In the development of the First Civilizations, what was gained for humankind and what was lost?
The term “first civilizations” is normally applied to the earliest communities which displayed the simultaneous characteristics of urbanization, specialization of labour, pottery-making, and agriculture.
The obvious gains were in population, reliable food supplies, technology (brought about in part by specialization of labour), defensibility, and the arts.
Compared to hunter-gather communities, the early civilizations may have seen increasing inequality, both between rich and poor and between genders. Greater organization would also lead to greater mechanisms of social control, and thus some diminution of personal freedom. Finally, population growth combined with fixed locations of population dense urban areas led to degradation of the natural environment and possibly desertification.