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Jared Diamond On Advantages Of Being Agricultural People - Essay Example

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According to Jared Diamond, the first connection to the advantages of agriculture or food production is that the availability of consumable calories means more people. For various obvious reasons, most of the plant and animal species are not fit to be eaten or not worth gathering nor hunting…
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Jared Diamond On Advantages Of Being Agricultural People
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JARED DIAMOND ON ADVANTAGES OF BEING AGRICULTURAL PEOPLE According to Jared Diamond, the first connection to the advantages of agriculture or food production is that the availability of consumable calories means more people. For various obvious reasons, most of the plant and animal species are not fit to be eaten or not worth gathering nor hunting. With food production, there is selection and cultivation of those edible plants and animals in a selected area of land. As Jared Diamond exemplifies in his book, an acre of land is sure to produce more 'edible calories' as opposed to an untouched same equal area of land. Domesticating animals follows when a civilization applies agriculture because it helps in plowing hard soil. Farm animals are also a good source of edible meat, milk and eggs. An acre of land can therefore feed more herders and farmers as much as 10 to 100 times as what the hunter gatherers can gather in a same sized area. In ancient times, these meant more surviving people and thus a military advantage that agricultural tribes had.
Another advantage of agriculture is that it enables agricultural people to have higher birthrate than the hunter-gatherers. Mothers of hunter-gatherers society are capable of carrying only one child at a time. And so, mothers of these societies need to lengthen the time of the next birth of a child until the infant is able to walk. Agricultural people on the other hand need to stay close to their farms. They are not burdened with the problems of constant traveling and so are able to have as much children as they want. Higher birthrate and the ability to produce food enable agricultural people to have higher population densities than the hunter-gatherers.
A settled existence for the agricultural people enables them to develop a skill for storing food. Unlike the hunter-gatherers, food lasts for a short time because they are not able to protect them if they are to store them at some place. Ways of storing food enables agricultural people to feed the whole settlement and the non-food-producing specialists like kings, chiefs and bureaucrats. Agriculture therefore paved way to the birth of political organizations for which hunter-gatherers are not able to have since all skilled hunter-gatherers' time is spent for looking food. According to Jared Diamond, agricultural societies are able to organize themselves into units with respective responsibilities where political elites gain control over food produced others, implement taxation, escape the need to feed himself and focus his full time on political activities. With these political organizations, agricultural societies are able to do better in warfare than the hunter-gatherers. Stored food built by taxes not only supports the kings, bureaucrats and the townspeople but also enables the society to support other important professionals like soldiers, priests, craftsmen, artisans and scribes.
Agriculture has also provided agricultural societies on other basic things such as food. Jared Diamond writes that crop and livestock also produces valuable materials that are made into useful things such as clothing, fabric, blankets, ropes, leather and etc. Big domesticated mammals also became means of transportations before the development of railroads systems. Then again, this means of transportation boosted the agricultural society's capabilities in military warfare.
With all the development that agriculture has brought to these communities, germs also evolved from human beings living in close contact with their livestock and wastes. Although agricultural people were the first ones infected with the diseases, they were also the first to develop the immunity to resist the diseases.
Diamond J. 1997, Guns, Germs and Steel. New York: Norton. 85-92 p. Read More
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