{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Lecture_05_Economics_Optimal0-1

Lecture_05_Economics_Optimal0-1 - Lecture 5 Economics The...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Lecture 5: Economics The most basic form of human economic activity is working to hunt, gather, or grow food. SUBSISTENCE PATTERNS AND DIET CHOICE Natural selection acts to favor the most efficient variants in a population that is competing for limited resources. Since organisms need energy (nutrients) to survive and reproduce, natural selection should favor variants that acquire food most efficiently. Optimal Foraging Theory (OFT) . OFT is similar to economic modeling based on profit maximization in complex societies. This suggests that humans may have a universal evolved tendency to choose economic alternatives that give greatest gain with the least effort . This mini-max principle is believed by many anthropologists to characterize only modern Capitalist societies, however empirical evidence suggests that members of all cultures seek to obtain maximum gain from their effort. One example of OFT in action has been studied among the Ache, hunter-gatherers who live in the forests of Paraguay in South America. Each day members of an Ache camp wake up, eat breakfast, and then begin searching for food. During the day they pass many edible items and yet stop to acquire only a few of these. Indeed biological inventories show that the Ache forests contain over 100 species of mammals, over 300 species of birds, about 100 species of fish, and several dozen edible amphibians and reptiles. The environment also contains over 30 species of edible insects, over 30 species of edible fruit, and a variety of other edible resources such as palm hearts, roots, and nuts. Nevertheless about 80% of the food in the Ache diet comes from only 8 species of vertebrate prey.
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
The remainder of the diet is composed to a large extent from only 3 species of insects or their honey, one type of palm, and a few minor fruits. The Ache often pass by and ignore edible resources during their food quest. Is this just cultural preference or is there another explanation? One model from Optimal Foraging Theory, (called the fine-grained prey choice model), suggests an answer to why the Ache select the resources that they do. The model is based on the same logic as modern economic theory, that people generally attempt to maximize their resource gain rate whenever acquire resources (whether food or dollars).
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern