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I tre regimi sociometabolici della storia dell’uomo

A livello globale si possono individuare tre principali regimi sociometabolici distinti da un particolare sistema energetico: il regime dell’uomo cacciatore-raccoglitore, quello dell’uomo agricoltore e, infine, il regime industriale. Nel corso della storia si sono verificate delle transizioni da un regime all’altro, alle quali spesso viene dato il nome di “rivoluzione” data la rilevanza che queste hanno assunto. La rivoluzione Neolitica è la transizione (avvenuta circa 10000 anni fa) da una società di cacciatori-raccoglitori a una società di agricoltori-allevatori. La rivoluzione industriale (iniziata in Gran Bretagna nel XVIII secolo) è la transizione da una società agricola a una società industriale.

Le transizioni da un regime sociometabolico ad un altro non sono dei processi continui, ma avvengono attraverso particolari punti di rottura. La resilienza tipica di un sistema impedisce che variazioni esterne ne compromettano la struttura. Ma se si verificano particolari condizioni critiche, il sistema inizia a modificare il suo metabolismo evolvendo verso una nuova forma di regime stabile, oppure collassando inesorabilmente (Tainter 1988). Un sistema socio-ecologico non è da considerarsi statico ed immobile. La complessa rete di interazioni al suo interno e verso l’esterno lo rendono dinamico e disposto ad assumere delle particolari forme (sottosistemi) in base alle diverse condizioni locali, come la disponibilità di risorse, le condizioni climatiche, la disponibilità di acqua e suolo fertile.

A cura di Alice Benessia, Maria Bucci, Simone Contu, Vincenzo Guarnieri.

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