Food Surplus

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 17th, 2011

Economics 101

The System of Hunting and Gathering has one Fatal Flaw – it Takes a Lot of Land which Results in War

Economics can be complicated.  Why?  Because it’s not an exact science.  It’s a social science.  That means it is opinion.  And theory.  Things aren’t black and white.  They’re gray.  Because of this it is necessary to know history.  To know what has worked.  And what hasn’t.  So let’s go back to a significant development that kicked off economic activity.  Trade.

When we were hunters and gatherers there wasn’t much economic activity.  And our lives were simpler.  All we did was search for food.  Built tools to help us hunt and gather.  Made our own clothes to help us hunt and gather.  And when we bumped into other hunters and gatherers we fought.  To expand the borders of our hunting and gathering grounds.  Making this time a violent time.  Where the fittest survived.  The strongest civilizations conquered the weaker ones.  Took their food.  Killed them.  And expanded into their territory.  Allowing stronger civilizations to grow.  At the expense of weaker civilizations.

Those most adept at killing others, then, advanced.  Putting civilizations onto a war path.  For survival.  It was inevitable.  For the system of hunting and gathering has one fatal flaw.  It takes a lot of land.  And as a civilization grew so did their hunting and gathering grounds.  Which brought civilizations together.  Into conflict.  As they fought over limited food resources.  To subsist.

The Development of Agriculture Made our Lives Better

Everything they did they did for one reason.  To survive.  There were no luxuries.  No entertainment.  It was a miserable existence simply to survive from day to day.  Life was hard.  And we died young from age.  We were lucky to see 40.  And those who did suffered from rotting teeth, arthritis, broken bones or other maladies.  Things that we manage today.  But not then.  Back then, people could die if they lost their teeth.  Because if they couldn’t chew animal meat or nuts, they didn’t eat animal meat or nuts.  There were no dentists then.  Or dentures.

Or our environment killed us.  Or our enemies.  In the prime of our youth.

What changed this?  What made life better?  The shrinking of hunting and gathering grounds.  Allowing more and more people to live on a smaller area of land.  And one thing made that possible.  The development of agriculture.  Growing food.  With our new farming skills.  And our new animal husbandry skills.  Domesticating and breeding animals.

A Surplus of Food, and the things that this Surplus let us Create, Introduced Economic Activity and Peace

With agriculture came advanced civilizations.  A better life.  And peace.  Because we were able to produce a food surplus.  Which let people do other things.  They didn’t have to hunt and gather for subsistence.  And it’s that surplus of food, and the things that this surplus let us create, that introduced economic activity.  Because we had things we could trade with other people.  Transforming us from warring civilizations of hunters and gatherers.  To peaceful civilizations of traders.  Which gave us the world we know today.


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