Sunday, December 17

American Society Vs. Hunter-Gatherer Societies

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            Most Americans and people who live in industrialized nations argue that societies whose mode of subsistence relies on hunting and gathering are less developed, or less intelligent. This is simply just not true.

            Within a hunter-gatherer society, both men and women are equal. Women do the gathering, and men do the hunting. They are equal because both of their trades are essential to the preservation of the society.

            Within a capitalist society, women are essentially lower on the social hierarchy. Capitalism aims to make women good consumers who need to stay home and care for the children while the men are at work at the factory. Now this may not be true in modern America, as in men don’t all work in factories anymore, and women are slowly gaining power in society. But capitalism does still want women to be the ditzy consumer who stays home and cares for the children. There is a reason why women in western culture love to shop so much. It is not the same in other societies.

            Hunter-gatherer societies also have more leisure time. The average hunter-gatherer human only works for around 11-14 hours a week. This is because their work involves only acquiring what they need to exist. Their economy is communal and therefore competition is removed from the society. Everybody shares what everybody kills or gathers. Capitalism is the exact antonym of a communal society.

            Capitalism runs off of consumerism and this entails for people to purchase large amounts of materials that they do not need to subsist. This is why leisure time is scarce in America. People are working so hard just for the money to buy a new car or new television. It is clearly evident that within the competitive, capitalist system of America, men and women are growing tired of the constant grind of work. Americans are yearning for some more leisure time. But within the competitive ecology of capitalist America, it seems that people may never acquire this. We sacrifice so much happiness just so we can give a go at the mythical American Dream.

            It seems that we downgrade societies where people don’t live in suburban houses made of cement, or people don’t have fancy cars, but we can learn a lot more from small-scale communal societies like hunter-gatherers than they can learn from us.

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