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Discover Your Inner Hunter-Gatherer

March 26, 2008

It is well-known that human societies have switched from hunter-gatherer economies to agrarian ones only recently, relative to the history of mankind. Naively one might contrast the agrarian mind-set of planning, top-down management of nature, risk-aversion,  sedentarism, etc… with the more unstable, nomadic, opportunistic, egalitarian mind-set of hunter-gatherer bands. Often then people leap to the conclusion that planning and risk-aversion should be norm for society as a whole, i.e., at the level of national policy. Yet most people unconsciously resist these efforts of collectivisation. They turn nomads and emigrate in search for better hunting grounds. They risk capital, they scour the seas, they jump on opportunities and bet on their good luck. The agrarian mind-set has its advantages and works well on small scales, but it’s bumping against our nature as human beings when one tries to impose it on larger scales.

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