Hanseatic League – A Complexity Approach
I’m posting about the Hanseatic League (an obscure topic for most Americans, I’m sure), because it is one of these interesting little social, political and economic dynamics that sprung up out of a necessity for order, peace and stability needed for the exchange of goods, services and capital, rose to prominence over the course of several centuries, and then dissipated due to external and internal conditions, ultimately stemming from a lack of adaptability, respect for common order and the rise of external powers (ie, changes in the social environment around them that made it not conducive for them to be around as they were).
Geography, both physical and social, played a key role in developing the origins of the Hansa’s trade ports, routes and members. That’s probably how VIsby on Gotland (an island in the Baltic Sea, now part of Sweden) started as the league’s center. Lubeck and Hamburg formed a cooperative alliance, due to the rise of the merchant class on the heals of the German imperial aristocracy, and the rest is history. These natural conditions on the ground then gave rise to a common economic interest, which then lead to a banding together for common defense in light of the falling Holy Roman Empire. From there, you watch as other cities join in, and the League grows due to the economic benefits that are being realized by the merchants and also by the decline of the agricultural aristocracy under the city merchants. The League wins a few battles, defeats the challengers, and continues to grow in influence, fighting off the governments of nobles to secure economic wealth for themselves. However, due to what appears to be a lack of awareness of any checks on the League’s leaders’ power, probably led to the infighting, which then did not help with the new discoveries and advancements that were being made outside of the Hansa’s jurisdiction. National governments toppled aristocratic, and visages of popular democracy and nationalism overruled the less than effectual city-state oligarchies. Continued reliance on old traditions, coupled with enhanced political and economic competition from outside, ended the League after a long period of time, until it was first neutered, and then put to sleep after a long period of impotency.
The point of this very simple walkthrough is to demonstrate how things work in our larger social world over extended periods of time.
It also shows that we can predict how the lower level units are going to self-organize, based on common geographic, cultural, linguistic, social, historical, economic and political interests, should any of the present higher level social organizations (ie, the present nation-states or the super-state organizations) should collapse due to one thing or another happening in our social, economic, or environmental worlds. This is useful for making plans for the future as it gives us some degree of understanding as to how things could play out should an x-event happen that topples the entire global order that is eroding slowly as we speak, as of May, 2014 CE.
Finally, it hopefully should shine a light on the possibility of outside encounters from other planets and aspects of our universe outside of our own planet. We cannot afford to continue thinking in terms of there only being us in the universe, especially when we already know how large it is and how probable it is that there is other intelligent life, capable of making advanced tools and gaining advanced insights into the universes’ order that might make our latest works into mere ancient child’s play by comparison. If we are truly going to mitigate against all hazards, we should have a kind of Prime Directive ready to use for if we’re weaker, equal or stronger than the other, such that we don’t get hurt in the encounter in the myriad of ways that we can get hurt, and so that the other does not get hurt out of concern for that one day, negatively effecting us. We live in a potentially large neighborhood of other worlds that are inhabitable by sentient life beyond our present abilities to imagine. We already are starting to find that animals on our own planet are also more intelligent and aware of how things work than we’ve previously thought. What’s there to stop similar phenomenon from happening in relation to other worlds and planets?
Think about it.
Because these historical cases should be studied more in depth, using background in Complex Adaptive Systems theory. They should shine light on how things actually work in our social, economic, political and environmental worlds and reveal to us the physics that are behind it all, such that we can program computers to give us read outs of likely and unlikely situations that might occur given our actions at present. We can take charge of our own destiny now, as a species, through preparing and mitigating for all hazards that actually could be out there while factoring the unknown and unknowable variables and values that are at stake. There is only so much that is new or novel in this place, and so much repetition of the same conditions and the same events over and over and over again.
Perhaps there is a pattern here that we should be observing, and through observation, we change the pattern?
Think about it.
See on en.wikipedia.org
Tags: Cities, Collaboration, competition, complexity, Economic, economy, Ecosystem, environment, governance, government, history, Language, Merchants, military, Oligarchy, Organization, Political, politics, science, Social environment
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