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Do you think we are better off today than our ancient ancestors?

Asked by Hobbes (7355points) February 11th, 2011

I came across this article by Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel, in which he argues that the invention of agriculture did not in fact improve quality of life and in fact caused many terrible problems, the consequences of which we are living with today.

It is certainly worthwhile to question the Myth of Progress, and the evidence he presents is quite convincing. He doesn’t really address the high rate of infant and child mortality among hunter-gatherers, or violence within and among groups, but other sources I’ve found do seem to show that hunter-gatherers often lived well past 60 and generally only worked at procuring food and making tools around 20 hours a week, sometimes much less.

What do you guys think of all this? Of course, we can’t all go back to being hunter-gatherers, since there are about 6 billion of us now, but it’s certainly food for thought.

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