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David Priestland

Merchant, Soldier, Sage: A New History Of Power

Hay Festival 2013 , 

The historian argues for the predominance in any society of one of three broad value systems – that of the merchant (commercial and competitive); the soldier (aristocratic and militaristic); and the sage (bureaucratic or creative). These ‘castes’ struggle alongside the worker (egalitarian and artisanal) for power. Then comes a point of drastic change and the result is economic crisis, war or revolution, and eventually a new caste takes over.