January 20, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.
Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.
‘Our Egalitarian Eden’
Posted on Jun 5, 2014
“Hunter-gatherers—and presumably all our ancestors—lived as equals,” explains a brief survey of the accumulated research into the socioeconomic conditions that prevailed across the vast majority of human existence.
“Many anthropologists think this egalitarian lifestyle,” in which resources and rights are distributed equitably among the group, “was an essential feature of hunting and gathering societies,” says an article published in the May “Inequality” issue of Science magazine. The author cites anthropologist Richard Lee, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, as saying that “an ethic of sharing was central to their way of life. … No one takes precedence over anyone else.” The arrangement contrasts “with both today’s titans of Wall Street and the alpha males of the great apes.”
Lee notes human beings lived as hunter-gatherers for more than 90 percent of their history. In evolutionary time, our 10,000 years of economic inequality has been brief.
Like all animals, the article states, humans are born unequal. Some “run faster, plan better, or make friends more easily than others.” Our instinctive desire to get the best for ourselves, even at the expense of others, “sets the stage for some to dominate.”
The article continues, “To find out why humans shunned hierarchies for most of our history, anthropologists have studied living hunter-gatherers around the world including Native Americans and the Ju/’hoansi/!Kung”:
Other traditional societies operate similarly, Boehm reported in an unpublished paper. Of the 330 foraging societies that exist today, he examined 56 that live in conditions resembling those of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. In those groups, having someone other than the hunter who made the kill distribute the meat “is universal,” he says.
The article continues:
Read more here.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly
Square, Site wide
New and Improved Comments