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Ecology and the Evolution of Human Society

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Ecology and the Evolution of Human Society. Cultural Materialism Terms and Concepts Infrastructural Determinism Infrastructure  Structure  Superstructure Mode of Production Domestic Economy

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slide1
Ecology

and the

Evolution

of

Human Society

slide2
Cultural Materialism

Terms and Concepts

Infrastructural Determinism

Infrastructure  Structure  Superstructure

Mode of Production Domestic Economy

Mode of Reproduction Political Economy

* * * * * * * * *

Material Conditions Organization Norms, Values

Population/Resource Economic Beliefs, Science

Cost/Benefit Family, Kinship Religion, Attitudes

Ecology Social, Political

Religious, Warfare

Selection  Adaptation  Enculturation

Life Support Systems Emic vs. Etic

Energy Flow Rational Explanation

Critical Resources Population vs. Culture

Malthusian * Neo-Malthusian * Non-Malthusian

Population  Productivity  Intensification 

slide6
MALTHUSIANISM

(population control through mortality)

POPULATION

carrying capacity

-

TIME

slide7
Malthusian Population Theory is Aristotelian
  • Malthus proposed two postulates (given a, . . .):
    • Food is necessary for human existence
    • Passion between the sexes is necessary and will remain at its present state

(. . . then b):

. . . the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power of the earth to produce food.

The cause of population growth, thus, derives from the unmeasurableinternal characteristics of a population.

slide8
Just as it is the “nature” of a rock to fall downward in Aristotelian Physics, . . .

Population Growth

. . . Malthusians claim that it is the “nature” of a population to increase.

slide9
NEO-MALTHUSIANISM

(population control through fertility)

POPULATION

carrying capacity

-

TIME

slide10
Neo-Malthusianism
  • Neo-Malthusians accept all of the assumptions and propositions of the Malthusians.
  • They simply believe that it is possible to avoid the increased mortality predicted by the Malthusians through the application of birth control technology and programs.
  • Neo-Malthusians have, in fact, explicitly justified their application of population control programs in developing countries on the dire predictions of writers such as Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich.
  • A “Kinder” & “Gentler” Malthusianism.
slide11
NON-MALTHUSIAN POPULATION ECOLOGY

carrying capacity

Level of productivity

Technological input

Energy expenditure

Labor investment

Social and political organization

Resources exploited

Environmental impact

Resource competition

Fertility rate

Mortality rate

Cost of rearing children

Labor value of children

Support of elderly

Infant mortality rate

Demand for labor

Migration

POPULATION

-

carrying capacity

-

slide12
Non-Malthusianism Population Theory
  • Non-Malthusian population ecology does not approach population exclusively as the independent variable which grows “naturally” due to internal forces(Aristotelian), but rather as one variable in a system of variables.
  • Population impacts other variables in the system and is, in turn, affected by those other variables.
  • Like Galileo’s ball rolling down an inclined plane, non-Malthusian models of population growth are able to explain and predict the circumstances under which population growth rates are likely to increase or decrease, as well as the circumstances when population size is likely to decline. (Malthusian and Neo-Malthusian models are simply unable to do this.)
  • Unlike the Malthusian and Neo-Malthusian models, the non-Malthusian models account for the dynamics of population growth and decline throughout history, something that Malthusian and Neo-Malthusian models cannot explain.
slide13
Dobe Ju/’hoansi

Ecology

&

Birth Spacing

slide14
To understand the “cost” of having a baby among the Ju/’hoansi, we need to know how much a child weighs at different ages. This is the cost that the woman must bear if she has to carry her children while foraging for food.
slide15
If you multiply the weight of the child by the distance that a woman travels, you can establish an operational definition of the cost that a woman must pay for having one or more children.
slide16
This table shows how much weight in the form of a child that a woman must carry if she gives birth to a child every four years.
slide17
This table shows how much weight in the form of children a woman must carry, depending on how frequently she has children.
slide18
Using the information on the previous tables, one can see how much the cost of having a child increases as the frequency of having children increases.
slide19
The cost of having children decreases substantially among those Ju/’hoansi who have settled down to farming compared to those who are nomadic.

At the same time, the benefits of having children increases. Thus, we see a decrease in the birth interval among settled Ju/’hoansi and an increase in the total number of children a settled Ju/’hoansi woman has.

slide20
On the

Economic Value

of Children

slide21
Children begin to support the family at a very young age.

_____________________________________________________________________________

SOURCE: Benjamin White, "The Economic Importance of Children in a Javanese Village.”

slide22
Children make a substantial contribution to a family’s daily subsistence

SOURCE: Benjamin White, "The Economic Importance of Children in a Javanese Village.”

slide24
Parents throughout the world, most notably rural farmers and the urban poor in developing countries, depend heavily on their children when they get old.
slide25
Inuit Infanticide

Franz Boas: Netsilik Sex Ratio (1902)

138 boys and 66 girls = 209 males / 100 females

_____________________________________________

Rasmussen: Netsilik (1923)

--96 births in 18 marriages / 38 girls killed

--Adult Population: 150 males / 109 females

_____________________________________________

slide26
Yanomamo Sex Ratio Data

(Male/Female)

Age Group Central Villages Peripheral Villages

0 – 14 157 / 100 126 / 100

all ages 130 / 100 115 / 100

_____________________________________________

Explanation: preferential female infanticide, followed by

differential male mortality in warfare

slide27
Study of 160 Chinese Women over 50

Total Fertility = 631 sons / 538 daughters

M / F = 117 / 100

158 females had been killed / 0 males

Subsequent Sex Ratio

M / F = 166 / 100

__________________________________________

slide29
Population Growth and Intensification of Resource Exploitation

Foraging Population of 50 People.

slide30
Population Growth and Agricultural Intensification - 1

Slash-and-burn agriculture with village population of 100.

Forest Fallow

(12 years)

slide31
Population Growth and Agricultural Intensification - 2

Slash-and-burn agriculture with village population of 200.

Bush Fallow

(6 years)

slide32
Population Growth and Agricultural Intensification - 3

Slash-and-burn agriculture with village population of 400.

Short Fallow

(3 years)

slide33
Population Growth and Agricultural Intensification - 4

Agriculture with village population of 800.

Annual Cropping

slide34
Population Growth and Agricultural Intensification - 5

Agriculture with village population of 1,600.

Multi-Cropping

slide35
Changing ecological circumstances (P/R) force growing populations to exploit their environment in new and more difficult ways.

The Evolution of Clothing:

  • Making clothes from animal skins is the simplest method.
  • As the supply of leather decreases and becomes inadequate to supply a growing population’s demand for food, people are forced to develop textiles from natural fibers, such as bark, flax, wool and cotton. However, the need to spin and weave these fibers into cloth greatly increases the cost the work needed to produce clothing.
  • As population grows and the pressure on land increases, artificial fibers are developed from mineral resources, in particular oil, leaving the land for more specialized food production. Once again, however, the manufacturing process becomes more complex.
slide36
In each case, the new technique is generally seen as more onerous, or the product seen as an inferior substitute for the old.

1. Plastic as a replacement for leather

2. Margarine as a replacement for butter

3. Polyester as a replacement for cotton

4. Nylon as a replacement for wool

Early hunter-gatherers likely saw the greater amount of work required to cultivate crops in the same negative light and only adopted such practices when it became necessary or cost effective (C/B).

slide37
Energy Costs in U.S. Food Production

* * *

Intensification of food production in the U.S. during the past 100 years has required a significant increase in the amount of energy used to produce food.

slide38
Complexity of U.S. Food Production and Distribution System

* * *

Compare the organization and energy cost needed to maintain the U.S. food production and distribution system with that of the Dobe Ju/’hoansi.

slide40
Water consumption is so high in the U.S. and other industrial societies because making products, including food, through industrial processes consumes more water (and other resources) than through non-industrial processes.

see next slide . . .

slide41
Per Capita Water Consumption

(in gallons)

DailyAnnual

U.S. 1,870 682,550

Canada 1,415 516,475

Israeli 723 264,000

India 422 154,030

Brazil 264 96,380

Palestinian 98 36,000

Jordan 22 8,000

Ethiopia 8 2,920

____________________________________________________________________________________

It also requires more labor . . .

SOURCE: U.N.

slide42
Tax-Free Day = May 8th
    • This is the day in which the average American stops working to pay his or her taxes.
    • May 8th = the 128th day of the year.
      • The average American works 35% of the year to support the complex governmental system that supports their existence.
      • Police, Fire, EPA, USDA, Congress, the Presidency, Military Defense, State and local governments, trash disposal, water, sewage, etc., etc.
      • This figure represents part of the U.S. cost of living without which the U.S. standard of living could not be maintained.
      • On May 8th, the average American begins to pay for their mortgages, rents, car payments, insurance, medical expenses, clothing, heating, and other necessities of life in an urbanized environment.
  • By contrast, foragers such as the Ju/’hoansi and the Net-Hunter Pygmies only have to work to support their immediate families and band members.
  • Peoples in horticultural and agricultural societies generally fall in between these two extremes.
slide44
MALTHUSIANISM

(population control through mortality)

POPULATION

carrying capacity

-

TIME

slide45
NON-MALTHUSIAN POPULATION ECOLOGY

carrying capacity

Level of productivity

Technological input

Energy expenditure

Labor investment

Social and political organization

Resources exploited

Environmental impact

Resource competition

Fertility rate

Mortality rate

Cost of rearing children

Labor value of children

Support of elderly

Infant mortality rate

Demand for labor

Migration

POPULATION

-

carrying capacity

-

slide46
Cost of Children in U.S.

(Price Waterhouose for New York Times)

New York City: married professional couple with one child under age 4.

One PaycheckTwo Paychecks

Income:

Husband: $70,000 Husband: $70,000

Wife: 50,000

Total Income: $70,000 $120,000

Taxes: Federal, State, Local, Soc. Sec.

Total Taxes: $21,848 $44,534

Additional Expenses: Child Care, Work Clothing,

Commuting, Lunches/coffee $21,385

Total Expenses: $21,848 $65,919

Net Income $48,152$54,061

slide47
Children and Earning Power

One Two Three or More

ChildChildrenChildren

Chinatown $36,520 $19,357 $19,000

Washington Heights 37,000 28,085 35,800

Morningside Heights 19,924 30,240 39,372

East Harlem 48,000 27,500 22,488

Central Harlem 52,000 42,148 43,732

Chelsea 48,750 24,200 14,000

Greenwich Village 60,300 44,500 80,150

Upper West Side 98,650 122,000 100,400

Upper East Side 120,000 142,000 302,975

___________________________________________

Having more children tends to reduce a family’s earning power in the U.S., except among the wealthiest portion of American society.

slide48
NON-MALTHUSIAN POPULATION ECOLOGY

carrying capacity

Level of productivity

Technological input

Energy expenditure

Labor investment

Social and political organization

Resources exploited

Environmental impact

Resource competition

Fertility rate

Mortality rate

Cost of rearing children

Labor value of children

Support of elderly

Infant mortality rate

Demand for labor

Migration

POPULATION

-

carrying capacity

-

slide49
The percent of world population living in countries with a fertility rate at or below replacement has been steadily increasing.
slide50
“. . . the U.N.'s new proposal acknowledges that fertility is falling more rapidly than expected in some big, less developed countries with "intermediate" levels of fertility. These include India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Bangladesh and the Philippines. (China at 1.8 is already below replacement level.) The U.N. concludes that the less developed nations are heading toward a fertility rate of 1.85, down significantly from the 2.1 of earlier projections. This would yield a maximum global population in the 8 billion to 9 billion range.“

--Wall Street Journal (March 4, 2002)

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