Re: Social Evolution *is* Linear

Kevin Hendrickson (hndrcksn@MUSEUM.CL.MSU.EDU)
Fri, 13 May 1994 12:56:52 -0500

Hmm. I wonder if anyone supporting the notion that social process is
"Evolution" has read John Bodley's "Victims of Progress" which looks at the
decidedly one-sided interaction between tribal peoples and
industrialized/industrializing nations which have placed borders around
them. The question of human agency has not been answered for me in this
process of "Social Evolution" Maybe I'm just too dense.

Bob Graber states:

Bowles charges that the concepts of social and cultural
evolution connote linearity and therefore are bad; Lieber replies that
the concept of evolution is not necessarily linear. I agree with Lieber,
but wish to point out once again that where ten thousand years ago all
humans lived in small, politically autonomous communities, today we all
live in populous states. There is an obvious, overwhelming, physically
identifiable trend in social evolution from small societies to large

I would argue that not all of us "live" in populous states, despite the
fact that the leaders of these states would like to lay claim to the
peoples that exist within their arbitrarily defined borders. There still
remain issues of communication, access and control of people existing in
the hinterlands of some states. At any rate I still don't have a clear
picture of the way in which "Social Evolution" is related to Biological
Evolution. Perhaps I'm incorrect in assuming that Bio Evolution is the
intended model, but, assuming it is, are there any counterparts to
mutation, gene flow, etc in "Social Evolution"? By what processes does
"Social Evolution" move? Are there any rules/laws that explain transmission
of the "Social Evolution" counterparts of genes? What do genes become?
Ideas, technology, what? Maybe "Social Evolution" doesn't have to be just
like Biological Evolution, but we need to be clear about where it differs,
or choose another title.

| Kevin Hendrickson / "Nyabinghi Warrior" |
| / / |