100W - Prakhar Mansukhani Anthr 100W Critical Analysis...

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Prakhar Mansukhani Anthr 100W Critical Analysis of “The Original Affluent Society:” One of the first communities to inhabit this planet during Paleolithic times, the hunters and gatherers, were the “richest community.” They were satisfied not due to their wealth, but due to their ability to stay content with their own needs and keeping their wants to a minimum. This community was also perceived to be backward and on the brink of poverty and starvation, but this was clouded by years of bias. In this paper, I argue that the hunters and gatherers’ community survived due to their own survival methods, had their own notion of affluence, which was looked down upon by Europeans. Sahlin’s argues affluence can be attained by two separate means including wants being “easily satisfied” by producing much or desiring little. As modern society evolves, the wants become more materialistic in nature and often beyond the grasp of people. Thus, an average person’s affluence is judged by the amount of materialistic goods he possesses. One way that Sahlin analyzes this situation is by mentioning the “Galbraithean way.” He writes, “…man’s wants are great, not to say infinite, whereas his means are limited…thus, the gap between means and ends can be narrowed by industrial productivity…” (Sahlins 1967, 1). With this, Sahlin mentions that peoples’ “wants” can be fulfilled; however all of their desires are not likely to be satisfied. As a result, many
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course ANTH 100 W taught by Professor Graham during the Spring '08 term at UConn.

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100W - Prakhar Mansukhani Anthr 100W Critical Analysis...

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