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Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: A Reader on Hunter-Gatherer Economics and the Environment

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Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: A Reader on Hunter-Gatherer Economics and the Environment Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For roughly 99% of their existence on earth, Homo sapiens lived in small bands of semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, finding everything they needed to survive and thrive in the biological richness that surrounded them. Most if not all of the problems that threaten our own technologically advanced society - from depletion of natural capital to the ever-present possibility of global annihilation-would be inconceivable to these traditional, immediate-return societies. In fact, hunter-gatherer societies appear to have solved problems of production, distribution, and social and environmental sustainability that our own culture seems incapable of addressing.

Limited Wants, Unlimited Means examines the hunter-gatherer society and lifestyle from a variety of perspectives. It provides a brief introduction to the rich anthropological and sociological literature on non-agricultural societies, bringing together in one volume seminal writings on the few remaining hunter-gatherer cultures including, the !Kung, the Hadza, and the Aborigines. It examines the economics of traditional societies, and concludes with a multifaceted investigation of how such societies function and what they can teach us in our own quest for environmental sustainability and social equality.

Limited Wants, Unlimited Means is an important work for students of cultural anthropology, economic anthropology, environmental studies, and sustainable development, as well as for professionals, researchers, and anyone interested in prehistoric societies, environmental sustainability, or social justice.

Book News Annotation:

Anthropologists turn the favorite idiom of economists on its head and argue that the environmental destruction of modern society is not viable, inevitable or even particularly enviable. They produce evidence that hunter-gatherers needed little, wanted little, for the most part had all the means to satisfy their needs at their immediate disposal, and lived richer and more rewarding lives than we do. They put into a hunter-gatherer perspective contemporary problems such as social security, renewable resources, sexual equality, cultural diversity, and disparity of wealth. The 12 essays were originally published from the late 1960s to the 1990s.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

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 brief introduction to the rich literature on non-agricultural societies. It examines the economics of traditional societies and presents a multifaceted investigation of how such societies function and what that can teach us in our own quest for sustainability and equality.

Synopsis:

Limited Wants, Unlimited Means examines the hunter-gatherer society and lifestyle, providing a brief introduction to the rich literature on non-agricultural societies. It examines the economics of traditional societies, and presents a multifaceted investigation of how such societies function and what they can teach us in our own quest for environmental sustainability and social equality.

About the Author

John Gowdy is Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Table of Contents

Foreword

A Note from the Editor

Introduction: Back to the Future and Forward to the Past

 

PART I. Original Affluent Societies

Chapter 1. The Original Affluent Society

Chapter 2. What Hunters Do for a Living, or, How to Make Out on Scarce Resources

Chapter 3. Sharing, Talking, and Giving: Relief of Social Tensions Among the !Kung

Chapter 4. Egalitarian Societies

 

PART II. The Original Affluent Society: Assessment And Extensions

Chapter 5. Beyond "The Original Affluent Society"?: A Culturalist Reformulation

Chapter 6. Women's Status in Egalitarian Society: Implications for Social Evolution

Chapter 7. Art, Science, or Politics? The Crisis in Hunter–Gatherer Studies

Chapter 8. The Future of Hunter–Gatherer Research

 

PART III. Hunter–Gatherers and Visions of the Future

Chapter 9. The Transformation of the Kalahari !Kung

Chapter 10. So Varied in Detail—So Similar in Outline

Chapter 11. Future Primitive

Chapter 12. A Post-Historic Primitivism

 

About the Contributors

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9781559635554
Author:
Gowdy, John
Publisher:
Island Press
Location:
Washington, D.C. :
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
Ecology
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Public Policy
Subject:
Human ecology
Subject:
Sustainable Development
Subject:
Hunting and gathering societies
Subject:
Life Sciences - Ecology
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Edition Number:
1
Edition Description:
1
Series Volume:
104-598
Publication Date:
19971231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
378
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General
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Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: A Reader on Hunter-Gatherer Economics and the Environment New Trade Paper
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Product details 378 pages Island Press - English 9781559635554 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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 brief introduction to the rich literature on non-agricultural societies. It examines the economics of traditional societies and presents a multifaceted investigation of how such societies function and what that can teach us in our own quest for sustainability and equality.
"Synopsis" by , Limited Wants, Unlimited Means examines the hunter-gatherer society and lifestyle, providing a brief introduction to the rich literature on non-agricultural societies. It examines the economics of traditional societies, and presents a multifaceted investigation of how such societies function and what they can teach us in our own quest for environmental sustainability and social equality.
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