From the early prehistoric society until now, we often heard the word “adaptation”, which means the process of changing something or changing our behavior to deal with new situations. The ways people adjust their natural environment varies according to time, place, and tribe. Foraging is common way of adaptation that people uses for most of human history; however because of the population pressure, some people adopt agriculture to fulfill their need. This essay, will discuss the positive and negative aspects of life in hunting and gathering societies compared to the agricultural societies based on Martin Harris’ article “Murders in Eden” and Jared Diamond’s article “The Worst Mistake in the History of Human Race.”
Hunting and gathering is the longest-lasting lifestyle for most of human history. In addition to their way of life, hunter-gatherers are often regarded as “nasty, brutish, and short” (Diamond 114). Progressivists also suggested our hunter-gatherer ancestors adopt agriculture because of “its efficient way to get more food for less work”(Diamond 114). However, as archaeologists observe in some aspects of their lives, hunter-gatherers societies are not necessarily “nasty, brutish, and short.” Some issues that we need to compare between hunting and gathering and agricultural societies include workloads, nutrition, production, starvation, infanticide, health and disease, and differences in wealth.
From the work loads, it shows that in the barren environment of the Kalahari dessert, the present day Bushmen need only 12 to 19 hours per week to obtaining a diet rich in protein and a high nutritional standard, while their farmer neighbors, the Hadza nomads of Tanzania, need 14 hours per week and get less protein. It also takes more additional hours of food preparation to make it is suitable for consumption. It appears that hunter-gatherers have more leisure time than farmers. On the other hand, an agricultural system absorbs more labor and increased workload per capita.
Based on the output of production, agriculture is perceived as an advance because farmers can produce more food within a smaller area than they could possibly obtain as hunter-gatherers. Harris says that this situation happened since farmers control “the rate of plant reproduction” (Harris 219), which means that immediate adverse consequences could be prevented with the intensification...