The development of civilization is usually credited for the explosion of human populations and the rise of humanity as Earth’s dominant species. One the backbone of civilization is writing. The writing Has independently the developed all over the world and all different types of civilizations. It allows us to communicate through time and space. To learn from long past humans and indulge in fantasy.   That is the question that the New Yorker article “A Case Against Civilization” written by John Lancaster.


Now one of the main sources John Landchester uses within this paper is a man named James C. Scott. The comparative scholar in agrarian societies and anarchism. History of early societies puts him at a certain level of expertise that allows him to discuss this issue in great detail. And he brings up something that really makes me question his position. Is writing a tool of control. “War, slavery, rule by élites—all were made easier by another new technology of control: writing. “It is virtually impossible to conceive of even the earliest states without a systematic technology of numerical record keeping,” Scott maintains.” He claims this because it is an effective way of keeping track of people, keeping taxes, managing economies, and, slaving people. He claims that this is one of the most effective tools of control. What makes writing more effective than just the application of physical force on people. Wouldn’t promise of food or wealth be better as it keeps you invested in civilization. What does writing fundamentally let you control people were more than before it. Beforehand you couldn’t keep track of slaves but now you can which makes it somehow worse? Acting as if being ripped one day but now being whipped and having your name on a piece of Papyrus on another is worse, then already being a slave.  

Record-keeping is important in any kind of long-term organization of people. It allows people to convey what was happening at the time to people in the past or present. This is Allows for someone who may have just coming to the leadership position of a long-term organization to get an idea for what the goals and past are of the group in order to make good decisions for the future. It allows people to make good decisions on how to allocate resources and labor. “It was the ability to tax and to extract a surplus from the produce of agriculture that, in Scott’s account, led to the birth of the state, and also to the creation of complex societies with hierarchies, division of labor, specialist jobs (soldier, priest, servant, administrator), and an élite presiding over them.” Now, this quote takes the hierarchical structure and division of labor as a inherit negative. Put it off so just point out the good things about writing. First off it allows you to accurately assess what someone is due. This allows you to maintain social order and also help build the economy. Which can be crucial to sure prosperity for all. The second allows for the efficient division of labor. This means that projects can be done by the right people at the right times. You’re not going to send soldiers to plant seeds now, are you? You’re going to send some farmers who know what they are doing. This is crucial to also sure a surplus as people who are efficient at their jobs tend to either produce superior quality goods and services or produce a large amount quantity of goods and services. The wave writing helps you is that you can just objectively look at records and see who’s produced more who’s made tools that have lasted longer. Third I said before record-keeping allows you to plan out future developments. For example, census allows you to know how the populations going to grow thereby knowing how much your economy is going to grow and much food you’re going to need to feed all those new people. So now you can plan ahead for the future and not be surprised when there are thousands of people starving in the streets. No needless for suffering Because of writing and a little bit of planning. Writing can an able so much good that it’s unbelievable.

Writing allows us to express ourselves in ways that it cannot do with words. It’s amazing what people have done with the written word. People can create eloquent stories that span thousands of years, create hundreds of different characters with complex motivations or Detailed accounts of our lives in order to show people would weave experience. But on the hold, the majority of writing is used to record things. Mostly in conjunction with government and business. Put the following quote is used by James in the article. “There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” Walter Benjamin” The man in reference killed himself will try to escape Nazi Germany. Now James uses his quote to fortify claim that all of civilization is built on barbary like slavery and war and how writing enables for civilization to have a greater capacity for these things. Now for all the documents of civilization that involves slavery in war there so many more that are about helping other, improving people’s lives, and, peaceful relations. Singer some of the documents of civilization or barbarism is he fair claim but saying all of them are is a bit overboard. “Mesopotamia, the writing was used exclusively for bookkeeping: “the massive effort through a system of notation to make a society, its manpower, and its production legible to its rulers and temple officials, and to extract grain and labor from it.” Early tablets consist of “lists, lists, and lists,” Scott says, and the subjects of that record-keeping are, in order of frequency, “barley (as rations and taxes), war captives, male and female slaves.” We also need to remember that we can’t judge civilizations of the past by our modern standards because it loses the context in which the civilizations existed. You can see the Persians is warmongering expansionist in modern times But from my perspective at the time they were Lincoln and how societies under their rule-governed themselves.

Work Cited

Lanchester, John. “The Case Against Civilization.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 11 Sept. 2017,

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