Week in Review
Why did the Europeans become the dominant people in the world? Why did their colonies become some of the richest and most affluent nations? Because when the Europeans entered those ships to cross the oceans they were farmers. Having given up their hunter and gatherer past long ago (see DNA analysis solves the mystery of how Europeans came to be farmers by Steve Connor posted 4/24/2014 on The Independent).
It was the biggest cultural shift in European prehistory but the Stone Age transition from a lifestyle based on hunting animals and gathering wild berries to one built on farming and livestock was largely a mystery – until now.
A detailed analysis of the DNA extracted from the bones of 11 prehistoric Scandinavians who lived thousands of years ago around the Baltic Sea has shown that the transition from hunting to farming was more of a one-way takeover than previously supposed.
The genetic makeup of the people who lived through this cultural revolution has revealed that the incoming migrant farmers from southern Europe subsumed the indigenous hunter gatherers of the north, rather than the other way round, scientists said.
Farming people are more advanced than hunters and gatherers. Because it takes knowledge and organization to master their environment and not live at its mercy. Which is what hunters and gatherers must do. As they travel across great expanses looking for food. Food they can only eat if nature provides it. And they can find it. Whereas farmers can grow food and raise livestock. On small farms. And they can grow a surplus. To carry them through winters. And bad growing seasons. While hunters and gatherers can only go hungry. And die.
So farming societies are more advanced than hunter and gatherer societies. Their knowledge and organization created food surpluses. And economic activity. Which created wealth. This is why the Europeans went on to dominant the hunter and gatherers they met in the Americas, Australia, etc. And why the transition from hunting to farming was a one-way takeover. For advanced people have the knowledge, organization and wealth to dominant less advanced people who must live at the mercy of their environment.
Tags: advanced people, Europeans, farmers, food, food surplus, hunter and gatherer, knowledge, mercy of their environment, organization, tools, wealth
Week in Review
North Korea is apparently in desperate need of food and/or energy. As they are being especially belligerent of late. When they want stuff they do some belligerent things. Like a petulant child. The international community then steps in to ratchet down the tension. And gives something to that petulant child to shut them up for awhile. But North Korea’s belligerence seems exceptionally belligerent these days (see North Korea says US ‘hell-bent on regime change’ by CARA ANNA, AP, posted 4/4/2014 on Yahoo! News).
North Korea on Friday accused the United States of being “hell-bent on regime change” and warned that any maneuvers with that intention will be viewed as a “red line” that will result in countermeasures.
Even North Korea is mocking President Obama about red lines.
Pyongyang’s deputy U.N. ambassador Ri Tong Il also repeated that his government “made it very clear we will carry out a new form of nuclear test” but refused to elaborate, saying only that “I recommend you to wait and see what it is…”
Ri blamed the U.S. for aggravating tensions on the Korean Peninsula by continuing “very dangerous” military drills with South Korea, by pursuing action in the U.N. Security Council against his country’s recent ballistic missile launches and by going after Pyongyang’s human rights performance.
Ri also accused the U.S. of blocking a resumption of six-party talks on its nuclear program by settling preconditions and said Washington’s primary goal is to maintain tensions and prevent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula…
North Korea walked away from the six-party nuclear disarmament talks in 2009 over disagreements on how to verify steps the North was meant to take to end its nuclear programs…
Using the initials of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name, Ri said, “The DPRK has been making strenuous, hard efforts, very generous, toward easing the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but ignoring all this generous position of the DPRK and its proposals, the U.S. went ahead with opening the joint military drills, very aggressive nature, and they’re now expanding in a crazy manner the scale of this exercise.”
This is the problem with being a reclusive communist regime. Yours is a world based on lies. You lie to your people. You lie to the world. You lie so much that you lose any connection to reality. Nuclear tests. Ballistic missile launches. An atrocious human rights record. Walking away from six-party nuclear disarmament talks. And yet they say they are being generous and working hard to ease the tensions on the Korean Peninsula? Tensions one would conclude North Korea caused based on Pyongyang’s deputy U.N. ambassador’s statements. Do they not see this? Or do they believe that the world will believe whatever they say? No matter how big the lie?
It makes one wonder if that ‘red line’ comment was a clever dig at President Obama. Or just a coincidence. For Vladimir Putin may be able to pull off a clever dig at President Obama. But when it comes to geopolitics Pyongyang deputy U.N. ambassador is no Vladimir Putin. For he is an autocrat. And understands the use of power (military and economic). The threat of using power. And uses it to take what he wants. Unlike the North Koreans (who can only make nuclear bluffs-they can’t cut off someone’s energy supplies like Putin can). Or president Obama for that matter. Who makes ‘red line’ declarations but fails to do anything once a red line is crossed.
A little regime change would be nice in North Korea. No doubt their people would like to live without those horrible human rights abuses. And the international community would like not having to deal with these recurring tantrums. But regime change will be painful. And costly. Especially for South Korea. Who will probably have to feed the North Koreans after their regime collapses. And bear the burden of reunifying the Koreas. With the United States no doubt having to pick up part of those costs. For the last thing they want is instability on the Korean Peninsula. But with the Obama administration slashing the defense budget the last thing they want is another nation to rebuild. So it is highly doubtful that the U.S. is “hell-bent on regime change.” Unless there was an inexpensive way of doing it. Which there rarely is.
Tags: ballistic missile, belligerent, DPRK, energy, food, human rights, international community, Korean peninsula, North Korea, nuclear, nuclear test, Pyongyang, red line, regime change, six-party talks, tensions
The Roman Empire survived for about 1500 Years
The Roman Empire was one of the greatest empires of all time. It lasted some 500 years in the West. And another thousand years in the East. Give or take. As empires go they don’t come much bigger. Or last longer. The Romans ruled the world. It stretched from Northern Africa to Britain. And from Spain to the Middle East. It was huge.
There have been bigger empires. The British Empire. The Mongol Empire. The Russian Empire. The Spanish Empire. And others. But none of them lasted as long as the 1500 years of the Roman Empire. The British Empire lasted about 400 years. The Mongol Empire lasted about 50 years. The Russian Empire lasted about 200 years. And the Spanish Empire lasted about 500 years. Adolf Hitler said the Third Reich would last a thousand years. But it lasted only 12. Proving that empire building—and empire maintaining—are easier said than done.
Yet the Romans did it for 1500 years. Give or take. So they knew a thing or two about empire building. And maintaining that empire. Yet even this mighty empire fell. Why? Historians still debate this question today. As do the laymen. With a person’s political persuasion sometimes determining what they believe.
A Debased Coin and High Taxes made the Roman Citizenry very Unhappy
Empires are costly. As Rome built her empire she paid for it by conquering new lands. So as her borders pushed out treasure flowed back the other way to Rome. Which paid for her massive military. And her massive bureaucracy to govern that sprawling empire. So the Roman people went about their business. Shielded from the cost of empire. Farming and taking their goods to market. Safe within their empire. For her enemies were outside the borders of the empire. And those borders were pushed a very long way out.
But then something happened. Those borders stopped moving. They were not conquering new lands. And there was no more treasure flowing back to Rome. Which was a problem. For the Roman Empire covered a lot of land that they had to govern. And defend. So the cost of the Roman Empire was never higher than when her borders stopped pushing out. While her revenue to pay for that empire was never smaller. So they had to do something. And that something was taxes. Lots of them. All of a sudden the Roman citizenry was feeling the cost of their bloated bureaucratic state. And the cost of that massive military that defended the frontier.
So taxes soared. Making the Roman citizenry unhappy. But the tax revenue proved to be insufficient. So they started debasing their currency. Adding more and more lead to their silver coins. But not their gold coins. For they used gold to pay the military and to pay the government bureaucrats. So they only debased the silver coin. The coin of the Roman citizenry. Which, of course, resulted in inflation. As the coins had less and less silver in them they bought less and less. So prices soared. As did taxes. Making the Roman citizenry very unhappy.
The Cost of Mercenaries and the Roman Bureaucracy and Welfare State bankrupted the Roman Empire
So the Romans started building things to entertain the people. And they grew a welfare state to help feed those who could not afford to buy food. Public works and the new welfare state may have eased some of the animosity towards the state. But it only increased the costs of the state. Requiring higher taxes. So high that people lost money on their farms and businesses. So they quit. Causing food and goods shortages. So the Romans passed laws forcing them to stay in their jobs. And forcing their children to do the same work their parents did. Which eventually evolved into feudalism.
Eventually the Roman citizenry no longer wanted to serve the empire. Leading to the use of mercenary armies. Which were costly. And only increased the cost of empire. With the silver coin so debased the Roman government would not even accept it in payment of taxes. So the government took a portion of the food grown and goods made. Making it more difficult to pay for the welfare state (just imagine your employer paying you in food, toilet paper, soap, etc.). And the mercenary armies guarding the frontier. Which could prove troublesome. As they had no loyalties to the Roman Empire. They were just hired muscle. Their blood loyalties were often to people on the other side of the border they were guarding. Having come from those people.
So the massive cost of hired mercenaries and the massive cost of the Roman bureaucracy and welfare state basically bankrupted the Roman Empire. Of course the American left prefers not to think about this. As they are very fond of their large welfare state. So some on the left often cite the decadence of the Roman Empire that caused her fall. They talk about the feasts, the drink, the gladiators, the orgies and other acts of debauchery that caused a societal decay that eroded the empire from within. Even while they are in the business of societal decay themselves. Free birth control, abortion on demand, the decriminalization of marijuana, the rejection of virtue and morality, their extreme secularism to remove any vestige of restraint from their lives of excess, etc. The kind of things a debauched Roman citizenry no doubt would have enjoyed. So either way the Roman Empire fell because of principles the American left embraces. Which means if liberals keep winning elections the United States will fall like the Roman Empire.
Tags: American Left, borders, bureaucracy, debase, debauchery, decadence, empire building, empire maintaining, food, frontier, gold coins, goods, liberals, mercenary armies, military, Roman citizenry, Roman Empire, Romans, silver coins, societal decay, taxes, United States, welfare state
Week in Review
Those on the left are wringing their hands as they look into the abyss of global warming. For to them there is nothing worse than a warming planet. But as it turns out there are things worse than a warming planet. Cold (see 6-year-old Minnesota girl found dead in subzero cold by Crystal Dey, Forum News Service, posted 2/28/2014 on Duluth News Tribune).
A 6-year-old Bemidji girl was found dead of exposure to the winter elements Thursday morning at her apartment complex, police said…
Temperatures in Bemidji early Thursday were in the 25-below-zero range with wind chills of 40 below.
According to the wind chill index from the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, N.D., with wind chills of 40 below frostbite can set in in less than 30 minutes.
Since Dec. 1., there have been 21 recorded deaths due to cold weather in Minnesota, according to the state Department of Health. From Dec. 1, 2012 to March 30, 2013, a total of 46 deaths attributed to extreme cold and cold temperature were reported.
How tragic. Sadly, she’s not the only victim the cold has claimed in Minnesota. 46 deaths since December, 1, 2012. This is what is worse than a warming planet. Cold. Such extreme cold that frostbite takes less than 30 minutes to set in. With hypothermia not that far behind. As well as death. Things that don’t happen where it’s warm.
Yes, people have died from exposure to extreme heat. But we should note what else happens in extreme heat. Life. For the first great civilizations didn’t happen near the Polar Regions. They happened near the tropics. The Nile river valley, the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys and the Indus river valley are all in the subtropics. Close to the tropics. Where it is hot. Allowing the Egyptians, the Sumerians and the Harappan to grow food. In the rich soil of these river valleys. Soil that was NOT covered by ice and snow. But warm. Warm enough to allow seeds to germinate. So there could be food. A lot of food. So much food that there were food surpluses. Allowing these great civilizations to live through the cooler and wetter winters. Which were nowhere near as cold and snow/ice covered as they are in Minnesota.
A cooling planet means more farmland under snow and ice for greater periods of time. And less food. Whereas a warming planet brings more land into cultivation. Allowing more food production. So a warming planet gives us life. While a cooling planet gives us less food. And if it continues to cool, famine. Which leads to death. So if there is anything to fear it’s a cooling planet. Not a warming planet. For not only is there no frostbite or hypothermia in a warm climate there is useable farmland. And life.
Tags: cold, cold weather, cooling planet, death, exposure, extreme cold, farmland, food, frostbite, Global Warming, hypothermia, ICE, life, river valley, snow, subtropics, tropics, warming planet, wind chill
Week in Review
The left has been warning us about the global warming apocalypse since the Nineties. And how the warming of the planet will kill us. But global warming is not high on the list of concerns for many these days. Especially during brutally cold weather of late (see About 35 feared dead in Quebec senior citizens’ home fire by The Associated Press posted 1/24/2014 on The Washington Times).
Using steam to melt the ice, investigators searched the frozen-over ruins of a retirement home Friday for victims of a fire that left about 35 people feared dead and cast such a pall over the village of 1,500 that psychologists were sent door to door.
The spray from firefighters’ hoses left the senior citizens home resembling a macabre snow palace, the ruins encased in thick white ice dripping with icicles.
Search teams of police, firefighters and coroners slowly and methodically went through the ruins, working in shifts in the extreme cold about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northeast of Quebec City. The afternoon temperature was around 3 degrees F (minus 16 Celsius.)…
Hivon said the home was up to code and had a proper evacuation plan. A Quebec Health Department document indicates the home which has operated since 1997, had only a partial sprinkler system. The home expanded around 2002, and the sprinklers in the new part of the building triggered the alarm.
The cold caused fire equipment to freeze, and firefighters used so much water that they drained the town reservoir.
Warm is better than cold. For we can survive in warm better than we can in cold. Here’s a fire in northern Quebec that became a dangerous labyrinth of ice as they fought a fire. Yet just another example of how dangerous cold can be.
The last of the great famines that weren’t manmade (like those resulting from the communism of Stalin or Mao or the current dictator in North Korea) were during the little ice age. When global temperatures cooled slightly. Shortening the growing season. Thus diminishing the food supply. And without sufficient food people die. This is the danger of climate. Cooling. For we can handle global warming. As long as it’s warm we can grow food. If the soil is too dry we can irrigate. If it doesn’t rain we can irrigate the land with desalinated seawater. Of which there is a never ending supply of in the world’s oceans. And we can turn seawater into fresh water with the energy from nuclear power plants that provide our electricity to drive our air conditioners during the greatest of heat waves.
If it’s warm there is no limit to what man can do. If the world is covered in snow and ice, though, not even man can save the human race. Unless, that is, manmade global warming is real. If so then man could warm an ice age and grow the food to sustain the human race.
Global warming? Pish tosh. The great civilizations arose once man took control of his environment. And if he’s warming it so much the better. For that just means longer growing seasons and more food to sustain a growing world population.
Tags: cold, famine, food, food supply, Global Warming, growing season, ICE, ice age, warm, warming, water
It is very rare for People to Vacation somewhere where they have to wear more Clothes
People love a white Christmas. Looking out your front window as a gentle snow falls. Christmas lights and reindeer on the lawn poking out from the fields of snow. Coming in from the cold and shaking the snow off. Then warming up with a cup of cocoa in front of the fireplace. Feeling the warmth radiate out while listening to the pops of the burning wood. The warm memories of Christmases past. Then comes New Year’s Day. And then you just hate that foul white stuff as you shovel it for the umpteenth time.
As you shovel and your back aches and you feel what may have been a hernia you now understand why people retire to someplace warm. To get away from this. Before they have a heart attack shoveling it. Because you’re sick and tired of shoveling snow. Cleaning the snow off your car. Fearing for your life when cars ahead of you spinout. Wondering how many times can you slip and fall before you start breaking something. But most of all you just hate being cold. All you can think about is the joy of last summer sitting in the shade with a cold beer. Doing nothing. And loving it.
Even young and healthy college kids hate the cold. Which is why when they go on spring break they head south. And between the boozing and the sex they spend time lying on the beach doing nothing. And loving it. With the ladies practically naked in tiny bikinis sunning themselves. And the men looking at the practically naked ladies. For it is very rare for any vacationer (other than those on a ski getaway) to vacation somewhere where they have to wear more clothes. Because people just don’t like being cold.
The Fall Harvest feeds most People most of the Year
But we complain when it’s too hot, too. During the dog days of summer. When it’s the humidity, not the heat, that makes it so insufferable. Until we step inside our air conditioned home. Or sit in an air conditioned movie. While enjoying a cool beverage. And some delicious popcorn. Or spend time in the pool. Or at the beach. Where the ladies are practically naked. Or going out to eat. Enjoying cool adult beverages and a nice meal at an outdoor cafe while wearing shorts. Or dining inside an air conditioned restaurant.
You may sweat and stink when you get home. But you won’t be tracking snow and salt into the house. Soaking the rugs and carpets. Or leaving puddles of water on the tiled floor. No. During the summer there’s no mess. There are no wet socks in your shoes. No frost bite. No hypothermia. If you car breaks down in the summer you don’t have to worry about freezing to death before someone rescues you. Whereas if you slip off the road and down the embankment on an expressway during a blizzard frostbite and hypothermia are real possibilities. As is freezing to death. Because being cold is dangerous. And being cold when you’re stranded a long way from home or help can be lethal.
Another bad thing about cold is that things don’t grow in the cold. Which is why farming is seasonal. A problem throughout history. As people’s need to eat is not seasonal. So not only did farmers have to grow food to eat during the summer they had to grow enough during the summer to feed everyone throughout the winter. With the fall harvest feeding most people most of the year. Making a long growing season essential for survival. Because if you ran out of food before the next harvest you went hungry. Or died.
If we have another Little Ice Age we may suffer Recurring Famines once More
There were recurring famines during the Little Ice Age. Which ran from approximately 1350 to about 1850. The climate cooled enough to shorten the growing season. Which were cooler and wetter than they are today. And because of that they didn’t grow enough food to feed everyone. With the occasional famine wiping out about 10% or more of a country’s population. As masses of people starved to death because of global cooling during the Little Ice Age.
The United States suffered some droughts the past few growing seasons. And food prices went up because of these droughts. But there were no famines in the United States. Or in the countries the United States exports food to. No, today the only countries having recurring famines are hard-line communist or other such closed and oppressive states. Such as North Korea. Al Gore has been warning us about the perils of global warming since the Nineties. We did nothing. And a few decades later there are still no famines. Because even in regions suffering from the worst drought farmers can still irrigate their land. And grow food. Food may be more costly but there will be food. But no famine.
People who worry about global warming fret about these droughts. And the lack of fresh water. But about 70% of the earth is nothing but ocean. And we can desalinize seawater. It’ll make water more costly. But there will always be water. Even during the worst of droughts. So even if global warming does its worst to us we will be all right. No. The real fear is global cooling. Because global cooling will shorten our growing seasons. Which will reduce our food supply. And if you ever looked at an aerial view of our vast farmland you will understand the problem that is. It’s just too big to bring indoors. If we have another Little Ice Age we may suffer recurring famines once more. And not just in North Korea. But throughout the world. Those people vacationing in warmer climes know it. Global warming is better than global cooling. For our personal comfort and safety. And our food supply.
Tags: cold, drought, fall harvest, famine, farm, food, food supply, freezing to death, frost bite, global cooling, Global Warming, growing season, harvest, hate being cold, hate the cold, hypothermia, irrigate, little ice age, snow, summer, warm, warming, water, winter
Democrats lie because they have a Track Record of doing things Poorly
Democrats lie. They have to. Because they want power. And they have no good reason for accumulating it. They lied about Obamacare to pass it into law. With the top Democrat telling the biggest lie of 2013. President Obama. “If you like your insurance plan you can keep it. Period.” They lied because they want the power to control one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Even if they reduce the quality of health care. Which they will. So they can spend the ensuing years demanding more money (i.e., higher taxes) to fix Obamacare.
They blamed the killing of 4 Americans including our ambassador in Benghazi on a YouTube video. Even the left-leaning (it leans so far left it has actually fallen over) New York Times is rehashing this story. Saying it was a spontaneous uprising over that YouTube video that had nothing to do with al Qaeda. Despite using military armaments like rocket propelled grenades and pre-sighted motors. Things crowds don’t typically have on them to commit spontaneous mischief. But President Obama’s 2012 campaign claimed that President Obama had al Qaeda reeling. And just couldn’t let the American people know that they were negligent in protecting Americans in Benghazi. Which was so dangerous that the British had pulled out before the anniversary of 9/11. But they still denied Ambassador Stevens’ request for more security. Despite the anniversary of 9/11 being around the corner. Because it wouldn’t look good during a campaign that claimed to have al Qaeda reeling.
So Democrats lie. Because they have a track record of doing things poorly. Preventing them from saying “let us do this and that and the other thing because we have a great track record of doing this and that and the other thing.” When in fact their track record is so poor that no one would ask them to do more so we can enjoy more failure. So they lie. To expand the size of government. So they can reach out and strangle the private sector. Such as with their lies about global warming that raised the cost of heating our homes. As well as to light our homes. Making the incandescent light bulb now illegal. Forcing us to use more costly lower wattage lamps. Compact fluorescents. And LEDs. So we use less energy. And put less carbon into the atmosphere. Because manmade global warming is killing us.
You can irrigate a Desert and grow Grass but you can’t grow Grass where Ice and Snow cover the Soil
One of the iconic images of the American Revolutionary War is our troops freezing at Valley Forge. The winter was brutal. And for good reason. It was part of the Little Ice Age. A period of cooling from approximately 1350 to about 1850. Where temperatures fell. Making the winters colder. Longer. And snowier. Rivers and harbors froze that don’t freeze today. Glaciers destroyed mountain top villages. And the shorter and wetter growing seasons caused famines in many countries. Famines in France, Norway and Sweden killed about 10% of their populations. Famines in Estonia and Finland killed more.
A cooling climate is dangerous. It shortens the growing season. Leaving people hungry, malnourished and sickly. For you need sun, warmth and moist soil (not mud) through many months to grow food. If you don’t you have poor harvests. Providing less food for the people to eat. And less forage to sustain livestock over the winter. Which reduces the food supply during the winter further. Giving you famines. Like those in the Little Ice Age.
Dubai is a city in a desert. From May through September they get less than one inch of rain each month. The average high in July is 105.4 degrees. The average high in January is 75.2 degrees. The average annual humidity is 59.8%. So Dubai is hot and dry. A city of buildings and sand. But you know what else Dubai has? Lush, green, championship golf courses. Something Greenland doesn’t have. Because you can irrigate a desert and grow grass. But you can’t grow grass where ice and snow cover the soil. And the same holds true for food. Making a cooling climate far more dangerous than a warming climate. As those valiant soldiers at Valley Forge could have attested to.
Because of Global Warming Dr. David Viner said in 2000, “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”
The global warming alarmists have been warning that the polar ice caps are melting. And the poor polar bears have no ice to rest on. Soon the ice will all melt and flood our coastal regions. They say this even today. Interestingly, a ship is retracing the steps of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson in the Antarctic. Whose expedition suffered horribly during the winter months there about a century earlier. The current expedition is aboard the MV Akademik Shokalski. Which has been stuck in the ice since Christmas Eve. And this during the summer months in the Antarctic.
Noted climate ‘scientist’ at the University of East Anglia, Dr. David Viner, said in 2000 that because of global warming “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” Currently, the eighth winter storm this year, Winter Storm Hercules, is dumping over a foot of snow from Buffalo to Boston. With blizzard warnings for Cape Cod and Long Island. And bitter cold Arctic air will follow the snow. About as bad as it was at Valley Forge. With another winter storm following Winter Storm Hercules. Funny. Here we are almost 14 years later and there is still snow. Proving how wrong the global warming alarmists have been.
Still, the global warming alarmists say we must fight global warming. To allow the climate to cool. Even though history has shown that a cooling climate leads to hunger, malnourishment and sickness. And famine. But the left fights for those things. Why? Because there ain’t a damn thing you can do with regulations to warm the planet. But if you paint manmade global warming as the villain you can blame carbon. And regulate the hell out of the economy. And that’s something they will never let go of. Hence their lying. Because they just don’t want to give up the power that allowed them to make the incandescent light bulb illegal.
Tags: Al Qaeda, al Qaeda reeling, anniversary of 9/11, Benghazi, Carbon, climate, cooling, Democrats, Democrats lie, Dr. David Viner, Dubai, famine, food, Global Warming, global warming alarmists, growing season, incandescent light bulb, lie, little ice age, manmade global warming, Obamacare, polar ice caps, power, President Obama, Valley Forge, warming, winter storm, YouTube video
(Originally published October 18th, 2011)
We can Ultimately Blame Neanderthal’s Demise on the Hunter and Gatherer System
We’re Homo sapiens. Neanderthals were here before us. By a few hundred thousand years. Give or take. We have fossil evidence of their existence. And we’ve been able to put them into the historical timeline. But we’re not sure what happened to them. For they were stronger than us. And they had a similar brain size as ours. Stronger and just as smart, you’d have to give them the edge when Homo sapiens met Neanderthal. Yet here we are. Homo sapiens. Wondering what happened to Neanderthal man.
There are theories. Neanderthal was adapted to live in the cold. And he hunted cold-adapted mammals. But then an ice age came. And the temperatures fell. It became too cold even for the cold-adapted. The climate change pushed the 4-legged mammals south. In search of food ahead of the advancing glaciers. And Neanderthal followed. Moving into what were at one time warmer climes. Bumping into warmer-clime Homo sapiens.
The climatic change was rather sudden during this period. One theory says that this rapid changing changed the environment. Creating different plant and animal species. And Neanderthal was unable to adapt. Another theory says that as the glaciers advanced they just forced more people into a smaller area. And they fought over a smaller food supply. When the glaciers retreated, Homo sapiens then followed Neanderthals north. And expanded into their hunting grounds. Until they displaced them from the historical timeline.
Whatever happened one thing is sure. We can ultimately blame their demise on the hunter and gatherer system. Because this system requires large hunting grounds for survival. Advancing glaciers reduced those hunting grounds. Putting more people together in a smaller area. Competing for limited food resources. And they ultimately lost that competition.
The Hunter and Gatherer Culture Continued to do things as they had During the Stone Age
We can see a more recent example of the demise of a hunter and gatherer people. In North America. During the European colonization of that continent.
The North American continent is huge. Much of it remains uninhabited to this date. But it wasn’t big enough for the North American Indians and the Europeans. Why? The Indians were hunters and gatherers. They needed a lot of land. Each tribe had ‘braves’. ‘Warriors’. Soldiers. Because they were a fighting people. They had a warring culture. They followed food. Taking land from other tribes. And protecting land from other tribes. So they needed large numbers of warriors. Which required large amounts of food. And great expanses of land to hunt that food.
The Europeans, on the other hand, were farmers. They could grow a lot of food. And grow large populations on very small tracts of land. They had higher population densities on their land. They were better fed. And they had a middle class thanks to a healthy food surplus. Which created new technologies. And provided tools and equipment to advance their civilization. While the hunter and gatherer culture continued to do things as they had during the Stone Age.
Food Surpluses Created a Middle Class which allowed Advanced Civilizations
Hunters and gatherers live at the mercy of their environment. Whereas farmers have taken control of their environment. Creating food surpluses. Which led to a middle class. And to advanced civilizations. Which is why they became the dominant civilization. And displaced hunter and gatherer people from the historical timeline. Simply by being a much more survivable people. Because they took control of their environment.
Tags: advancing glaciers, civilization, climate change, climatic change, environment, Europeans, farmers, food, food supply, food surplus, glaciers, historical timeline, Homo sapiens, hunters and gatherers, hunting grounds, ice age, Indians, middle, Neanderthals, tools
(Originally published October 24th, 2011)
The Division of Labor gives us our Houses, Food, Cars, Televisions, Smartphones, Laptops and the Internet
We can’t do everything ourselves. It’s not efficient. And most times not even possible. We don’t build our own houses. Grow our own food. Build our own cars. Manufacture our own high-definition televisions. Smartphones. Laptops. And we don’t build our own Internet. No. Instead, people everywhere across the economy specialize in one thing (i.e., work for a living). And together these specialists fit into the big economic picture. Which gives us our houses, food, cars, televisions, smartphones, laptops and the Internet.
It started with the most basic division of labor. Prehistoric women raised their young. While prehistoric man hunted. Which was necessary for the propagation of the species. And us. For if they all hunted and no one nursed the young the young would have died. And with them the species of man. For there was no formula back then.
The next great leap forward on the civilization timeline was the indispensible plough. The prime mover of civilization. With the food problem managed, famines were more the exception than the rule. And with fewer people needed to produce a food surplus, people could do other things. And they did.
The Division of Labor let us Create Surpluses in Food, Ploughs, Shoes, Tools, Harnesses, Etc.
The division of labor gave rise to artisans. The first skilled trades. Made possible by a food surplus. As other people grew the food the artisans made the tools and crafts the farmers used. They specialized in plough making and designed and built better and better ploughs. Lots of them. Shoemakers made shoes. Lots of them. Metal workers made tools. Lots of them. Leatherworkers made harnesses. Lots of them. See the pattern?
The food surplus gave us surpluses in ploughs, shoes, tools, harnesses, etc. The division of labor let us create these surpluses. Specialists made continual improvements in their areas of specialization. Producing better things. And more of them. Which led to another key to the advanced civilization. Trade.
The shoemaker didn’t have to grow food. He could trade shoes for food. Ditto for the plough maker. The metal worker. The leatherworker. And the farmers didn’t have to make any of these things because they could trade food for them. So we became traders. We created the market. And traders took their goods and/or services to these markets to trade for other goods and/or services. First by foot. Then by animal. Then by boat. Then by train. Then by truck. Then by airplane. Artisans (i.e., workers) traded their specialization for the product and/or services of another’s specialization. Then. And now.
The Division of Labor made the Complex Simple and our Lives Rather Comfortable and Fun
The division of labor gave rise to the artisan. The skilled trade worker. The middle class. People who can specialize in one thing. And trade that one thing for the other things he or she wants. Whether it be a skilled blacksmith hammering out farming tools. A tool and die maker working in a factory. An accountant. Or a software engineer. We have a skill. Our human capital. And we trade that skill to get the other things we’re not skilled in. The end result is a modern, bustling, free market economy. An advanced civilization. And a high standard of living.
All thanks to the division of labor. Which made the complex simple. And our lives rather comfortable. And fun. Unlike prehistoric man. Who knew of no such things as iPhones. Indoor flush toilets. Movie theaters. Or restaurants. No, he didn’t do much other than survive. Which was no easy thing. But he did. And for that we are grateful.
Tags: advanced civilization, artisans, civilization, division of labor, Economics, economy, farmers, food, food surplus, free market, free market economy, market, middle class, plough, skilled trades, specialists, specialization, specialize, trade, traders
Week in Review
Do you know why it was so cold at Valley Forge during the American Revolution? We were in a mini ice age at the time. The Little Ice Age (from about 1350 to 1850). Introduced by the Black Death. The greatest plague in human history. As the earth continued to cool we got shorter growing seasons. And wetter growing seasons. Leading to a little famine. And war. As nations struggled to feed themselves with shorter, colder and wetter growing seasons. Plunging the world into centuries of world war. Including the previously noted American Revolution. Which followed the Seven Years’ War. And was a prelude to the Napoleonic Wars. And there were plenty more wars before, after and in between.
Disease, famine and war. No, cold isn’t good. Warm is good. Just ask Napoleon. Who was beaten by the brutal Russian winter. Or those who died from cold, famine and disease at Valley Forge. Yet there are those who believe that cold is better than warm (see Warming report sees violent, sicker, poorer future by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, posted 11/8/2013 on Yahoo! News).
Starvation, poverty, flooding, heat waves, droughts, war and disease already lead to human tragedies. They’re likely to worsen as the world warms from man-made climate change, a leaked draft of an international scientific report forecasts.
Actually, history has shown all of these things are worse during times of global cooling. When disease, famine and war were the norm. Hitler invaded the Soviet Union for Lebensraum. Living space. Which meant taking the breadbasket of Europe for the German people. The Ukraine. A lot of wars have been fought over food. And the less food there is the more frequent and brutal the wars. For those who have no food suffer famine and die.
We’ve been putting carbon in the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution (1760ish). We’ve been burning coal in our steam engines, locomotives, ships, steel plants, and our home furnaces for centuries. The smoke, soot and ash was so thick and heavy that we made our city trains electric. Because they don’t block out the sun when they run like our steam locomotives did. Then coal gave way to petroleum products. And the glorious internal combustion engine. The greatest game changer in the history of man.
We’ve just been putting more and more carbon in the air since 1760. And in those 250 or so years has any of the global warming doom and gloom come to pass? No. The world population has grown. Because our food supply has grown. And life expectancies have grown longer throughout this period because there have been fewer plagues, famines and wars. The Pax Britannica (the British Peace) lasted about a century (1815–1914). And the Pax Americana (the American Peace) has been going on since the end of World War II (1945). We suffered some horrendous wars during these periods of peace but they were the exception not the rule. In large part because the Little Ice Age had ended. And the world was warming once again.
Tags: American Revolution, Carbon, Coal, cold, famine, food, growing seasons, little ice age, plague, Valley Forge, War, warm, world war
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