the Viet Nam war, and things like section level PRRs were entirely unknown even at the end of the Cold War in 1989).

I'll also make an exception about the utility of Auftragstaktik as described in the article. The idea had been around well before WWI in German military circles (indeed it can be traced back to 1806, after the defeat of the Prussians at Jena and Auerstedt), so it was solidly applied to conventional massed armies throughout the 19th and 20th century. I'll also note in passing that while lots of people give lip service to Auftragstaktik, our models of command and control have higher and higher levels of centralization, to the point the CDS needs to be called in some circumstances to permit the bombing of a single building.

The evolution of military forces may well be teams of SoF soldiers roaming around seeking out targets (based on some sort of command driven target methodology), but backed by a huge logistical organization dedicated not only to them, but to the air, land and sea based platforms bringing in the firepower to deal with the targets. Essentially, we are using the massive logistical overhead to disperse assets and bring them together at the time and place of our own choosing.

I'm not really clear if it is possible at all to have truly dispersed warriors as in "Primitive" warfare, even gearing up like the Mobile Infantry in "Starship Troopers" implies a vast logistical base to build and transport the powered battle armour and weaponry into the AO, and 4GW implies utilizing all available channels, including media, economic and political, to convince the enemy that their strategic goals are not achievable, or at least not achievable at the price they are willing to pay. Without channels to contest and hold, or the ability to access the channels; no "war" and the insurgents get stomped (see the "Green Revolution" and the "Arab Spring" for two examples).

This gives rise to my counter to the next "global" war. Cut the infrastructure strings, and insurgencies like ISIS, Al Queda and others will collapse into ineffectual local warlords. No access to cell phones and internet, cheap automatic weapons or reliable automotive platforms to turn into technicals, no banking and so on will reduce them to the 7th century barbarians they are. Cutting power grids and so on with cyber weapons or bombs really does not matter, the major issue we want is the overall effect. Of course, unless our own logistical and communications networks have multiple levels of redundancy, we could become victims ourselves.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2017, 00:54:45 »
A very interesting look at how the different "class" structures might be determined; "affinity groups" rather than the traditional divisions based on economics, ethnic origin or other crude groupings:

https://pjmedia.com/blog/liveblogevent/mondays-hot-mic-12/entry-210206/

Quote
RICHARD FERNANDEZ • JUNE 26@18:30:59 EDT CHAT 1 COMMENTS
There's been a suggestive string of events:  Ossoff's loss, the Supreme Court decision not just on the church playground but the travel ban, ISIS' endgame in Mosul.

It's as if a hinge were turning. But what door will open?

Not necessarily into a broad beautiful upland. The door may open to someplace dismal. Yet clearly it will be somewhere different. Even the radical Islamists want a reboot because the old formula no longer works. The progressive project is a half step behind, doubling down. They don't realize the Future is over.

The future may look very different than that envisioned in the late 20th century. Perhaps one of the sleeper trends is the growth of peer-to-peer activity, such as people creating their individual electric grids and trading power -- in Brooklyn. It will be interesting to see whether the cooperative model of the future will be the dreaded Internet of Things or much more voluntary arrangements based on affinity groups.

Perhaps the real significance of the Supreme Court ruling that religious institutions should be eligible to receive public funds for purely secular purposes is that little tents can again dare compete with big tents.

The highlighted portion explains the absolute blazing hatred of Donald J Trump, the Brexit and every other exemplar of rejection by the media, academia and the political/bureaucratic classes: the system is rigged for the benefit of those owning and running the "big tents", so whatever gives power to the "little tents" threatens the system they have conceived and profit from.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Colin P

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 11:37:35 »
Problem with the robot made goods, who is going to buy them and with what? No jobs=no money=no purchasing power. Yes some people will have jobs and there will be a wealthy class, but not enough to sustain our current retail infrastructure or the number of people who will need jobs and money to survive. I am already seeing the gutting of the Middle Class here in Vancouver and I suspect much of the economy is running on residual fumes generated by the boomers and that we won't have the same ability to support the next generation like our parents were able to support ours.

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2017, 11:50:53 »
Problem with the robot made goods, who is going to buy them and with what? No jobs=no money=no purchasing power. Yes some people will have jobs and there will be a wealthy class, but not enough to sustain our current retail infrastructure or the number of people who will need jobs and money to survive. I am already seeing the gutting of the Middle Class here in Vancouver and I suspect much of the economy is running on residual fumes generated by the boomers and that we won't have the same ability to support the next generation like our parents were able to support ours.

Well everyone will have a guaranteed min income of course right? 
Optio

Offline Colin P

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2017, 11:56:17 »
That would be nice, where does that money come from? We are used to a certain level of economic activity, if there is less purchasing power and less disposable income, then the retail sector will not be powering the economy the way it has been.

Offline GAP

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2017, 13:47:45 »
Well everyone will have a guaranteed min income of course right?

Well a guaranteed % of 0 is still 0
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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2017, 15:19:17 »
The funny thing is, when there are no other options people will do the other thing.

I have no idea what the other thing is but when the economy breaks down people still manage to survive,  somehow.   And it isn't the person at the top of the pile that finds the workable solutions.  It is the one in a thousand that survives when all others are failing .... and prompts everybody else to do likewise.
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2017, 16:15:44 »
In the case of Ontario, where 10% of the population earn Minimum Wage, and 30% of the population earn less than $15/hr; the increase of over 30% in the Minimum Wage over two years bringing it to $15/hr has done one thing........Ontario will soon have over 30% of the population earning Minimum Wage.  There is NO logic here.  It is increasing the size of the Lower Class, not helping the Middle Class; and the Upper Class is totally unaffected.
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Offline Remius

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Re: The New Class War
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2017, 17:15:55 »
That would be nice, where does that money come from? We are used to a certain level of economic activity, if there is less purchasing power and less disposable income, then the retail sector will not be powering the economy the way it has been.

Robots will just print new money. Or we tax the robots.  My comment was mor sarcastic than serious.
Optio