Unformatted text preview: 5 Lecture 3 Agriculture and Social Surplus: Conventional Theory The creation of a social surplus brought about by agriculture—a series of related technologies involv- ing plant and animals—gave rise to high populations and, when successful, to sedentary life for some, and the release of men and women to other occupations and leisure. In primitive societies based on food gather- ing, each individual is totally involved with the urgencies of securing sustenance. Abundance is temporary and exceptional. The “social surplus” releases from food production those individuals with skill in other specialties. This development of new specialties is only possible as agriculture increases in ef f ciency to allow the exploitation of a new leisure. This is still true. This led to a new class of spets: artisans, clerks, and priests. Primitive humans became organized into hunting, f shing, and gathering societies. When populations are signi f cantly below the carrying capacity of the land and wants are simple, life is easier than in agricul-...
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- Summer '10
- History, crop plants, social surplus