The human race was once completely dependent on hunting and gathering as its source for caloric intake. Today, this is not the case. We live in a society that is continuously becoming more global, and the large global population is being supported by modern food production. But what factors caused this switch to take place from hunting and gathering to food production? The main contributors over the last several thousand years include: the increase in calorie yield, the stability, and the benefits derived from domesticate-able animals that can all be attributed to food production.
To better understand how these three contributors interact with and influence one another, it is beneficial to examine Abraham Maslow’s well-known Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, there are certain aspects of an individual’s life that must be maintained before that person can begin fulfilling their higher or more complex needs. But for the purposes of this paper, we will evaluate societies as a whole instead of just focusing on individuals. The end goal in this theory is to eventually reach self-actualization and fulfillment: the state of being where creativity and innovation are able to flourish. But before a slight hope can be given to that end goal of being achieved, the Maslow’s first sets of needs must be met and maintained. These are categorized as the physiological, meaning that they represent an individual’s need for “air, water, and sufficient calories and nutrients to live.” Hunting and gathering societies and food producing societies approach fulfilling these needs in distinct ways.
Central to the very existence of a hunting and gathering society is the daily need to secure anew these physiological needs. This is mainly caused by the fact that the ability of a hunting and gathering society to store food is severely limited. They simply lack the permanent structures and resources to preserve food. This makes them completely dependent upon the land on which they live, which results in high vulnerability to changes in their immediate environment. Their prey could migrate to a different area or the climate could change for reasons that are not easily understood. These changes can spontaneously produce instability that would ultimately leave hunting and gathering societies with “the constant threat of extinction.”
In contrast, a lifestyle where food production is dominant has an increase in predictability when it comes to calorie retrieval. When a person plants crops, they can reasonably approximate the time of year that the crops will be available to harvest. Once the crops are harvested, the farmers are able to use what they need, and then store what remains for future use in their permanent structures. It varies from year to year, but eventually a pattern is established and the society is able to have a surplus of food. And thus the physiological needs are met and maintained.
This extra food gives many benefits to food producing...