06 December 2011

Agricultural Vs Industrial Society: Martial Vs Commercial Society

In the Agricultural Age, the primary production system was agriculture. The main input for agriculture is land. So whoever controlled land had power. The king controlled land, and hence had power.

Now the king belonged to the warrior class (Kshatriyas). Each class has its own values. The values of the warriors were strength, courage, duty and loyalty. These constituted the warrior ethic.

Since warriors were the dominant class in agricultural society, their ethic – the warrior ethic – was the dominant ethic in society.

Thus, agricultural society was a martial society*. And the Agricultural Age was the Age of the Warrior.

*The French social thinker Auguste Comte (1798–1857) used the term "military society" to describe agricultural society.

After the Industrial Revolution everything changed.

In the Industrial Age, the primary production system is industry. The main input for industry is capital. So whoever controls capital has power. The capitalists control capital, and hence have power.

Now capitalists belong to the merchant class (Vaishyas). Merchants have only one value: wealth/money. This constitutes the merchant ethic.

Since industrialists/businessmen are the dominant class in industrial society, their ethic – the merchant ethic – is the dominant ethic in society.

Thus, industrial society is a commercial society. And the Industrial Age is the Age of the Merchant.

Today there is no victory and defeat; only success and failure. Today there is no honour and dishonour; only profit and loss.

1. Gurcharan Das approves of this change.
2. Watch The Last Samurai (2003) for a beautiful argument in favour of the Age of the Warrior and the warrior ethic.

1 comment:

GS said...

TOTALLY AGREE...its quite futile to crib about changing values of society..when when we have openly adopted the system that sets the ethics