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Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: A Reader On Hunter-Gatherer Economics And The Environment

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  37 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
For roughly 99% of their existence on earth, Homo sapiens lived as small bands of hunter-gatherers in societies that appear to have solved problems of production, distribution, social equity, and environmental sustainability that our own culture seems incapable of addressing. Limited Wants, Unlimited Means examines the hunter-gatherer society and lifestyle, providing a bri ...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by Island Press
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Kirk Sinclair
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I tend to rate books on how well they deliver on what they intend to do. This anthology reveals the evidence on hunter-gatherer economics and the thinking about our natural condition that has been shaped since 1968. It's safe to say that researchers no longer adapt Thomas Hobbes' Enlightenment creed that: "the natural condition of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Yet there is still considerable debate over what to make of our natural condition as expressed by hunter-gatherer soc ...more
Megan
Mar 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
I adore the idea of viewing posessions as burdens instead of something desirable. I grew up with the mantra "live beneath your means" and "distinguish between you needs and your wants" but now I realize that even these mantrsa give us the idea that we can't have everything we want. What kind of a world would it be if we were all perfectly contented with what we have?

This book is written as a aid to research, so it is as dry as all get out, but the content is fabulous so it is worth trudging thro
...more
Alexander
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I have my opinion about what it means to leave like a Hunter-Gatherer. It was interesting to find out that my opinion was not even close to what actually is true.
Daniel Evans
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great treatise on Hunter-Gatherersocieties.
Nicholas Floyd
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Modern civilization has a tendency to congratulate itself as it exhales a heavy and self-aggrandizing sigh of relief that we are so blessed to live in this wonderful day in age, rejoicing, "No more are the brutish days of 'survival of the fittest' and the never-ending toils of struggling to find food, battling disease, and fending off invaders and predators!" But as clearly demonstrated in this book, the pre-agricultural lives of our ancestors were comprised mostly of leisure time, because food ...more
Jurij Fedorov
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Pro:
When I read it my mind was blown. Everything I had known about foragers was wrong, they were not suffering all day long. This is a masterpiece in argumentative technique and a magnificent book.

Con:
Are you tired of strawmen like the economic man? Well, this one builds up that strawman up and beats it down. For someone new in this field, economy/anthropology, this is groundbreaking. But the point of the book is to prove one point and disprove another point, not to present the whole picture on
...more
Dylan
Oct 15, 2008 rated it liked it
interesting, provocative collection for the non-specialist.
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