Lecture 5

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Unformatted text preview: ic, and organizational groundwork for the emergence of village farming communities. ..many of the basic elements of social organization essential to village life were already in place before the …rst experiments with cultivation.” James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis September 23, 2009 10 / 21 Outside of the Middle East The current archaeological evidence suggests that there is a similar pattern of sedentary life preceeded domestication with respect to the domestication of millet, sorghum and African rice in the southern Sahara and marsh elder, sun‡ower and squash in the eastern United States. Smith (p. 212) notes with respect to China “the earliest documented rice farmers of the Yangtze - in both the Hupei basin and around Hang-chou Bay - were certainly living in permanent, long-established communities.” James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis September 23, 2009 11 / 21 People don’ always want to become farmers t Scholars who have made analogies between modern hunter-gatherer societies and pre-Neolithic hunter-gatherers have argued that, as Sahlins’famously put it, these were the ‘ Original A- uent Society’ . Sahlins and other ethnographers argued that hunter gatherers did not have to work hard to make a living. In essence, they were happy with a subsistence life which did not require a lot of e¤ort in most cases (though there is a clear case of selection bias in generalizing from existing hunter-gatherers about what must have been true pre-Neolithic). James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis September 23, 2009 12 / 21 The Original Affluent Society? Source: Sahlins (1972) Stone Age Economics, pp. 15-16 “Why should we plant, when there are so many mongomongo nuts in the world?” Quoted in Richard Lee (1968) “What Hunters do for a Living, or, H...
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This document was uploaded on 02/28/2014 for the course ECON 2328 at Harvard.

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