08 June 2010

Foraging

Some parts of this society sound better than others. Certainly if one is male or a child.

"Using an existing dataset aggregated from diverse ethnographies, we collect statistics on the social environment of the studied cultures which most closely resemble our hunter-gatherer ancestors. …

Such foragers have neither formal class stratification nor slavery. While private property is usually present, most forager societies have no rich, and none have any poor or dispossessed. - (there goes the problem of income inequality, take away the ability to accumulate much of any resources)

Food sharing is always common. Compared to the most “modern” societies in the larger sample (which are different from us today), disease stress is similar, suicide and murder are rare, conflict casualty rates are lower, and fewer believe in an evil eye. Violence is never over resources, and when enemies are driven from a territory no one uses that territory. - (not enough population growth in forager societies to hold new territory anyway)

A person wronged always directly punishes the guilty; they never use a third party. If there is a substantial dispute, one side will likely leave the community. Leaders carefully cultivate support before acting, and none have a formal leadership position. Polygamy is always allowed and usually socially preferred. Co-wives either live together or one lives with a husband while the rest live in entirely different bands. On average, about 35% of men have more than one wife, and 50% of women are in a polygamous marriage (vs. 3% and 7% in modern societies). - (Leadership as a "innate" characteristic rather than by right or social economic status, decisions are essentially made based on who seems to know what's going on enough to convince other people to act with/for them. Odd how impartial justice doesn't really give any advantages either)

People are expected to have premarital sex, which is usually common. Extramarital sex is also usually common, though it is usually not acceptable for women. Adults talk about sex openly. While wife-beating exists, divorce is easy. Boys and girls are equally preferred, and women are considered equals of men. - (Here's where women really get it in such society with some unequal mores, but they do get some easier out clauses to deal with these. I suppose the polygamy is/was also an issue, but if you notice, while it's extremely common, it's also much less likely that men are accumulating many many wives based on the ratio as they often do today under similar circumstances. It's probably less likely to be an issue of consent and power problems and more an issue of mutual survival or distribution of resources, as well as something like a status achievement for both the men and the women. I suspect tolerance of such behavior where it is equally consented to still wouldn't lead to much practice of it in a modern society simply because we have very different status games)

Mothers are usually the main, but not only caregiver of kids. Relative to modern
societies, kids are taught more to be generous, trusting, and honest. Parents more emphasize their love for kids, and kids are never punished physically. Adolescents sleep away from their parents." - (Kids, especially teens, have it great here. Plenty of individual freedom, relatively useful value sets, and a good probability of sexual contact)
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