...agriculture brought about a steep decline in the standard of living. Studies of Kalahari Bushmen and other nomadic groups show that hunter-gatherers, even in the most inhospitable landscapes, typically spend less than twenty hours a week obtaining food. By contrast, farmers toil from sunup to sundown...early farmers had more anemia and vitamin deficiencies, died younger, had worse teeth, were more prone to spinal deformity, and caught more infectious diseases, as a result of living close to other humans and to livestock.
—Elif Batuman. December 19 & 26, 2011. “The Sanctuary.” The New Yorker magazine.
Diamond considers agriculture to be not just a setback but “the worst mistake in the history of the human race,” the origin of “the gross social and sexual inequality, the disease and despotism, that curse our existence.
—Elif Batuman. December 19 & 26, 2011. “The Sanctuary.” The New Yorker magazine. Referring to Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel.