Interesting social sciences/The philosophical foundations of my theory of the interrelation between social conflict and social control

Russian way of development.

English subtitles. Open Systems Theory. Formation Approach. Asian mode of production.

Toynbee's law of challenge and response.

English subtitles exist in this video. On the cover is the Minoan civilization of the Palace of Knossos. Examples of successful responses оf local civilizations.

Toffler. Futuroshok

Technocrats and Technophobes. War human against robots. English subtitles exist in this video. Features of post-industrial society. Technocrats and Technophobes. Escape from equipment to the taiga or to an uninhabited island.



The formations or, in other words, мodes of production

Karl Marx
Friedrich Engels
Ancient agriculture

The classification of formations          

Formations or, in other words, мodes of production are the steps or stages of the development for society.  

The main idea of formational approach consists in that the development of society occurs through the steps or stages (through the formations).

Karl Marx have listed in the work “A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” four мodes of production (formations):    

antique мode of production,  

asiatic мode of production,  

feudal мode of production,   

capitalist мode of production.   [1]     This subparagraph about modes of production is the only valuable idea for me of ​ ​ Karl Marx from all his multi-volume collected works.

The scientific discussion was on this question in 1928‐1935 in the USSR, as a result Joseph Stalin have summed up the result of this discussion and Joseph Stalin named five formations:    

primitive ‐ communal formation,  

slaveholding formation,  

feudal formation,  

capitalist formation,  

communist formation.   

Socialism is the first phase of communism.  

Joseph Stalin has forced to forget about the Asiatic mode of production (formation), because the Asiatic mode of production (formation) resembled socialism greatly. It is obtained so that  such society (Asiatic mode of production) was built in the USSR, as in ancient Egypt. And is this named as progress? Theme “Asian mode of production” had become forbidden theme in the Soviet philosophy.  Karl August Vittfogel wrote in the West on this theme in the work "Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power" [2]. Raymond Aron mentioned this theme in the work “Democracy and totalitarianism”. The reason of incompleteness of the discussion about the formations to the present day consists that the philosophers could not find the correct criterion, which distinguishes one formation from another formation. In the opinion of Karl Marx, such criterion is the level of the development of productive forces, but this criterion is too abstract, such criterion is unfit for the comparison of formations. Therefore some researchers have selected four formations, and others researchers have selected five formations. Some researchers considered that Asian mode of production (formation) is different from others formations, but other researchers did not consider like that.

In my opinion, such criterion, which distinguishes one formation from another, is kind of control in the sphere of the economy:    

primitive ‐ communal formation is built on the moral control,   

slaveholding formation is built on the armed control,  

feudal formation is built on the administrative control,   

capitalist formation is built on the economic control.    

Karl Marx did not invent new kind of control for the communism and Karl Marx considered even that all forms of social control will be abolished at the communism, but this prognosis is utopia, unrealizable dream, because society cannot exist without the relations of social conflict and social control. The attempts were made to use ideological stimuluses (red flags, the badges of Forward of Communist labor, medal of Hero of Socialist Labor, the articles in the newspaper, which glorify of Forwards, photo on the board of honor, honorable certificates) in the field of the economy at socialism. Miner Aleksey Stakhanov had become by first Forward of Communist labor. But this campaign had ended by complete failure, because workers did not want to work for the flags. Such sanctions acted on people at socialism really, as body’s punishments in the field of the prison's labor in Gulag, as threat of the capital punishment for “wreckers”, as administrative sanctions in field of free labor.

Body’s punishments is the sign of slaveholding in the field of the economy, and administrative stimuluses is the sign of feudalism in the field of the economy. Therefore socialism is the Asian variety of the feudalism, where state’s sector of the slaveholding economy exists. Slow evolution from the slaveholding formation to the feudalism went in the Ancient East.  

Thus, in my opinion, four formations existed in the history of society:    

primitive formation,  

slaveholding formation,

feudal formation,  

capitalist formation. 

Asiatic formation (Asiatic mode of production)

Pyramids in Giza
Great Wall of China
Ziggurat of Ur
El Castillo, Chichen Itza
Scythian warriors, drawn after figures on an electrum cup from the Kul-Oba kurgan burial near Kerch, Crimea.
Vasily Surikov "The Conquest of Siberia by Yermak".

   Leaning on the concept of an Asian mode of production entered by Karl Marx, Karl Vittfogel in the book "Oriental Despotism: a Comparative Study of Total Power" pointed out the feature, general for east countries — great value of an irrigation for agriculture. Asiatic formation (mode of production) was invented in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Mesopotamia. Similar societies had arisen in Ancient India, Ancient China, Ancient Mexico, Ancient Peru, Byzantium, tsarist Russia and Soviet Russia later. “Asiatic” and despotic character of tsarist Russia is dictated by external factor, by Mongol conquest. Karl August Vittfogel wrote that Russia was “the outskirts” of the West before the Mongol invasion, and after that as Mongols had brought to Russia “eastern” rules, borrowed by Mongols from China, Russia had become “the outskirts” of the East. Arnold J. Toynbee objected to that, Arnold J. Toynbee was confident in the byzantine origin of Russian civilization. According to Arnold J. Toynbee, Karl August Vittfogel attempted to revive the Greek myth of the times of Greek-Persian wars about “bad” Asia” and “good Europe”. Karl August Vittfogel had seen in tsarist Russia clearly features, typical for “eastern despotisms” (rural community and bureaucracy).[3]

It my opinion, people had invented in Asia irrigation agriculture and cattle breeding, people had built in Asia irrigation and other global projects (pyramids in Egypt, urban walls and Ziggurats in Mesopotamia, Great Wall of China, Mesoamerican pyramids). These huge objects became by archaeological monuments and by the useless frequently method of the spending of human energy, this method did not have real benefit often. State slavery, bureaucracy, taxes, hieroglyphic writing, despotism, regular army, law court, prison, police, code of laws, government ownership on the earth, temple economy and economy of the Pharaoh were invented in Asia. Bureaucracy had functions of the collection of taxes and management of the building of global projects. Despotism or, in other words, tyranny was vitally necessary in the countries of the Ancient East, because only despot could force to repair irrigation system each year and thus to avoid hunger. Asian formation had become by Asian version of slaveholding formation, then Asian formation had become by Asian version of the feudalism gradually. Bright difference of Asiatic formation was the absence of particular ownership of the means of production.

According to Karl August Vittfogel, the society of “Eastern” type is deadlock version of development for society, because the society of “Eastern” type is not capably to pass independently to capitalism as the higher stage of development for society. The absence of free work force leads to the stagnation, and social progress comes to the deadlock. Already one it means that ways of "East" and "West" are different essentially. East society is based not on the property relations, but East society is based on existence of the extra class despotic state and "bureaucracy". Despotic power of the state had become in the East by irresistible force: despotic power of state regulates agriculture and using of water, despotic power of state undertakes the large building work, despotic power of state controls craft and trade. Any opposition is suppressed with help of the system of total terror in the East. Society is divided only into two classes: ruling class and controlled class. The despot and bureaucracy belong to the ruling class. Controlled class is farmers, craftsmen, merchants and slaves.

Power of the state fulfills in the East two functions:   

• organizational function (Karl August Vittfogel includes in this function the organization of economy and the organization of armed forces),  

• the function of tax collection.  

The idolized despotic power is supported by regular army, police and bureaucracy. Absolute submission is characteristic of each citizen. Despotic power strive to prevent that owners have developed in independent political force. With this aim despotic power creates obstacles for the formation of large private fortunes. If people of low origin are capable to something, then a possibility exists of the elevation for this people. Poor person could make the outstanding career in China and this person could become minister even with help of the passing of school examinations. Despotism had appeared in “hydraulic societies” and despotism had turn out to one of the most infectious diseases of human society. Karl August Vittfogel had attempted to solve problem of the lagging of the countries of the East from Europe. One of the reasons of the lagging is the absence the needs for the West to expend the forces to the irrigational works. Based on the example of China Karl August Vittfogel said about regress which has happened when nomads have conquered farmers. The conquest of Kiev Russia by Mongols had led to the similar regress.     

Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had become the cradle for the western version of slaveholding. The western version of feudalism arose in the countries of Western Europe after the invasion of Germans and crash of Ancient Rome. This western version of slaveholding and feudalism differed from the Asiatic version somewhat. The climate was more damp in the West, therefore system of irrigation agriculture, state slavery and despotism didn't exist in the West. Athens have borrowed craft, sea’s trade and alphabet from Finicia. It were invented private property to the earth and slaves, direct democracy and aristocracy, warship (trireme), market competition, sport competition, competition of actors at the theatre in Ancient Greece. Serfdom and vassal‐fief system, built on the administrative control, existed in the West only. Capitalism was invented just in the West.  

It is possible to enumerate four great English inventions, which are the basis of capitalism:   

Economic control, money’s premium and fine in sphere of the economy, free work force.   

Inventions in the equipment (firearms, machine tools, steam engine and so on).   

Market competition on the basis of the use of free work force.

Representative democracy, multi ‐ party system, national elections, constitution, political freedoms.  

Capitalism was brought to Asia on the bayonets of West European colonizers.          

Conclusion: in my opinion, Karl August Vittfogel was right partly regarding the reasons for the appearance of despotism in different countries. Karl August Vittfogel concentrated its attention only on one of the reasons for the appearance of despotism (system of irrigation agriculture) and Karl August Vittfogel did not see other reasons. In my opinion, the main reason for the appearance of despotism are the extremal external and internal conditions of life of society. Such conditions can be in case of threat of the external aggression, in case of large territory and imperial organization of the country, when a need exist for the suppression of separative uprisings. Such conditions can be by need for organizing irrigation agriculture. Irrigation agriculture existed never in Russia, but threats have always existed for Russia from numerous aggressive neighbors. Russia possessed large territory always and a need for suppressing separative uprisings existed always. It is no accidental, what Russia has selected very rigid model of democracy (presidential republic) today, otherwise Civil War could begin against the separatists in Russia or Russia could lose the war in the international arena.

Russian way of development

Varangian group in Byzantium. Drawing-reconstruction of the end of the 19th century.
Nicholas Roerich: Guests from Overseas (1899)
St. Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople


Mongolian horse archer. A medieval miniature.

Russia occupies the middle position between Europe and Asia; therefore Russia did not invent any own great inventions, but Russia had borrowed social inventions alternately first from Europe, then from Asia. Generally, very few countries exists, which could make at least one great social invention.  

Four “countries ‐ teachers” existed for Russia:

Varangians from the West from Sweden. Varangians had become by the first teachers for the eastern Slavs. Varangians had brought power of Grand Princes, trade along the rivers, weapon, laws, the collection of tribute into Russia. Varangian Rurik was the first Russian Grand Prince.   

Byzantine Empire, which had become the second teacher for Russia. Byzantine Empire occupied the middle position between Europe and Asia also, as Russia. Russia has borrowed from Byzantium Christianity, written language, architecture.    

Mongols and Gold Horde from Asia, which had become by third teacher for Russia. Mongols and Gold Horde had learned Russians to collect the taxes with each house and to build despotism, as result the absolute monarchy was invented in the Moscow state, where the throne was transferred to eldest son or to eldest brother by inheritance.    

Western Europe (first Poland, then Sweden, Holland, England, Germany, France, USA) had become by fourth teacher for Russia in 17-21 centuries, and especially under Russian emperor Peter the Great. Russia was at war with some of these countries and Russia learned at them alternately. Three English inventions (technical inventions, market competition and economic control) were borrowed by Russia from Western Europe.  Nicholas II of Russia attempted to introduce the fourth English invention.  Nicholas II of Russia attempted to build system of representative democracy.  Nicholas II of Russia had introduced parliament and multi ‐ party elections, but Nicholas II of Russia could not finish this building of system of representative democracy, Nicholas II of Russia could not introduce constitution and control of the parliament over government. Four Great English inventions were restored in Russia under the president Boris Yeltsin. 

Russia studied at own teachers and Russia defeated in the war of own teachers at the same time. Russia won of own teachers in war and Russia even turned teachers into its own colonies sometimes. Russia won against Sweden under Charles XII of Sweden, Germany under Adolf Hitler, France under Napoleon. Russia made by own colony Golden Horde, Poland at 19-20 a century, Eastern Europe (East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria) in the 20th century. Opponents of Russia have to remember about this danger today.

Failure in during social construction occurred as a result of October Revolution in 1917. Bolsheviks had destroyed capitalist system and Bolsheviks had built Asiatic formation on an example of Ancient Egypt.

Bolsheviks had conducted four campaigns during social construction of the Asiatic formation:   

War Communism. Vladimir Lenin has constructed oligarchy instead of the monarchy or representative democracy. Vladimir Lenin have cancelled private property to the earth and to factories. Vladimir Lenin have cancelled economic control in the sphere of economy. Vladimir Lenin have cancelled market competition. Vladimir Lenin even attempted to cancel money, religion and code of laws vainly. War Communism caused Civil War in Russia, but Bolsheviks could win in this Civil War, although Bolsheviks were forced to go on the temporary concessions to the peasants in the form of the New Economic Policy.    

The New Economic Policy. Bolsheviks removed prohibition to have small and average private property. Bolsheviks cancelled prohibition to employ little work force. Bolsheviks removed prohibition to be engaged in small trade within the country. Bolsheviks had introduced convertible currency (Gold Chervonets), but Bolsheviks have kept prohibition to large private property and private foreign trade. Such contradictions had led to the crises in the economy of the New Economic Policy, when peasants had rejected to sell grain on the low prices.

Industrialization. Bolsheviks have organized large construction of state factories of heavy and defense industry, channels and railroads. Robbery of peasants, unpaid labor of prisoners, the coercion to the purchase of Government bond, the sale of vodka at overestimated prices became by sources of financings of these construction.    

Collectivization. Bolsheviks had tired out violently of peasants into kolkhozes and Bolsheviks had compeled of peasants to work almost free of charge. Bolsheviks had compeled peasants to work for “marks” in the register of workdays. Peasants fed themselves and peasants paid large taxes from own kitchen garden and own cattle. Bolsheviks have robbed, put in GULAG and executed rich peasants. As a result stimuluses to the labor had disappeared at peasants completely, and the agricultural industry came to a condition of full decline.

Cultural Revolution or “large terror” or “large cleaning”. Vladimir Lenin had built oligarchy, as the power of the privileged minority, this minority was called “Leninist guards”. The fight of factions for the authority had begun inside this “Leninist guards” in the 20's of 20 century. Joseph Stalin have won in turn in fight behind scene of paralyzed Vladimir Lenin. Joseph Stalin have won faction of Leon Trotsky. Joseph Stalin have won faction of Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev. Joseph Stalin have won faction of Nikolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov and Mikhail Tomskiy. Joseph Stalin had destroyed physically almost all “Leninist guards” in 1937-1938  and Joseph Stalin had built tyranny instead of oligarchy. Joseph Stalin had created instead of “Leninist guards” the new ruling layer ("Nomenklatura"), which was subordinated to tyrant Joseph Stalin rigidly. Thus, building of Asiatic formation was finished and Asiatic formation was as classical model during Stalin's epoch.

Nikita Khrushchev had destroyed physically of new applicant in tyrant Lavrentiy Beria.  Nikita Khrushchev had restored oligarchy, the gradual destruction of Asiatic formation had begun in Russia with that. The degeneration of oligarchy had begun during Leonid Brezhnev's epoch. Mikhail Gorbachev had loosened oligarchy before the basis. President of Russia Boris Yeltsin had destroyed oligarchy and Asitic formation completely. Boris Yeltsin has built capitalism and system of representative democracy by Western samples. Yegor Gaidar has introduced market competition in Russia in 1991. Anatoly Chubais has introduced private property and economic control in the sphere of economy. Boris Yeltsin has introduced constitution and parliament. Vladimir Putin has brought order after the period of reforms. All four English inventions are introduced in Russia today. Therefore capitalism is introduced in Russia already today.       

Asiatic formation was built in other countries of the socialist camp also, where these four campaigns were conducted by the Soviet samples also. As soon as the Soviet troops were removed in 1989 from these countries of East Europe, “velvet” revolutions had occurred in these countries of East Europe and capitalism was restored in this countries. Mao Zedong had built Asiatic formation in China, Mao Zedong had won in Civil War in China and Mao Zedong had conducted such campaigns as "Great Leap Forward“ (Industrialization), People's communes (Collectivization) and Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping began to pursue New Economic Policy which proceeds in China and today. Market competition, economic control in the economy and technical inventions are introduced in China today, but power is located in the hands of Communist oligarchy, and the students, who required of democracy on the square Tiananmen, were crushed by tanks. Asiatic formation remains in North Korea and in Cuba today. Three English inventions - inventions in the equipment, a private property and the market competition are introduced in China today, the fourth invention - representative democracy - isn't introduced in China still.   Conclusion consists that socialism is regress in comparison with capitalism, and this grandiose communist experiment led to the large victims in Russia. Bolsheviks could not find own Russian way of the development of the country and Bolsheviks had led of Ryssia by backward Asian way. Bolsheviks can not build anything, except this primitive model of society and today. The repetition of a similar utopian experiment will become the catastrophe for Russia. 

Technological determinism.


Debates exist between technocrats and technophobes within this direction. Technocrats are optimists and technocrats consider that development of technology will solve all problems, for example, filters, settling basins, etc. are necessary for the solution of environmental problems. Technophobes consider that the mankind will die from the machines, for example, mankind will die from environmental problems or as a result of war with robots therefore it is necessary to break technical devices, for example, luddites broke machines in England. Technophobes suggest to break machines or to run away on the desert island or to a taiga. Lykov family ran away to a taiga in the 20th century and Lykov family lived in full isolation from society several decades. Lykov family ate potatoes, Pinus sibirica nuts, edible mushrooms, berries, fish, meat without salt. When Lykov family were found by geologists in 1978 accidentally, almost all family members, except the daughter Agafya, had died from a stress or as a result of loss of immunity during lifetime for some time in sterile taiga isolation.

The writer and musician Samuel Butler had emigrated to New Zealand in 1859 with the purpose to be engaged there in cultivation of sheeps. He wrote a sketch "Darwin among the Machines" in which Samuel Butler wrote about very fast evolution of Machines in which outdated Machines disappear as dinosaurs. One day Machines will be able to dominate over people. Samuel Butler described the history of the fictional state in the novel "Erewhon" (word "nowhere"") in which all Machines were destroyed, because Machines began to pose threat for people.

Time will show that technocrats or technophobes is right in this debates.

James Bernham made the forecast about The Managerial Revolution during which the power will pass from businessmen to technocrats, but these forecast was a utopia.

Stages of the development of society

Marshall McLuhan
Johannes Gutenberg
Printing machine of Johanes Gutenbrg

Besides marxist theory other theories exist about the stages of the development of society.  

Walt Whitman Rostow had separated five stages of economic Growth in the work "The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto", published in 1960.  

Marshall McLuhan has shared history into four epochs in dependence from the replacement of the means of the communication in work "The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man": 

  • Oral tribe culture. The epoch of the tribal person, who possessed of capability to spoken language
  • Manuscript culture. This epoch has come after the invention of writing, hieroglyphs and the alphabet.
  • Gutenberg galaxy. The epoch of the industrial person, who exchanged information with help of the invented by Johannes Guttenberg printing press.
  • Electronic age. The epoch of the new tribal person, who exchanges by information with help of the telephone, the Internet, sputnik’s communication and etc.

  Leslie White separate five stages of human development in the dependence on the change of the energy sources in work "The Evolution of Culture: The Development of Civilization to the Fall of Rome"(1959):   

  • People use energy of their own muscles.
  • People use energy of domesticated animals.
  • People use the energy of plants (so Leslie White refers to agricultural revolution here).
  • People learn to use the energy of natural resources: coal, oil, gas.
  • People use nuclear energy.

  In my opinion, these classifications of the steps of the development of society are not completely successful, because these authors selected secondary criterions for the classification of steps. My criterion for the classification of the steps of the development of society (kind of social control in the sphere of the economy) is more essential.  

Future Shock


Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. Alvin Toffler defines the term "future shock" in the book, as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term "future shock" is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time".



Alvin Toffler argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society". This change overwhelms people. He believed the accelerated rate of technological and social change left people disconnected and suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation"—future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems are symptoms of future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he popularized the term "information overload."

Development of society and production


Alvin Toffler distinguished three stages in development of society and production:

  • agrarian,
  • industrial
  • post-industrial.

The first stage began in the period of the Neolithic Era when people had invented agriculture, thereby passing from barbarity to a civilization. The second stage began in England with the Industrial Revolution during which people had invented the machine tool and the steam engine. The third stage began in the second half of the 20th century in the West when people had invented automatic production, robotics and the computer. The services sector attained great value.

Alvin Toffler proposed one criterion for distinguishing between industrial society and post-industrial society: the share of the population occupied in agriculture versus the share of city labor occupied in the services sector. In a post-industrial society, the share of the people occupied in agriculture does not exceed 15%, and the share of city laborers occupied in the services sector exceeds 50%. Thus, the share of the people occupied with brainwork greatly exceeds the share of the people occupied with physical work in post-industrial society.

Fear of the future

Midtown Manhattan in New York City, the largest central business district in the United States

Alvin Toffler's main thought consists of the fact that modern man feels shock from rapid changes. [4] For example, Toffler's daughter went to shop in New York City and she couldn't find a shop in its previous location. Thus New York has become a city without a history. [5] The urban population doubles every 11 years. The overall production of goods and services doubles each 50 years in developed countries. [6] Society experiences an increasing number of changes with an increasing rapidity, while people are losing the familiarity that old institutions (religion, family, national identity, profession) once provided. [7] The so-called "brain drain" – the emigration of European scientists to the United States – is both an indicator of the changes in society and also one of their causes. [8]

Features of post-industrial society

A generic, disposable lighter.
  • Many goods have become disposable because the cost of manual repair or cleaning has become greater than the cost of making new goods due to mass production. Examples of disposable goods include ballpoint pens, lighters, plastic bottles, and paper towels.[9]
  • The design of goods becomes outdated quickly. (And so, for example, a second generation of computers appears before the end of the expected period of usability of the first generation).[10] It is possible to rent almost everything (from a ladder to a wedding dress), thus eliminating the need for ownership.[11]
  • Whole branches of industry die off and new branches of industry arise. This affects unskilled workers who are compelled to change their residence to find new jobs. The constant change in the Market economics also poses a problem for advertisers who must deal with moving targets. [12]
  • People of post-industrial society change their profession and their workplace often. People have to change professions because professions quickly become outdated. People of post-industrial society thus have many careers in a lifetime. The knowledge of an engineer becomes outdated in ten years. People look more and more for temporary jobs.[13]
  • To follow transient jobs, people have become nomads. For example, immigrants from Algeria, Turkey and other countries go to Europe to find work. Transient people are forced to change residence, phone number, school, friends, car license, and contact with family often. As a result, relationships tend to be superficial with a large number of people, instead of being intimate or close relationships that are more stable. Evidence for this is tourist travel and holiday romances.[14]
  • The driver's license, received at age 16, has become the teenager's admission to the world of adults, because it symbolizes the ability to move independently.[15]




The main principles of civilization's approach.


Three basic ideas exist in this approach:   

• Each local civilization has unique originality. Local civilizations are differed from each other on the systems of values, the customs, the culture, the production technology, their morals and philosophy.    

• Each local civilization survives the periods of birth, blossoming, decline, death. The cycle of the life of civilization is such.  

• These local civilizations exist near with each other, these local civilizations replace each other and these local civilizations fight with each other.  

Researchers separate several local civilizations: Ancient Egypt, the civilization of Babylon and Assyria, Ancient China, Ancient India, the antique civilization of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the civilization of Ancient America, the Moslem civilization of Arab caliphate and Osman empire, West European civilization. Debates exist about the composition of this list of civilizations. The reason of debates consists in that this researchers did not find criterion, which distinguishes one civilization from another. In my opinion, such criterion is the list of great social inventions which were made by this civilization. For example, my large doubts cause attempt to consider Russia as separate civilization. Сontrary to the principles of Russian patriotism, it is difficult to find in the history of Russia fact of the made of great social inventions, which entered into the gold fund for humanity. Russia, as and the majority of the countries of World, did not invent, but Russia learned at other civilizations. It is desirable to repeat again, that Russia is the transitional country from Asia to Europe, like Byzantium. Civilization is society, built on the specific set of great social inventions.  One civilization is differed from another civilization with help of the set of these inventions.       

Giambattista Vico, Oswald Spengler, Arnold J. Toynbee had created the classical and widely known theories within the framework of civilizational approach to the history of society. All these authors were fond by statement of questions of culture and mythology, their style of statement was metaphorical and too verbose.

The law of challenge and response of Arnold J. Toynbee

Arnold J. Toynbee
Fleet of triremes made up of photographs of the modern full-sized replica Olympias
Roman legion at attack
Minoan civilization. Knossos
Terrace agriculture at Incas
Corpus Iuris Civilis, 1583
A lateen-rigged caravel, Caravela Latina
Medieval parliament .

   Its main book is “A Study of History” into 12 volumes. [16] The essence of the law of challenge and response consists of the following. Environment proposes the challenge for civilization, elite must find response to this challenge. If there is no response or response is inadequate, then civilization perishes. If the elite manages to find the correct response to a challenge, the elite manages to solve a problem with the help of a new great invention, then this civilization conquers own neighbors and this civilization teaches own neighbors to this new great invention.

Expansion of borders, replenishment of work force and assimilation of neighbors - barbarians – these kinds of activity are characteristic of any civilization.   

Three types of the challenges exist:    

Unfavorable natural and climatic conditions.  The civilization achieves success not owing to easy conditions of the geographical environment, but in spite of severe climate. Too good natural conditions and absence of challenges, as a rule, encourages the return to nature (“"forward to apes") and absence of challenges lead to the cessation of any development of civilization.    

Attacks of foreigners.  

Rotting and the decline of the neighbouring civilizations, the weakness of enemy is challenge also, because the weakness of enemy generates hope for an easy victory at other enemy.         

Elite is creative minority, which rules at first owning to merits and authority, then elite degenerates inevitably and elite rules with help of the force of weapon, then elite perishes and elite gives way on the top of power to another elite. The elite must turn sluggish and inert masses to own strong-willed satellites, striving for the new goals. Mass is noncreative majority. Mass is deprived of the ability to create and mass must imitate to elite. Arnold J.Toynbee could not formulate criterion, which distinguishes one civilization from another. Therefore Arnold J. Toynbee named too many civilizations  ‐  21 civilization. Moreover, Arnold J. Toynbee literally had "drowned" in information about a huge number of historic facts and Arnold J. Toynbee could not state clearly own concept because Toynbee was not able to allocate main thing in own concept.


Examples of the successful responses of the civilizations:

  • Hunters of the Sahara.  Unfavorable for the ancient people process of the drying up of Аfro ‐ Asian steppe has begun after the end of glacial period. Desert the Sahara had arisen on the spot of fertile pastures. The process of drying up is challenge for the ancient people. Some tribes of hunters and gatherers has died out simply. Other tribes made two great responses: nomad cattle breeding and irrigation agriculture. Nomads established nomad civilization and nomads had begun to conduct their herds along the seasonal route of migration skillfully, from one oasis to another. The such steppes and climate exist in America and Australia too, but Indians and aborigines of Australia did not know such invention, as cattle breeding. Thus, not all depends from natural conditions. The ancestors of Egyptians and inhabitants of Mesopotamia could master the swamps in the valleys of the river Nile, the Tigris and the Euphrates. Egyptians and inhabitants of Mesopotamia had established river’s civilizations, Egyptians and inhabitants of Mesopotamia had built grandiose drainage and irrigating systems, using not iron, but only stone and wooden instruments of labor.

  • Andes civilization had arisen in the territory of upland. Challenge for the ancestors of Incas is the small territory of the earth, suitable for the agriculture in the mountains, severe climate and the low fertility of the earth. Response of the ancestors of Incas is a terraced agriculture.


  • Minos civilization.  Island Crete was the center of this civilization, this civilization had arisen as a result the challenge of sea. Phoenicians lived in the mountains on the coast of sea and Phoenicians had little earth, suitable for the agriculture. Response of Phoenicians is a invention of seagoing ships, sea trade and alphabet. Bronze weapon, glasswares and Tyrian purple fabrics has become by Phoenician’s goods. Minos civilization perished as a result natural catastrophe, as a result of volcanic eruption in 1 600 years B.C. Phoenicians were extruded from maritime trade routes by their disciples - the ancient Greeks, which have surpassed their teachers in the trade. Alexander the Great has seized phoenician city Tyre. The last colony of Phoenicians Carthage was destroyed by Ancient Rome. Thus, Phoenicians did not find response to the new challenge of environment  ‐  commercial competition of Greece and the military invasion of Ancient Macedonia and Ancient Rome and Phoenician’s civilization had perished. 


  • Challenges for the antique civilization of Ancient Greece are the small fertility of stony soils and the shortage of food in the conditions of rapid growth of the population. There were three attempts to make an response to this challenge.

The response of Sparta consisted in the fact that it is necessary to conquer earth of neighbors in Messenia, to convert conquered inhabitants into the state slaves and to force them to work on the Spartans. Sparta was forced to create regular army and to militarize all own life from top to bottom for performance of this task, but Spartans had no craft and trade, Spartans were backward in all spheres, except war.

The response of Corinth consisted in the fact that it is necessary to establish overseas colonies in Sicily, South Italy and Frakia, where much of fertile earth exists, and it is necessary to bring grain from this colonies.

But Athens had made most successful and most effective response. Inhabitants of Athens has borrowed invention of Phoenicians (sea’s trade and craft), and inhabitants of Athens have bought the grain to the gained money simply. Athens have surpassed their teachers in the fact that inhabitants of Athens had invented the first in the world warship (trireme), but not the trade ship, the new goods  (iron weapon, wine, olive oil, silver adornments, ceramic ware and so on). The invasion of Persians to Greece had caused the successful campaign of Alexander the Great to Persia. Ancient Rome have invented Roman law and mobile construction of infantry in response to the invasion of Gauls to Rome.   

  • The constant invasions of nomads had become by the challenge for Russia. Russia is located on the road from Asia to Europe, on which the countless waves of invasions went in Europe from the side of nomads. As a result Byzantine empire, which was located on this road also, was wiped off the face of the earth simply, but Austria has managed to stand against Ottoman Empire. The response of Russia consisted in the invention of semi-military estate  ‐ Cossacks, in the use of firearms and boat against the nomads. A gunpowder was invented in China, then the firearms were cardinally improved by Europeans, boat (Longship) is Varangians invention, thus, Russians invented nothing, but Russians used the European inventions against the Asiatic nomads successfully. Cossacks have settled on the rivers and Cossacks have made rivers as natural boundaries of defense, then Cossacks has begun to use a boat for the advance into Siberia, thus, Cossacks has conquered the earth of nomads. Cossacks has crushed this ancient center of aggression against the farmers of Europe and Asia.  

In my opinion, if you develop the ideas of Toynbee, then it is possible to name challenges, which had led to four great English inventions:  

  • The low labor productivity of serf workers has caused necessity to invent more effective economic stimuluses – premium and fine instead of administrative stimuluses.
  • The deficit of supply of goods, especially pepper and spices, had become by challenge, which led to the need of inventing ocean ‐ going ships (Caravels) for oceanic trade and market’s competitions, under which the deficit of supply of goods cannot exist in principle. If ships were primitive early and it was possible to float on them only along the coast to hide in any bay in the case of storm, then it was possible to float straight through the ocean with help of the Caravel and Carrack.   
  • Competition from the side of the Indian weavers, which could manufacture fabric of the manual work on the very low price and excellent quality, this competition has caused need of inventing Power loom, steam engine and other technical inventions.  
  • The abuses of tyrants have caused the need of the inventing of the system of representative democracy, which consists from constitution, parliament, system of the separation of powers, multi ‐ party elections and political freedoms.

  The synthesis of formational approach and civilization’s approach                                                    

Some authors opposed unreasonably these approaches under research of the history of society. In my opinion, the theoretical synthesis is necessary of these approaches. Who drives up mankind on steps of progressive formational development? Some religious philosophers called God’s will in quality of such whip, this God’s will conducts humanity to the purpose. This explanation does not suit me, because in my opinion, god does not exist. The progress of society occurs not according to the godly plan, but with help of blind search, by method trial and error according to the law of challenge and response of Arnold J. Toynbee. Local civilizations realize different projects of development, local civilizations fight with each other; as a result the natural selection occurs of these civilizations and their responses with help of the war and the competition on the international market. Сhange of civilizations – leaders on the world scene happens because of this fight of civilizations. War and market competition are lot always, therefore any civilization can't win eternally according to probability theory. Good luck can turn away from earlier successful civilization once, besides degeneration of creative elite of this civilization happens over time, the creative elite loses ability to do inventions. Local civilization is the unit of selection in the human history, like the biological species in the biosphere. Thus, the struggle of local civilizations is the reason for formational development, the struggle of local civilizations is such whip, which drives up mankind on steps of progressive formational development, although certain people, nations, organizations, groups, countries and local civilizations develop cyclically through birth, blossoming, decline, death. 

Examples of the civilization ‐ leaders in the world arena, who changed each other:

  • the Ancient East,
  • Antique civilization of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome,
  • Western Europe and USA.

Many conquerors of the past  ‐  Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Adolf Hitler had attempted to attain world supremacy, but this idea is utopia, because  embodiment into the life of this idea would lead to the end of rivalry between the civilizations, to stagnation and end of the progress of humanity, that it isn't possible in principle. By the way, Russia put an end to claims on world supremacy to three of four grand conquerors - to Genghis Khan, Napoleon and Hitler. Of course Genghis Khan's grandson Batu Khan won against Russia, but force of a mongols were exhausted as a result of this victory and mongols could not move on conquest of Western Europe. And later Russia won against the Golden Horde and turned it into own colony.

The building of the global system of human society, which we observe today, will lead not to the termination, but to the sharpening of economic rivalry between the separate regions of world. For example, the countries of Southeast Asia and China have come out on top on rates of economic development today. Military rivalry of the Russian Federation and the United States of America has sharpened today too.

Citations and references.

  1. Karl Marx 1859 A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Preface.
  2. August Vittfogel "Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power".
  3. Aron Raymond (1968) Democracy and totalitarianism. Chapter 21. Soviet regime and attempts of its understanding.
  4. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Introduction.
  5. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 4. THINGS: THE THROW-AWAY SOCIETY. The Missing Supermarket.
  6. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 2. THE ACCELERATIVE THRUST.Subterranean Cities.
  7. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 2. THE ACCELERATIVE THRUST. The Flow of Situations.
  8. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 3. THE PACE OF LIFE. People of the Future.
  9. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 4. THINGS: THE THROW-AWAY SOCIETY. The Paper Wedding Gown. The Economics of Impermanence
  10. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 4. THINGS: THE THROW-AWAY SOCIETY. The Economics of Impermanence
  11. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 4. THINGS: THE THROW-AWAY SOCIETY. The Rental Revolution.
  12. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 4. THINGS: THE THROW-AWAY SOCIETY. Temporary Needs.
  13. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 6. PEOPLE: THE MODULAR MAN
  14. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 6. PEOPLE: THE MODULAR MAN
  15. Alvin Toffler Future Shock. Chapter 5. PLACES: THE NEW NOMADS. Suicides and Hitch-hikers.
  16. Arnold J. Toynbee. “A Study of History”