Everyone is familiar with the miracle of phase change in the physical world. We marvel at snowflakes that are just water in disguise.
When water goes through a critical temperature, it turns to ice—a phase change. It obeys different rules, we use different tools to deal with the different phases, and our intuition about water tells us nothing about ice.
Civilizations undergo phase change driven by equivalences—a food equivalence for the Agricultural Revolution and a power equivalence for the Industrial Revolution. When they do, their institutions change form, obey different rules, and our intuition fails us. For example, due to the invention of money, markets and commerce replaced barter—new forms obeying new rules. During the Industrial Revolution mass production replaced cottage production—a new form for producing goods.