Neil Faulkner looks at the centuries following 1000 BCE when the scale of civilisation and empire exploded as the productivity of iron tools boosted the surpluses available to Iron Age empire-builders.
The constant rise and fall of Bronze age societies was a product of their wasteful, crisis ridden nature. But in the barbarian periphery around 1300 BCE an industrial revolution had begun that was to transform the world.
The complex societies that emerged from the division of society into classes also created societies that were wasteful, violent, stagnant and crisis prone. Understanding why is the key to how history happens argues Neil Faulkner.
The Early Neolithic economy was doomed by insoluble contradictions. Technique was primitive and wasteful. Society lacked reserves against natural disaster and hard times. Virgin land ran out as old fields were exhausted and populations grew.
In part three of Neil Faulkner's Marxist history series he reveals how the advent of farming lead to primitive communistic societies who through land depletion and scarcity of resources would be forced into global war.
In the second of his regular series Neil Faulkner reveals the incredible innovation and adaptability of our ancient ancestors, their unique combination of language and imagination and how cultures formed to fit the different environments in which early societies lived and worked.