A few points regarding thinking about human civilization as a general energy system:
Systems are controlled by their most labile components.
In the case of human civilization, that means that is controlled by the people who are the “best” at backing up dishonesty with violence.
Systems flow along their path of least action, or least resistance.
In the case of human civilization, that means that civilization follows the path of least morality. (It is possible to organized resistance, in order to change the path of least resistance somewhat.)
If one thinks enough about how human systems are general energy systems, it becomes clear how and why civilization operates according to the principles and methods of organized crime, and why there is almost nothing but a core of organized crime surrounded by controlled opposition.
The great paradoxes are due to warfare being the oldest and most developed form of social science and social engineering, whose successes were crucially based upon deceits and treacheries. Upon that foundation was built the established monetary system based on enforced frauds.
I agree that Graeber’s research is some of the more interesting, and one of my favourite quotes from him is this one:
“If history shows anything, it is that there’s no better way to justify relations founded on violence, to make such relations seem moral, than by reframing them in the language of debt — above all, because it immediately makes it seem that it’s the victim who’s doing something wrong.”
I found the article by Christensen above to be on the right track. However, after thinking about this matters for several decades, I would add two more comments:
ENERGY IS SPIRIT
The dominant philosophy of science has inverted the entropy equations in thermodynamics and information theory, by inserting an arbitrary minus sign. That resulted in the measurements of power and information have relative positive values, rather than relative negative values, which was what the mathematical physics itself was saying, before that understanding was inverted and perverted.
The biggest bullies’ ***** social stories have dominated natural languages, and the philosophy of science. Therefore, we tend to understand energy systems in superficial and backward ways. In that context, there could be a lot more scientific progress made with respect to thinking about money as a proxy for energy. However, to do that requires some BIG paradigm changes …