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Guns, Germs, and Steel

by Jared Diamond
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Why was a sedentary lifestyle decisive in the history of technology? Chapter 13

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According to Chapter 13, there are two reasons why a sedentary lifestyle (one in which people stopped being nomadic and settled down in villages) was important for the development of technology.

First, sedentary people are able to have many possessions that are not portable.  If you are nomadic, you can only have such possessions (and technology) as can be carried.  You can't carry around big things like pottery kilns as you walk from camp to camp.

Second, sedentary people can have bigger populations with specialists in various activities.  Because they are able to produce food surpluses, these societies can have people who devote their lives to creating technology.  This is not possible in hunter-gatherer societies where it is impossible to have much surplus food.

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