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RE: [LandCafe] Re: From Hunting & Gathering to Horticulture: What Role did Land Play?

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  • Edward Dodson
    Jock Coates wrote: I wonder if you re approaching this from the wrong angle. Whilst I haven t yet managed to read The Economy of Cities by Jane Jacobs maybe
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 17, 2010
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      Jock Coates wrote:

      I wonder if you're approaching this from the wrong angle. Whilst I haven't
      yet managed to read "The Economy of Cities" by Jane Jacobs maybe what you
      have to look at is what made settled life possible in the first place.

      And actually, I think you will find it is not a scarcity of land so much as
      the discovery of ways of using land efficiently. Same goes for Ed's feeling
      that protection is important.

      Ed Dodson here:
      A book I found very useful in my own research on the evolution of human
      groups and settlement was written in 1966 by Gerhard Lenski. Here is a brief
      summary of Lenski's approach that comes from Wikipedia:

      In his books, Power and Privilege[1] (1966) and Human Societies: An
      Introduction to Macrosociology[2] (1974-2008) Lenski expands on the works of
      Leslie White and Lewis Henry Morgan. He views technological progress as the
      most basic factor in the evolution of societies and cultures. Unlike White,
      who defined technology as the ability to create and utilize energy, Lenski
      focuses on information - its amount and uses. The more information and
      knowledge a given society has, especially where it allows humans to shape
      their environment, the more advanced it is. He distinguishes four stages of
      human development, based on advances in the history of communication. In the
      first stage, information is passed by genes. With the development of
      agriculture, humans are able to pass information through individual
      experience. In the third, humans begin to use signs and develop logic. In
      the fourth, they create symbols, and develop language and writing. Advances
      in the technology of communication translate into advances in a society's
      economic system and political system, distribution of goods, social
      inequality and other spheres of social life. He also differentiates
      societies based on their level of technology, communication and economy:

      hunters and gatherers
      simple agricultural or horticultural (lacking the plow)
      advanced agricultural
      industrial
      special (e.g. fishing societies or maritime societies)

      The relationship between population and production is central to Lenski's
      thought. Human reproductive capacity exceeds the available resources in the
      environment. Thus, Lenski concludes, human populations are limited by their
      capability of food production. Human capacity for population growth,
      according to Laski has been a "profoundly destabilizing force throughout
      human history and may well be the ultimate source of most social and
      cultural change" (1987: 32). It is the relationships among population,
      production, and environment that drive sociocultural evolution.[3]
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