In Guns, Germs, and Steel, how does Diamond challenge our assumptions about the transition from hunter gathering to farming?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The answer to this can be found at the beginning of Chapter 6.  There, Diamond gives a number of assumptions that he says we have about the transition from hunting-gathering to food production.  Among them are:

  • We think farming is so much easier than hunting-gathering but it's really not.  The first farmers might well have worked harder for less food than hunter gatherers do.
  • We think that people discovered farming and chose to start doing it.  But really, hunter-gatherers just started doing things that eventually led to farming.  They weren't consciously trying to farm.  They just did things that made farming eventually become possible.
  • We think that there is a clear line between these kinds of economies.  But really, there is not such a clear line.  The transition from one to the other is pretty gradual.