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This essay analyzes two readings containing opposite positions about the Neolithic Revolution. In the reading “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race” by Jared Diamond, he believes that going from hunter-gathering to agriculture was a huge mistake. Diamond thinks that Hunter-gatherers had a lot of pro factors that agriculture does not. However, in the reading “Hunter-Gatherers: Noble of Savage” by the Economist, they believe hunter-gatherers are violent and barbaric. They think agriculture is an important process necessary to humans. In my opinion, the reading “Hunter-Gatherers: Noble of Savage” was correct. Agriculture was a necessary and positive action taken towards the future.
While reading the passage “Hunter-Gatherers: Noble of Savage” there were two major points that agriculture was the best decision. One is, violence is more common in Hunter- Gatherers than people in modern eras. Hunter-gatherers are barbaric and vicious. They are in a constant state of war between tribes. The passage states, “… nearly 90% go to war at least once a year” (The Economist). Also the death rate, of men specifically, is exceedingly high. The reason that men are usually the ones dying is because most of the time the warfare is caused to fight for women. In addition, the nonstop warfare allows the tribes to keep the population low. The reason hunter-gatherers are so healthy is because the weak members of the tribes are dead. This seems irrational because converting to agriculture allows those weak members to still be alive. There is enough food for everyone and no one needs to die for it. Agriculture allows for fighting to stop and have a peaceful society.
Furthermore, another major point is that agriculture allowed population to grow because there was a surplus of food. Before agriculture was found, hunter-gatherers relied on slow reproducing animals like horses and rhinos to eat. Although, these animals didn’t provide enough food for the growing population of tribes. So, they started to hunt down faster reproducing animals such as rabbits, tortises, and hares (the economist). However, according to the second reading, during the millennium-long dry, starvation started to arise. Hunter-gatherers turned to vegetarian ways, which didn’t provide enough proteins or nutrients. After this, some tribes converted to the new progressive way, agriculture. Agriculture allowed for the domestication of crops and animals which produced a surplus of food. The population flourished and violence decreased.
In contrast, hunter-gatherers also had some profactors. For example, hunter-gatherers were much healthier than farmers. Farmers grow crops that contain lots of carbohydrates, which is bad for ones’ health. Hunter-gatherers have a varied diet of plants and animals, which help maintain a balance of protein and nutrients. Also, since farmers grow crops they can’t predict if there would even be crop that year so they always worried about starvation. On the other hand, hunter-gatherers found their food in nature and almost never had to worry about growing hungry. In addition, people in agricultural societies were always close together and trading with one another providing a way for diseases to spread. Furthermore, agriculture allowed for gender inequality. In hunter-gathering, women would always carry, take care of the children, and gather all the plants and fruits while men would hunt. This allowed for women and men to do their equal part and not one gender over powering or taking control of the other. But in agricultural societies, men started to push the women around and make them do the hard work while they do easy tasks or nothing at all. Although agriculture had some negative factors to it, it still was the best decision. This is because the population was able to grow, people built immunities to the diseases that would eventually have been discovered, and men and women have more equality today then they would’ve as hunter-gatherers.
Both readings contain valid points about the Neolithic Revolution, debating whether it was a mistake or a great decision. I believe that agriculture was the perfect decision for human kind. Agriculture allowed for trial and error in the human race. It provided new ways of technology, farming, and settlements. As agriculture progressed so did humans. Humans learned lessons about the world and about how to treat one another in society. Agriculture brought job specialization and peace to fighting tribes. Thus, agriculture wasn’t a mistake, it was a big leap toward the future.
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