HUNTER-GATHERERS – WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THEM

Until 12,000 years ago virtually all humanity lived as hunters-gatherers. They stand at the opposite pole from the modern urban life. They have lived in small groups, without centralised authority or standing armies. They have managed to solve their problems without war and without much violence. With relatively simple technology – wood, bone, stone, fibers – they were able to meet their requirements. Instead of the eight hour work schedule of the industrial societies they manage to collect a nutritive diet with two to three hours of work.

No wonder the American anthropologist Marshall Sahlins calls them, “the original affluent society”. Hunter-gatherers have lived without destroying their environment. We live in societies divided into haves and have-nots. The ten thousand years of agricultural and industrial civilizations have brought us to the brink of environmental disaster. May be the surviving hunting-gathering groups deserve a rethinking. They might have answers to some of the central questions about the human condition – about social life, politics, and gender, about diet and nutrition and living in nature.

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