Monday, July 30, 2007

The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race

That's the title of a paper by Jared Diamond where he exposes what has been held sacrosanct for centuries - agriculture - as the worst step that mankind took. You can read the pdf here. The article in itself was published in 1987, but is seminal in its approach, for me at the least.

From healthy food to malnutrition - In today's age, the remaining nomadic have a more protein and fibre rich diet as opposed to a carbohydrate diet that our staple rice and wheat provide. Also, since we are totally dependent on a few varieties of food, during a famine there is lack of food as opposed to the nomadic who rely on more sources of food that we could possibly imagine.

From tribes to kingdoms - When it was cult of the hunter/gatherer, there could be no one who could command over the other as a parasite, since there was no concept of stored food. Each tribe fended for itself on a daily basis.

And then there are arguments that farming is less time taking. But statistics reveal that an average hunter/gatherer works less than 20 hours for its food needs, as opposed to the farmer. Also art. The progressivist view keeps that art flourished because we went farming. But evidence is in place about art existing even before farming. Given that these days preservation methods have become better, but that is due to technological improvements and not due to agriculture.

The article is an eye-opener. Read it. Opens the mind in a different direction.

The article was sent to me by a friend of mine, who is leaving to pursue a phd in economics. Ah! the life of an academic. I also have such plans but it is going to take some time to materialize and I have calculated the financial implications of such academic pursuits.
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