posted on May, 15 2005 @ 08:35 PM
My number one choice is
From the standpoint of population and individual security, farming has been a nearly fatal mistake, from which we are only now beginning to
Nomadism allows people to survive for years even in the worst drought conditions.
Here are a few of the problems of farming:
1. Ruined our diet. Most nomads, like the San or the Commanche, had a diet that was up to 80% meat. Life expectancy for most hunter gatherers was
probably in the 60 - 70 range. But farming lowered life expectancies down to the high 40's in practically every culture from the ancient near east
to Renaissance france.
2. Invited vermin into our homes. Permanent residence, with big vats of grain, was the domesticating force behind mice and cockroaches both.
3. Diminished liesure time. The folks who built stonehenge probably had more group leisure time than any society before or since. It has been
calculated that the average head of household labored on 35 hours PER WEEK to feed his entire nuclear family! He spent less time hunting than most
people spend in the grocery store (and it's parking lot.) Just think about the hours wasted at Walmart, or sitting at stop lights, and you'll get
4. Created Pandemics. Lots of humans, densely packed and malnourished. A perfect breeding-ground for plague, smallpox, AIDS or the superflu. Take
your pick. In motile cultures, a clan that was infected simply died out, before passing the disease on to their kin.
5. Created an environment for Malaria. Malaria is the single greatest cause of human death in history. Period. 10% of all the humans who have ever
died have done so because of Malaria. And farming is the factor that forces people to dwell in swamps, and labor in rice patties or irrigation
ditches where there is constant, stagnant water.
6. The advent of formal political oppression. The average hunter/gatherer clan is run by a petty cheiften. If he gets too big for his britches, the
rest of the guys get together and arrange a "hunting accident." With farming comes taxes, slavery, the military draft, and debtor's prisons. It
also brings the division of labor that inevitably results in 95% of the population laboring to benifit the other 5%.
7. Bad teeth. Hunter gatherers don't eat ANY sugar, other than the occasional find of a bee's honeycomb. Most of 'em don't drink coffee, or eat
sticky foods that cause decay. You can study the change from farming back to hunting on the upper Platte River basin in the northern US. The quality
of teeth rises dramatically in the late 1690's, as the river-bottom farmers begin hunting buffalo from horseback.
8. Organized religion (for those of you who see it as a negative). Primal societies are totally steeped in supernatural understanding of the world.
But rituals, sacrifices, priesthoods, and all the rest, come with farming. The book of Genesis says it all. Abel was the hunter; while Cain, the
fratricide, was the farmer. . .
9. Environmental damage. Not only from the high numbers of humans being "farmed" into the world's coastlines. Just the straightforward
ecological damage of slash and burn agriculture, and today's modern "petroleum-based" agriculture, that uses oil as the base for ever pesticide,
most fertilizer, and all transport systems.
If you don't like my farming hypothesis, then how about the "Jump to conclusions mat?"