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Self-Regulation and Human ProgressHow Society Gains When We Govern Less$
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Evan Osborne

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780804796446

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804796446.001.0001

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Getting There

Getting There

The Long Road to Self-Regulation

(p.13) Chapter 2 Getting There
Self-Regulation and Human Progress

Evan Osborne

Stanford University Press

Almost as long there has been a human species, we have formed societies based on the principle of political regulation. There is a small cadre of leaders often assumed to have the right to order the lives of other members of society, supported by a current monopoly of armaments. While not universal, this pattern has been the norm since the agricultural revolution. In particular, it is argued that the idea of continuous social improvement was hardly known in ancient civilizations. Only in the late Renaissance did a pattern of thought evolve that indicated that it is better to see the pattern and outcomes of human social systems as progressing, with such systems capable under certain circumstances of regulating themselves to better effect than outsiders could hope to regulate them.

Keywords:   intellectual history, human evolution, agricultural revolution, Aquinas, Montesquieu, Hegel

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