Re: Why the West has 'won'.

Chris Behrens (
Wed, 6 Aug 1997 15:20:10 -0500

> From:
> To:
> Subject: Re: Why the West has 'won'.
> Date: Wednesday, August 06, 1997 2:22 PM
> In a message dated 8/5/97 9:49:15 PM, (Cyberlogin
> Solutions) wrote:
> >As long as we're tossing around personal theories here...
> >
> >Agricultural societies will tend towards "civilization", in the
> >technological sense, anyway.
> >Why? It is only through agriculture that long term food surpluses can be
> >created. This leads
> >to two things: spare time, for intellectual pursuits, and the written
> >used to identify
> >personal property.
> I don't know about the spare time business. Hunter-gatherer societies
> lots of free time. I think the increase in population (hence, more
> power) is far more significant.

The population growth is a consequence of the food surplus.
Hunter-gatherers do
not consistently have spare time. That's the trick.

I think that continues today, and that a
> significant part of current development is due to bringing ever-larger
> numbers of people into our market and science systems.

> >only those long term food surpluses
> >can move an army over long distances.
> Up to the invention of gunpowder, the most powerful armies were those of
> Central Asian pastoralists. Long term food surpluses can take
> non-agricultural form; they used grazing animals, which had the distinct
> advantage of moving themselves.

But not the people...

Would you agree that agriculture leads to the population explosion?

Chris Behrens

"Politics is the art of the possible. That is why only
mediocre minds are attracted to it; great minds seek
the impossible."
- Arthur C. Clarke