Why do people typically NOT become farmers and herders without outside assistance?  In Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, I can't seem to find the answer to this in chapter 5. Can anyone...

Why do people typically NOT become farmers and herders without outside assistance? 

In Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, I can't seem to find the answer to this in chapter 5. Can anyone explain it?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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People did not become farmers and herders without outside assistance because domesticated animals and foods were necessary for successful farming and herding, and the domestication of food and animals took much time to develop. Therefore, the outside assistance of other areas where domestication had already taken place was needed. 

...only a few areas of the world developed food production independently, and they did so at widely differing times. From those nuclear areas, hunter-gatherers of some neighboring areas learned food production, and peoples of other neighboring areas were replaced by invading food producers from the nuclear areas—again at widely differing times. (Ch.5)

The explanation of this situation comes really in Chapter 6 in which Diamond points to the fact that people would remain hunter-gatherers whenever the meat sources were available as it was much easier to survive in this way. Farming was laborious and often crops failed unless there was help from an area where there were already domesticated foods; likewise, herding began only after the importation of domesticated animals.

Another reason that people became farmers and herders was also that as populations of areas increased, the greater demand for food pressured people to produce more than they could gather. So, until there was the real need for greater quantities of food and an outside source of domesticated food to begin with, or an area such as the Fertile Crescent where wild cereal grew abundantly, farming and herding did not take place. 

The arrival of foreign peoples also brought changes, resulting in farming which was dependent upon crops from elsewhere. Local species of animals were not domesticated, either.

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