[Marxism] Agriculture: The Worst Mistake Humans Ever Made
johnedmundson4 at gmail.com
Mon Jul 22 00:07:08 MDT 2019
More important than the evils or otherwise of the invention of agriculture
is, where to from here? Hunter-gathering did have an impact (extinction of
megafauna - including in Australia) and, as Mark pointed out, even in
America, it did deplete native species like bison. In New Zealand, the moa
were extinct within a very short time (only a few hundred years) of the
first human arrivals. And we've had this discussion before. But, despite
vast traditional knowledge, neither hunter-gatherers nor early farmers,
knew what longterm impact they were having or would have over an extended
period to the extent that we now know about their experience or our own. We
can't survive as hunter gatherers with our current population and I doubt
many of us would want to. The necessary knowledge now exists though to farm
in an efficient and sustainable manner, feed the world and retire a lot of
existing farmland, which means our planet can be a much more pleasant
place, not just for us, but for currently endangered species. The issue is
political, not technical. Is that solution possible under capitalism?
Possibly, but I wouldn't count on it. How though do we build a movement
that makes clear that the urgent need of the planet can best, and
permanently, be resolved by a socialism?
On Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 11:16 AM Ratbag Media via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
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> I'd be very wary about ruling that 'agriculture' is/was an advance on
> hunter gathering. Aside from the fact that both systems so often
> co-exist in the same region (such as Central America during the time
> of the Maya culture), in places like New Guinea agriculture was
> embraced initially 7,000 – 10,000 years ago.
> But it used to be argued that across the Torres Strait --despite the
> example -- Australian aborigines chose not to farm, when in fact they
> were the first farmers on the planet.
> Indeed, when you look at the phenomenon of agriculture it all depends
> on what is at hand in way of plants...and access to water.
> And how you manage it.
> Across the Mediterranean, it's tempting to rule that the agricultural
> protocols that grew out of the Fertile Crescent were an ecological
> disaster. A feature that even Frederick Engels noted.This was the
> price paid for successive civilisations.
> Was it the wheat and olives or was it the plough?
> Similarly, you cannot separate the supposed difference between the
> agricultural and 'hunter gatherer' lifestyle without reference to
> changes in climate.Nor can you infer that the 'hunter gatherer' didn't
> know what their patch of existence was capable of.
> In that sense 'agriculture' isn't so much an 'invention' but an extension.
> A different approach to stewardship.
> The real question, I guess, isn't so much the invention of
> agriculture, but the invention of surplus.
> In my region -- in Gubi Gubi country -- it is very clear that the land
> was bountiful and the culture rich. That there was no reason to
> ratchet up the demands made of the landscape.
> Disaster struck, of course, and I can stand on the beach here and look
> out to where that tragedy began -- where the Brits first arrived to
> this place then invaded.
> But let's get this clear: aside from the gun, what savaged the Gubi
> Gubi economy was disease. Then the dispossession.
> What's happening now -- across Australia -- is an attempt to embrace
> Aboriginal landcare practices. This may be as a small movement at the
> moment but with fire management, for instance, there is a major
> deference. There is also a major debate growing around the traditional
> practice of indigenous management of river systems.
> You can't live in a land for 60,000+ years without knowing what's what.
> Indeed, there is no future -- no future -- for Australian agriculture
> without learning -- and applying --from the Aboriginal tradition of
> what was supposedly 'hunter gathering'.
> dave riley
> dave riley
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