Got Mongongo Nuts?

The original sin.

This article has made me reconsider two of my cherished views.

– I had argued with Justuju in the past that hunter-gatherers enjoy a poorer quality of life compared to agriculturalists, industrialists and post-industrialists. This article rubbishes at least one of these claims, as far as the progression is concerned.

– Quoting Diamond:   

 

At this point it’s instructive to recall the common complaint that archaeology is a luxury, concerned with the remote past, and offering no lessons for the present. Archaeologists studying the rise of farming have reconstructed a crucial stage at which we made the worst mistake in human history. Forced to choose between limiting population or trying to increase food production, we chose the latter and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny.. 

 

I am guilty of this anti-archeology bias. I have also been in the clutches of a progressivist dogma.

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4 comments
  1. Justuju said:

    🙂 Thanks unawoken. He does bring up some findings about the early tribes that I didn’t know much about. Thanks for finding this and posting it.

  2. Carpe Diem said:

    Hey Unawoken, this is a great post. Diamond has had a lot of “deductive” analysis in his prior books, but this paper is clearly more of a “prescriptive” moral judgement.

    I have always believed hunter gatherer living is better – and indeed you will see that the upper echelons of even the industrial economy are organized into hunting/gathering activities (albeit with the intercession of capital, and the notion of return – thus all VCs, Private Equity Funds, and Hedge Funds are essentially apex predators that capture surplus efficiently from the lower levels of “production ecosystems” – we can discuss the analogy offline if you want to save time reading up to align ground-up – and these apex predators essentially operate as Hunter/Gatherers of the political economy, and their leaders enjoy the best lifestyles, the maximal leisure and latitude).

    More interesting is not only the moral judgement against choosing quantity over quality – but also the (not so deeply covered in this paper) role of “settlement” in promoting gender inequality and driving the subjugation of women. Men are possessive (and display-prone) by nature (ref: Ridley, Wright), and women are more harmony-seeking. A culture with surplus and high urban density aligns alpha-male behaviour along the lines of economic activities that grab the most surplus. Such a (surplus rich) cullture also accentuates the “dark side” of how the harmony-seeking side of the race can get subjugated by the possession-seeking side of the race. Here is an article on how this is starting to change in western industrial democracies, with rising role of women in the workforce

    http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/dwindling-alpha-males

  3. Carpe Diem,

    “thus all VCs, Private Equity Funds, and Hedge Funds are essentially apex predators that capture surplus efficiently from the lower levels of “production ecosystems” – we can discuss the analogy offline if you want to save time reading up to align ground-up – and these apex predators essentially operate as Hunter/Gatherers of the political economy, and their leaders enjoy the best lifestyles, the maximal leisure and latitude).”

    Excellent synthesis! I like!

    I will check out the article you posted and revert

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