Well done, although I’ve been doing a lot of research and writing this year about hunter-gathers and the societies that came after them and I want to make one amendment. Hunter-gatherer groups were the ultimate cooperative society, with 20–50 members who shared nearly everything and put the good of the collective above individuals. It is really only with the advent of agriculture (as well as the invasion of the patriarchal northern tribes) that stratification and class began, as well as accumulation of personal wealth at the expense of others.

Many current hunter-gatherer tribes practice what is sometimes called reverse hierarchy, in that they actively suppress and censure anyone who is getting too big a head or too many ideas about power. In this way, egalitarianism is maintained. This takes a lot of cooperation and community effort to achieve, and if the censure reaches the level of execution, it is the kin of the offender who frequently carries out the sentence, thereby keeping the tribe from fracturing into fueding factions. (say that phrase three times fast 😁)

“In each of these societies, the dominant cultural ethos was one that emphasized individual autonomy, non-directive childrearing methods, nonviolence, sharing, cooperation, and consensual decision-making. Their core value, which underlay all of the rest, was that of the equality of individuals.

The hunter-gatherer version of equality meant that each person was equally entitled to food, regardless of his or her ability to find or capture it; so food was shared. It meant that nobody had more wealth than anyone else; so all material goods were shared.

The hunter-gatherer way of life, unlike the agricultural way of life that followed it, apparently depended on intense cooperation and sharing, backed up by a strong egalitarian ethos; so, hunter-gatherers everywhere found ways to maintain a strong egalitarian ethos.”

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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