The evolution of man through agriculture was expressed thoroughly by Jared Diamond in his article. The transition from a Neolithic way of living to a Paleolithic way of life had many negative effects. Having people settling down to build organized cities and companies meant there would be social inequalities. Women were usually the first targets to social inequality. Having people stay in one area and having them live together in villages created the uprising of epidemic diseases that created a widespread of death in communities. During this time growing their own food did not ensure that they would eat.
Farmers that had failing crops would lead to starvation for their families. The change from nomads to farmers and agriculturists was not filled with full prosperity. Social inequalities created the basis for the organization of social classes and positions in every society. Women were the first group to experience social inequality. Women being weaker than men were always subject to doing less rigorous but more labor. While a man would be hunting for game, a woman’s responsibility would be to gather small vegetables and fruit if the man returns with no meat.
A woman was expected to clean, nurture the small children, prepare a meal and in most cases hold a baby in her womb. Paleolithic lifestyle from the eyes of a woman suggests that a woman was not entirely pleased with the life she lived. A woman was forced into marriage with unknown knowledge of the man before. A woman craved loved but sometimes didn’t feel it in the relationships she was in. Woman were also forced to stay at home which limited the knowledge a woman can have given that she can’t even go outside. Social Inequality limits the progress of a society and women were a prime example.
Epidemic diseases not only killed thousands of people and made populations decreased greatly, but also imbedded the fear of death into the minds of many people. And epidemic disease is a widespread of disease that’s transmitted from person to person. This epidemic will not stop until a vaccine is created. An example was the Black Death that plagued European countries from 1348 to 1350. Another example would be smallpox that devastated many countries and civilizations including Ancient Egypt and countries in Europe.
After the Neolithic time period and the rise of agriculture, there was also a rise in epidemic disease. Having people live together in unsanitary areas quickly made people vulnerable to bacteria and other viruses. Having no knowledge of this, people of that time period would spread the bacteria to one another through physical contact which would get each other sick. Having large villages would result in a large percentage of people dying because they aren’t moving due to the end of their nomadic life, and are in one place.
Also, having an overpopulated area would create a faster way for an entire civilization to perish. Epidemics in the Paleolithic time period contributed to the first mass deaths during that time period. Having to stop moving around and becoming farmers was a very helpful thing to many peoples’ lives, but that didn’t necessarily mean they had something to eat all the time. Farmers worked very hard on their plantations to ensure they had enough food for the next harvest and enough food to survive the harsh winter to come. The harvest would be successful and could also be the reason why entire families would die.
A plantation would fail and lead to starvation for most families due to many environmental reasons. Droughts would occur to limit the water supply of crops. Starting to grow plants during the wrong season would definitely ensure a failing plantation. Insects and animals would destroy the hard work of these farmers by eating what the crops have produced, or just destroying it all together. Animals such as raccoons, wolves, or coyotes would see these plantations as an easy access to food and destroy a season’s hard work.
Insects such as locusts would devour all in its path and the crops were an easy target for a large group of locusts. The life of a Paleolithic farmer could be prosperous but could be very harsh at times. There are many things that could contribute to the failure of a person that is living a life of agriculture from the Paleolithic time period. There were many limiting factors to making this an unsuccessful way to live, but social inequality, epidemic diseases, and failing crops that led to starvation stood out the most.
It was harsh to live a very open life when being a woman subject to social inequality during this time. Living a filthy unsanitary lifestyle would lead to the death and the rise of epidemics to occur in many civilizations. The failing of a farmer’s crops could destroy his life for that season and ruin his family with just one thing to happen to his plantation. The effects of agriculture had not only a positive alternative of living but a heavy, negative, and devastating effect in the life of farmers of the Paleolithic time period.
Courtney from Study Moose
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