The book Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels by Ian Morris will be published March 22. As I don’t see any other reviews on the web, it seems I get to be the first. This is from the publisher’s blurb:
Ah ... if so, that's ok.
Abiding by a specific a contract is totally different than interpreting copyright law.
You didn't say that you had an an explicit agreement, you just mentioned what the books says ...
It was a prepublication copy, and that was a condition of sharing it with me.
The Robin Hanson, author of the article writes:
"Added 9a: I gave no direct quotes because the book copy I have forbids that"
1 - The Fair Use clause in copyright law allows you to use direct quotes in the context of your article, regardless of what the owner of the copyright (or the book) says or wishes. So you have no excuse.
2 - If the book says "jump out of the window" .. or "you are forbidden to comment on the book online" , do you feel obligated to obey?
Humans are a generalist species that use movement as a problem solving tool. That is why they colonized the entire earth so quickly. So they prefer extensive utilization of resources over intensive, until they're boxed into a corner, which is what happened in the areas where agriculture first developed. There was no "edge" to expand into. The change in culture was driven by population increase. More food had to be developed from the same amount of land area. Paleolithic humans took advantage of large seeded annual grasses growing naturally in pure stands. By the simple process of harvesting those grains, they selected for shatter resistance, an essential quality of a tame, cultivated crop. From native harvest to agriculture is a short leap. I'm a retired native grass seed producer, and in my field, native harvest of pure stands of wild grasses is still a prime way of producing a seed crop. The behavior change required by agriculture then produces a values change, not the other way around. Behavior is relatively simple to change. Values are highly resistant to change. Notice, also, the similarity to utilization of fossil fuels. In its early stages, efficiency is not a priority, as long as large supplies are readily to hand. As supplies dwindle and costs increase, intensive use, rather than extensive, becomes a priority.
Especially when the rich tend to be the least likely to enact the values in question: generosity to strangers, especially. Many studies have shown that people in higher income brackets donate smaller and smaller percentages of their income.
Certainly, the culture of the NFL and MMA don't hold violence to be bad. Nor does American culture in general, as long as it's violence done in defense of "freedom" or rooting out "terrorists." The Aztecs also come to mind as a society that celebrated violence in many ways.
From Bird-David's "Beyond 'The Original Affluent Society:'" "Just as we analyze, even predict, Westerners' behaviour by presuming that they behave as if they did not have enough, so we can analyze, even predict, hunter-gatherers' behaviour by presuming that they behave as if they had it made."
Evolution (cultural of otherwise) would seem more likely to select local over global maxima. So I am skeptical that ancient cultures were optimal. Wasteful violence and discrimination don't even pass a sniff test.
Though there are obviously reasons unrelated to energy capture.
e.g. What's your stance on the morality of self-duplication? I certainly haven't the foggiest clue what mine ought to be. Vinge talked about a "prediction horizon" for a reason.
One reviewer criticized Morris's book Why the West Rules--for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future as follows:
"The central argument of geographic reductionism and determinism that Ian Morris espouses is not new. It has been made by Jared Diamond in "Guns, Germs, and Steel" and by J. M. Blaut in "Eight Eurocentric Historians" before. Surprisingly, the author fails to give proper credit to these authors for making similar arguments, although he does at least cite Diamond."
My take on this is that industrialized societies require meritocracy, which brings democracy in its wake, as an educated population demands a say.
Forager values were probably bred in by a long period of foraging...abundance just allows them to be expressed.
On the Haidtian view, its more that liberals/foragers lack certain values...but,again, abundance means you don't have to discipline yourself with extra values,
The fact that the extra conservative values have to be acculturated in perhaps relates to the conservative viewof human nature as flawed and in need of fixing.
What's the explanation for abundance producing forager values? I would take the almost inevitable explanation to be that foragers have often existed in a kind of abundance, as some anthropologists claim. [Presumably there were also enough periods of scarcity to foster a hierarchical alternative.]
But that doesn't seem to be your explanation, since you keep saying that foragers were dirt poor.
Trust me; when I can announce something, I will. :)
Haven't read the book yet, but the phrase "Whig History" does flit through my mind . . .
Talking about books coming out: When is your book about whole brain emulations coming out? Do you have a definite date already? I cannot find one on this website and I am waiting anxiously to read it!