Ecological-Evolutionary Theory
Ecological-Evolutionary Theory

Ecological-Evolutionary Theory

As I preened myself and looked forward to putting the capstone on his wonderful experience, his question totally deflated me, "What is sociology?" (Location 292)

Sociology, taught from a functionalist perspective, was simply the study of one damn thing after another: some things about the family, some things about communities, some things about ethnicity, some things about conflict, some things about cooperation, some things about this, and some things about that. (Location 302)

It provided a fresh and exciting approach to the study of human societies—an openly evolutionary approach that integrated an amazing range of materials into a coherent and meaningful whole. In short, it had the center that functionalism lacked. (Location 307)

And in the social sciences, evolutionary theories seek to explain the various transformations that have occurred in our own species' way of life from earliest Paleolithic times to the present. (Location 374)

Divergence is the process by which phenomena become increasingly dissimilar over extended periods, as in the case of the Indo-European languages or of Darwin's finches. (Location 383)

Thus, the evolution of the first amphibians was far more significant for the subsequent development of life on this planet than was the evolution of the umpteenth species of Darwin's finches. Of all the instances (Location 389)

In each instance, an important threshold was crossed and an entirely new mode of evolution was set in motion. (Location 392)

which societal evolution rests; in short, theories of societal evolution must be grounded in, and compatible with, theories of biological evolution. (Location 399)

Because of this, the important dimension of time either was eliminated from social theory and research and replaced by correlational analysis (as in survey research), or its use was restricted to the briefest of intervals—sequences measured in decades at most. (Location 483)

One consequence of this was a built-in bias toward reductionist strategies in both theory building and research. Classic issues concerning total societies and their development (Location 488)

Thanks to these elements, the social sciences are now able to provide a reasonably reliable and comprehensive map of the most important features of the social universe from prehistoric times to the present and, more important, a theory capable of explaining those features. (Location 504)

Many species of plants and animals have only a modest capacity for reproduction and, when exploited beyond that limit, are doomed to extinction. (Location 1599)

has observed, the only serious threat from large-bodied predators that most human societies have faced for thousands of years has been the threat posed by other human societies. (Location 1605)

In many societies (perhaps most), cultural diffusion has been a far more important source of useful information than independent discovery and invention (Linton, 1936). (Location 1608)

The most favorable locations have been at the intersection of major trade routes, where exposure to people and goods from other societies is maximized. (Location 1610)

Today, thanks to advances in transportation and communication, it is an integral part of the global system. In contrast, these same advances have greatly eroded the locational advantages so long enjoyed by the Middle East. (Location 1617)

Thus, while the Middle East has suffered recently in relative terms, it has gained enormously in absolute terms. (Location 1621)

but even the smallest and most limited of human societies possess vastly more. (Location 1635)

Thus, in the analysis of human societies, as contrasted with the analysis of individual members of these societies, it is not necessary to differentiate between the neurological and cultural systems of information. (Location 1638)

It is part of both the explanans and the… (Location 1643)

including everything from technology to morality and from… (Location 1647)

Changes in the former tend to have many and far-reaching consequences, while changes in the latter have… (Location 1650)

technology appears to have been the most important component of cultural systems if importance is judged by the magnitude of the impact of components on the life of human… (Location 1652)

technology is information about the ways in which the resources of the environment may be used to… (Location 1654)

the critical interface between the biophysical environment and all the other components of sociocultural systems, and therefore influences… (Location 1655)

a cultural extension and functional equivalent of that part of our genetic heritage on which human survival… (Location 1660)

technological advance has come to play essentially the same role in the adaptive process of human societies that genetic change has always played… (Location 1664)

Without the fantastic growth in the store of technological information that has occurred since the Upper Paleolithic, societies today would differ hardly at all from… (Location 1668)

technology, interacting with genetics and the biophysical environment, determines the outer limits of what is possible for the… (Location 1671)

technology, again interacting with genetics and the biophysical environment, profoundly influences the choices that individuals and societies… (Location 1672)

Thus, the necessity of economizing greatly enhances the importance of technology and generates pressures leading… (Location 1677)

major technological innovations send shock waves throughout the entire sociocultural system, creating the need for, and possibility… (Location 1680)

"snowballing tendency" that seems to be inherent in… (Location 1684)

These effects, in turn, Goldschmidt stated, increase the probability of further technological advance and further… (Location 1687)

Many of the most important changes in other aspects of culture are either cyclical or… (Location 1689)

Similarly in politics, observers have noted endless shifts between more tyrannical systems of government and more democratic… (Location 1692)

Where cumulative change is observed in other areas of human life, it is usually the result of some underlying process of… (Location 1695)

would not have occurred were it not for the tremendous growth in productivity fueled by a succession of major… (Location 1699)

Ogburn demonstrated that inventions are essentially new arrangements of already existing… (Location 1701)

The "only" thing that was new was the combination of elements, the… (Location 1704)

Because inventions are such an important part of the innovative process, and because they are novel combinations of already existing elements, the potential for technological innovation is an exponential function of the size of the store… (Location 1706)

This means that there is an inherent tendency for the rate of innovation in a society to accelerate as its store of… (Location 1709)

For example, advances in subsistence technology usually lead to population growth, which means an increase in the number of information-gatherers within a society and, therefore,… (Location 1714)

In short, the more advanced the technology of a society, the greater is the probability that values and attitudes supportive of change will gain… (Location 1719)

Throughout most of history, however, the forces of continuity were dominant in the vast… (Location 1723)

one of the most powerful of these mechanisms is the socialization process, a process whereby individuals internalize much of their… (Location 1724)

long been one of the bases of power, and power, in turn, tends to breed conservatism and a desire to preserve a… (Location 1726)

Even revolutionary ideologies usually become conservative forces once their adherents gain control of a society. Marxism-Leninism is a classic example of this, having become a highly… (Location 1729)

the interaction of genetics, technology, environment, and ideology determines the relative costs and benefits (psychic as well as economic) of alternative courses of action and, therefore, also, the choices that… (Location 1735)

the exercise of ideological preferences for economically more costly solutions to problems is always limited by the availability of resources, and these limits are… (Location 1740)

today is because technological advances of the last 200 years have enormously increased the size of the economic surplus in the societies… (Location 1744)

and much of this surplus can be allocated on the basis of ideologically based preferences—thus creating the illusion for those who focus on the handful of advanced industrial societies of the modern world that ideology is, and presumably always has been, the basic engine of… (Location 1746)

All of us today are products of an era of extraordinarily rapid and pervasive change, which makes it tempting to exaggerate the power of the forces promoting change and to… (Location 1752)

As a result, one is quickly reminded that continuity, not change, has been the more salient feature of life in most societies throughout most of history, and helps us keep more clearly… (Location 1755)

are to be found in the interaction of the five sets of factors we… (Location 1760)

the genetic, neurological, and cultural systems of information, and the biophysical and… (Location 1760)

Several aspects of human nature are especially relevant in any explanation of the sources… (Location 1762)

Thus, the environment must also be taken into account in explanations of continuity and change, with several of its characteristics being especially important. (Location 1767)

Second, the environments themselves, both biophysical and sociocultural, exhibit elements of both continuity and change. (Location 1769)

it is obvious that the potential for both continuity and change is always present in every society. (Location 1771)

the economizing tendency that is so important a part of our nature causes us to develop many habitual patterns of action, but these persist only as long as environmental conditions make them rewarding. (Location 1773)

Thus, human nature and the environment are like two-edged swords, sometimes promoting continuity, sometimes change. (Location 1775)

The causes of this continuity are not hard to find. They include the essential stability of the human genotype and the slowness of change in the biophysical environment. (Location 1784)

As sociologists have long recognized, the socialization process is especially important in this regard. (Location 1788)

but their rate of learning appears to decline, partly by choice, and partly because of physiological changes that reduce their ability to absorb new information. (Location 1791)

are usually older persons who tend to have a lower capacity for absorbing new information (though often a greater store of information overall). (Location 1793)

these individuals greatly influence the learning process in the younger generation. (Location 1794)

In short, despite many obvious advantages, it is far from clear that the benefits of a shift to the metric system would outweigh the costs. (Location 1803)

In the end, they found it more rewarding and less costly merely to simplify the older ideographic system. (Location 1805)

If nothing else, they reinforce the boundaries between societies by differentiating members from nonmembers. (Location 1813)

By definition, adaptive innovations increase the capacity of a society to satisfy its members' needs, at least in the short run, and adaptive innovations in the technologies of subsistence, transportation, and communication have often had far-reaching consequences for the entire life of a society. (Location 1816)

Part of the answer to these questions is that differences in the rate of adaptive innovation in societies are a function of differences in the rate of change in the environments to which they must adapt. (Location 1820)

cultural borrowing seems to be a more important source of adaptive innovation in most societies than independent inventions and discoveries and because changes in the sociocultural environment (Location 1822)

For example, because of the systemic nature of societies, there tends to be a "multiplier effect" in the process of innovation: Each change tends to increase the need for, and the possibility of, further changes. (Location 1826)

In addition, most discoveries have multiple applications: The discovery of the basic principles of metallurgy, for example, led to varied applications in fields ranging from art and religion to economics and warfare. (Location 1828)

the size of the store of adaptive information already available to their members. (Location 1830)

but also because it tends to stimulate population growth, increase contact with other societies, and stimulate more positive attitudes toward innovation and change, and each of these developments increases the probability of higher rates of adaptive innovation. (Location 1833)

There are too many instances in history in which less advanced societies have overtaken more advanced ones (Nolan, n.d.; Nolan and Lenski, 1985) to justify such an assumption. (Location 1836)

Sometimes, they reduced the locational advantage of one set of societies while increasing it for another: (Location 1840)

Other times, societies have invested so heavily in a current state-of-the-art technology that when a newer technology appeared, they were reluctant, or unable, to make the necessary capital investments and thereby lost the advantage they previously enjoyed relative to other societies that (Location 1842)

but the companies owning those plants were slow to abandon them because of the tremendous capital investment involved. (Location 1846)

Finally, the cost of wars and military preparedness has often taken a toll, draining resources from the productive sector. (Location 1848)

development in the productive sector were often sacrificed, since they seemed less essential in the short run. (Location 1849)

it can be all but impossible to tell in advance which will be more rewarding. (Location 1861)

alternative technologies, at least in the short run. (Location 1862)

have so often agreed on matters of technology and limited-purpose forms of social organization (e.g., the factory system or the command structure of armies). (Location 1867)

process of intragroup selection among social and cultural alternatives does not always increase a society's chances of survival (Goldschmidt, 1959:128), and may even reduce them. (Location 1869)

Within societies, decisions are usually based on individual or group (especially elite group) self-interest, and this often conflicts with the interests of society as a whole. (Location 1872)

societies for things that contribute to self-gratification rather than for things that strengthen their nations economically, militarily, or morally (see Galbraith, 1958: ch. 18). (Location 1874)

In other words, a system exists to the degree that the actions of the parts are coordinated with one another. (Location 1878)

By now it should be clear that there is nothing inevitable about societal growth, development, or progress—even when the idea of progress is narrowly defined so as to mean simply an increase in the store of useful information. (Location 1890)

While this was the largest number in existence at any single time, because the life span of societies is limited to centuries or millennia, over the total span of human existence there have almost certainly been well over 1 million societies. (Location 1894)

Moreover, the current universe of societies is highly unrepresentative of the total universe. Societies today are, on average, far larger, far more complex, far more productive, far more powerful, and far more subject to change than societies of the past. (Location 1897)

change that occurred was nonadaptive and organizationally inconsequential. (Location 1900)

Thus, stasis, not change, has been the usual state of affairs among human societies throughout most of history. (Location 1902)

But having recognized this, we must also recognize that the progressive minority of societies has had a disproportionate impact on history and especially (Location 1905)

Finally, we must note that just as there is nothing inevitable about societal progress, so, too, there is nothing inevitable about societal continuity. (Location 1908)

The more carefully one examines the historical record, the clearer it becomes that the range of possibilities open to human societies is extraordinarily varied and that any appearance of inevitability in societal progress, advance, and development is just that—an appearance and an illusion. (Location 1913)

This is not possible, however, partly because of the extraordinary complexity of the relationships involved, partly because of the small number of well-documented cases, and partly because of the impossibility of manipulating the relevant variables experimentally. (Location 1927)

In addition, technology is identified as the critical interface between the biophysical environment and the other parts of the phenotype, and is shown as having a greater influence on social organization and ideology than either of them (Location 1934)

Above all, it is a reminder that there is a powerful social and cultural counterpart to the physical phenomenon of inertia and the biological phenomenon of homeostasis. (Location 1941)

Thus, the social and cultural characteristics of a society at any given time are never merely responses to current environmental and genetic circumstances and influences; (Location 1942)

they fail to do justice to the heritage of the past and its continuing influence on societies. (Location 1947)

other components of the model. While it is important to recognize the necessity of adding greater specificity to the model when dealing with specific problems, it is even more important not to lose sight of the basic model and the map it provides of relationships among the major components of societal systems and the primary forces acting on them. (Location 1954)

By overlooking or ignoring these indirect effects of technology, many have been misled into believing that social organization and ideology are the principal sources of change in societies. (Location 1960)

a conception of human nature that is informed by the new sciences of genetics and primatology as well as by the unhappy results (Location 1966)

the biophysical environment, both as a resource for and a constraining influence on societal development; (Location 1968)

influence of the sociocultural environment, (Location 1969)

technology as the interface between the biophysical environment and other aspects of sociocultural systems, (Location 1971)

the importance of population size (Location 1973)

interaction of societal systems of social organization and ideology (Location 1974)

of feedback between them (Location 1975)

the impact of a society's cultural heritage (Location 1976)

More than any other work, it drew attention to the consequences of population growth and to one of the causes of differences in living standards. (Location 1988)

"[population tends to increase up to the limit of the supporting power of the environment on a given stage of the arts (Location 1992)

Productivity is obviously a function of capital; societies short of capital are obviously handicapped in their ability to produce goods and services. (Location 2003)

productivity also depends on human capital (Capitalb below), the skills and knowledge that members of a society possess. (Location 2006)

Third, we need to add an error term to cover the effect of all the other variables that influence the size of the economic surplus in societies. (Location 2009)

but differences in the size of the economic surpluses of societies appear to be the most powerful influences shaping the totality of their attributes. (Location 2014)

Since the demise of the older evolutionism, most sociologists have shown little interest in mapping the universe of human societies and in developing a comprehensive taxonomy of human societies. (Location 2071)

categories have multiplied to the point that the field is now inundated with countless overlapping and often incompatible sets of societies: (Location 2074)

ecological-evolutionary theory postulates the need for a systematic and comprehensive classification of the total universe of societies, with the system of classification grounded in a general theory of human societies and based on clearly specified covering principles. (Location 2081)

Similarly, much of the most important research in physics in recent years has been directed toward the goal of completing the theoretical map of subatomic particles; (Location 2088)

Unfortunately, few sociologists in the last seventy-five years have had much appreciation of the importance of developing a truly comprehensive map of the social universe. (Location 2096)

defensible system of interrelated special theories of the kind that will enable us to move beyond supposedly general theories based on observations of a single society or handful of societies in a limited time period, and beyond the hodgepodge of unconnected case studies and common-sense propositions about those societies that have too long been our discipline's stock in trade. (Location 2105)

Knowing a society's technological resources for obtaining energy and materials tells us more about the society and why it is as it is than any other single fact (Heise et al., 1976). (Location 2113)

One is based on the technology of energy production. (Location 2116)

More recently, however, as the techniques of archaeological research have grown more sophisticated and theoretical interests have increased, archaeologists have shifted the focus of their attention from materials to energy, so that today one reads with increasing frequency in their literature of food-collecting and food-producing societies. (Location 2120)

As the figure indicates, technologically advanced types of societies are capable of expanding into new and different kinds of environments from those in which they developed initially (Location 2133)

what might be called their operative technology (i.e., those technological resources actually employed in their most essential economic activities). (Location 2137)

For example, in contemporary societies, one can use GNP per capita or energy consumption per capita to obtain a much more precise measure of the overall level of technological development (Location 2141)

For example, agrarian societies can be divided on the basis of their dominant religious tradition into Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and so forth. (Location 2147)

For it was this—not their ide ologies—which explained the high degree of urbanization and literacy, the extreme division of labor, the small nuclear-family systems, the changing role of women, and most of the other characteristics they shared (Jones, 1983), (Location 2152)

As a result, the explanatory power of subsistence technology is increased, compared to the former example, and the explanatory power of ideology reduced. (Location 2174)

and the predictive power of ideology declines once again. (Location 2177)

A factor analysis limited to nation-states in the modern world found that per capita GNP and variables linked to it constituted the first factor, while ideology and related variables were only the third factor (Sawyer, 1967). (Location 2183)

Rather, they are simplifying abstractions that draw attention to certain theoretically important constellations of variables that have been observed repeatedly in various sets of societies. (Location 2192)

like Weber's "ideal types" and should be judged on the basis of their ability to enhance our understanding of human societies, (Location 2194)

the theory assumes that infinitely fine gradations are possible in levels of technological development, which means that individual societies at the lower end of a given taxon tend to have more in common with societies at the upper end of the next lower taxon than they have with societies at the upper end of their own taxon. (Location 2201)

This more developed form of slavery appears for the first time only in hunting and gathering societies that are closest to the boundary separating this type of society from more advanced types. (Location 2219)

Hunting and gathering produced very small yields in terms of food and energy per square mile. (Location 2244)

Because these societies were usually nomadic, and because productivity was low, the accumulation of possessions was minimal. (Location 2259)

complex processing in order to become useful. Pottery and metals, two of the oldest types of more highly processed materials, did not appear on the human scene until societies were able to establish more permanent settlements. (Location 2265)

and all of these characteristics combined to foster ideological conservatism and to ensure a low rate of change, (Location 2269)

importance in shaping the life of human societies. Finally, the model helps one appreciate the limiting and self-perpetuating nature of societal systems that depend on hunting and gathering; whatever changes are made in the future, as the model is refined and improved, these elements will almost certainly remain. (Location 2276)

He suggested that there had been a causal link between the end of the last Ice Age (which led to major changes in the flora and fauna on which human populations depended) and the adoption of newer modes of subsistence. (Location 2294)

In other words, population growth combined with technological advance to produce an overkill of large-game animals on which human societies in many areas had become dependent. (Location 2297)

but which had previously been unimportant, because hunting and gathering were more rewarding and less onerous. (Location 2300)

Except in the Arctic, nearly all fishing peoples have obtained fruit and vegetables by foraging or cultivation, and many have (Location 2307)

Hence, the supply of fish is constantly replenished and fishing peoples are freed from the necessity of relocating their settlements every few weeks or months. (Location 2316)

potential inherent in a fishing economy is best seen in the Indians of the Pacific Northwest—the Kwakiutl, the Haida, the Tlinglit, and others. (Location 2324)

On the other hand, when comparison is based on the average size of the societies as a whole, fishing societies much more closely resemble hunting and gathering societies (ibid.). (Location 2331)

we find that the former have been, on average, three-and-a-half times the size of the latter (Nolan and Lenski, 2004: table 4.2). (Location 2338)

simple horticultural societies that have not practiced metallurgy and advanced horticultural societies that have. (Location 2339)

horticultural society is the practice of gardening, or farming without the plow. (Location 2341)

This type of farming is often referred to as swidden, or slash-and-burn, cultivation, reflecting the practice of periodic clearing of new gardens by killing off the natural vegetation and burning it, with the ashes providing fertilizer for subsequent crops. (Location 2342)

horticulturalists have to be abandoned after a few years, partly because weeds take over the plot, and partly because the fertility of the soil is depleted to the point where the benefits of cultivation no longer justify the costs. (Location 2344)

farming, like fishing, results in more permanent settlements than are possible in most hunting and gathering societies, and this, in turn, leads to a greater accumulation of possessions, greater social inequality, and other things. (Location 2347)

most important development associated with the shift from hunting and gathering to horticulture was the emergence of a potential for sustained economic surpluses. (Location 2354)

be emphasized, however, that horticultural societies had only a potential for creating an economic surplus. That potential often failed to be realized because of population growth: (Location 2357)

motivation for the creation of the surplus seems to have been to provide for the needs of the group in periods when crops failed and current food supplies were inadequate. (Location 2361)

Political leaders used them sometimes to subsidize groups of retainers to do their bidding (Lenski, 1966: 164 (Location 2366)

In short, economic surpluses gradually came to provide the foundation for a system of full-time occupational specialization. (Location 2368)

Moreover, as their control came to be institutionalized, it could be handed down (Location 2371)

Closely linked to the growth of inequality was the growth of the state. (Location 2374)

an individual could sometimes gain power over an entire village—or more. (Location 2376)

From the standpoint of sheer size, the largest of the empires formed by horticulturalists (of which we have knowledge today) appear to have been the Incan Empire in South America and Songhay, a West African society, both of which, at the peak of their power, ruled over several million people. (Location 2379)

By conquering other horticulturalists, a ruler could gain control over their surplus and thereby increase the quantity of goods and services at his own disposal. (Location 2382)

Because urban communities are, by definition, communities in which the majority of the population is freed from the necessity of producing its own food and fibers, they can develop only where at least some surplus is produced. (Location 2389)

In thinking about horticultural societies, we need to remember, however, that most of the developments shown in Figure 5.4 occurred only after societies developed the institutional arrangements that were needed to extract the surplus on a sustained basis. (Location 2399)

The difference between them is that agrarian societies employ some kind of plow in the work of cultivation whereas horticulturalists rely on the hoe or the digging stick. (Location 2405)

As a result, there are still large areas—especially, sub-Saharan Africa and much of the hill country in southeast Asia and Latin America—where horticulture, rather than agriculture, remains the dominant mode of farming. (Location 2416)

In contrast, mid-nineteenth-century China—before the beginnings of ind ustrialization—was the largest agrarian society in history and it had a population of several hundred million (Chang, 1955: 102). (Location 2423)

and partly to the greater scale of organization that is possible in an agrarian society. (Location 2425)

led to greater yields on the cultivated land and substantially greater economic surpluses. (Location 2432)

Songhay appears to have been the largest horticultural society that ever developed. At the peak of its power, its empire spread over more than 500,000 square miles—an (Location 2433)

The growth of the state apparatus in agrarian societies seems to have been both consequence and cause of the growth of the economic surplus. (Location 2439)

There were also a number of new developments, such as the emergence of the first supranational religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam; the invention of writing12 and money; and, interestingly, a slowdown, at least temporarily, in the rate of technological innovation. (Location 2444)

V. Gordon Childe first called attention to this slowdown, which he attributed in part to the increasingly exploitative nature of the polities of agrarian societies. (Location 2448)

Peasants and artisans had the expertise and knowledge that were essential to technological innovation, but the governing class controlled the benefits. (Location 2450)

Thus, increasingly agrarian elites turned from the conquest of nature to the conquest of man. (Location 2453)

however, that the sequence of developments shown in the model were not possible everywhere and the biophysical environment, as noted previously, often prevented societies from taking even the first step in the sequence. (Location 2458)

These are societies that have relied on intersocietal trade and commerce as their primary mode of subsistence and their chief source of income. (Location 2461)

What differentiated them was the way they used their technological information to take (Location 2463)

advantage of the opportunities afforded by their environmental situation. (Location 2463)

Maritime societies resembled agrarian societies in many ways, especially the urban centers of those societies. (Location 2471)

both were overseas empires. (Location 2473)

This feature was linked with another, more basic peculiarity: In a largely agrarian world in which monarchy was the normal—almost universal—form of government, maritime societies were usually republics. (Location 2474)

The explanation for the republican tendency in maritime societies seems to be that commerce, rather than warfare and the exploitation of vast peasant masses, was the primary concern of the governing class. (Location 2477)

these nations had less need for a strong, centralized hierarchical government. (Location 2479)

since their primary responsibilities would be to regulate commercial competition and to provide naval forces to defend their access to foreign ports. (Location 2480)

In agrarian societies, the governing class usually viewed work of any kind as degrading, and since this was the class that all others envied and emulated, its views rubbed off on the rest. (Location 2483)

This anti–work ethic undoubtedly contributed to the slowdown in the rate of technological innovation in these societies. (Location 2485)

merchants were the dominant class, and a very different view of economic activity prevailed. (Location 2486)

believe that the rate of technological advance was considerably greater in maritime societies than in agrarian, especially when one takes into account their much smaller size. (Location 2487)

a number of scholars believe that herding societies were an offshoot of simple agrarian societies—an adaptation to environmental conditions that precluded farming (Location 2493)

In fact, our word "nomad" comes from an early Greek word meaning "herder of cattle." Among the herding societies coded by Murdock (1967), (Location 2496)

Given the sparse resources of their territories, large and dense concentrations of population have been impossible. (Location 2502)

huge compared to the typical hunting and gathering or simple horticultural society. (Location 2504)

Open grasslands, where most herders have lived, present few obstacles to movement and, therefore, to political expansion. (Location 2509)

The basic resource in these societies has been livestock, and the size of its herd has been the measure of a family's status. (Location 2512)

Hereditary slavery, for example, has been far more common in herding societies than in any other type (it is present in 61 percent of herding societies compared to 2–35 percent in other sets of societies). Other kinds of inequality have also been very common, especially inequality based on wealth. (Location 2515)

often militant nature of advanced herding societies. Raiding and warfare have been frequent activities, and these activities promoted the development of male authority structures. (Location 2521)

In this respect, they stand in sharp contrast to horticultural societies, where women have so often played the dominant role in subsistence activities. (Location 2523)

During the next 2,500 years, a succession of herding societies attacked agrarian societies from China to Europe, often conquering them. (Location 2530)

There were a number of reasons (or this, but it was primarily because the economic surplus that could be produced by agriculture was so much greater than that which could be produced by herding. (Location 2535)

Thus, despite impressive military victories, the limits of the herding world were never permanently enlarged, and in more recent centuries many of the territories controlled by herding societies have come under the sway of agriculturalists. (Location 2538)

It is one of the clearest indications we have of the constraints that material factors set on societal development. (Location 2541)

appear more inclined to sacrifice cherished institutional arrangements and customary practices rooted in traditional beliefs and values than to give up substantial material benefits that would otherwise be theirs. (Location 2543)

Britain became the first society in which industrial technology—that is, machines powered by inanimate energy sources—became the leading source of income and wealth. (Location 2549)

It is generally recognized that industrialization has led to massive increases in productivity and this, in turn, has led both to higher standards of living in the societies most affected and to substantial population growth throughout the world. (Location 2552)

Politically, the most striking change resulting from industrialization has been the decline and disappearance of hereditary monarchies. (Location 2567)

In these new societies, the labor force would be employed increasingly in nonmanual occupations, jobs that would require primarily intellectual skills. (Location 2598)

Clearly, this is not the case, nor is it likely to be at any time in the near future. If anything, advanced societies today (Location 2601)

Every new phase in the Industrial Revolution—not just the current one—has meant important changes in the lives of people and in the nature of societies. (Location 2605)

This is why theory construction in the social sciences requires frequent and repeated alternation between the processes of induction and deduction and why such theories must be open-ended. (Location 2655)

theories are stated in probabilistic terms: Propositions stated in probabilistic terms can be falsified only when the total distribution of cases violates assertions about that distribution. (Location 2663)

Patterns of continuity and change in individual societies are not always paralleled by those in the global system. (Location 2719)

it is this kind of evolution that is responsible for the diversity of social and cultural patterns that have intrigued anthropologists for so long. (Location 2725)

General evolution, in contrast, refers to the directional changes that have occurred in the universe of human societies, such as the long-run growth of world population, the long-run growth in world economic output or GWP, and the long-run increase in the global division of labor. (Location 2726)

Wallerstein's world-system theory brought home to sociologists and others the fact that the processes of change operating at the global level are more than the sum of the processes operating within individual societies. (Location 2735)

For hundreds of thousands of years, human societies have interacted with one another and have exchanged important elements of information. (Location 2742)

Because of mechanisms such as these, one is forced to recognize that the process of information-cumulation has been operating on a global basis for thousands of years. (Location 2747)

Clearly, then, the existence of the global system is not new. What is new is the nature of the system. Because of advances in transportation and communication technologies, contacts between societies have become far more frequent and far more sustained than in the past. (Location 2753)

societies even managed to survive into the last century. As a result, until recently, societies became increasingly diversified. (Location 2777)

One also supposes that societies that were more successful in minimizing intragroup conflict and in maximizing cooperation fared better than their neighbors. (Location 2784)

The constraints on growth that are inevitable in foraging societies held differences to a minimum. (Location 2786)

Now, for the first time, variations in size and complexity became a significant factor in the process of intersocietal selection. In fact, they soon became the dominant factor. (Location 2791)

Given the genetically based propensity of human populations to expand, unless constrained by environmental or cultural forces, (Location 2794)

enabled technologically advanced societies to mobilize resources more effectively and in ways that gave them a military edge. (Location 2802)

In the long run, societies with the simpler technologies could survive only in two kinds of locations: (1) those that were unsuited to the more advanced technologies (e.g., mountains, deserts), and (2) those that were sufficiently remote that distance or other geographical obstacles provided the necessary protection, as in the case of Australia prior to the eighteenth century. (Location 2808)

In effect, human societies have been engaged in a deadly game of musical chairs in which the vast majority have been eliminated by losing their territorial base and its resources to their more powerful neighbors. (Location 2812)

societal survival has been largely a function of a society's level of technological advance relative to the societies with which it has been in competition. (Location 2815)

Processes can work quite differently on different levels. (Location 2824)

In the light of existing values, members select one option rather than another, and the high value that most place on preserving the status quo ensures a substantial degree of social and cultural continuity. (Location 2827)

the status quo is usually the best strategy for minimizing risks in societies in which risk-taking can be a costly luxury, and preserving the status quo also promises to preserve the privileges of the more powerful members of the group. (Location 2828)

is determined, over the long run, by the level of technological advance of the competing societies, not by any rational process of decisionmaking. (Location 2832)

the former are superior in anything except their possession of survival-relevant resources. (Location 2837)

Unlike most competing theories, it draws attention to forces that lie beyond human control, and, unlike classical Marxian theory, which shares this characteristic, it offers no assurance of a happy ending. (Location 2840)

ecological-evolutionary theory sees variation arising among societies as they respond to the challenges that confront them and struggle to adapt to the varying circumstances they encounter. (Location 2842)

Until quite recently, these trends have been largely unintended consequences of impersonal forces and processes beyond human comprehension and control. (Location 2851)

Whether that can be achieved in time to avert catastrophe is still an open question, but to ignore what has been learned is to court disaster. (Location 2854)

When discussing the global system as a whole, the system of classification is based on the highest level of technological development found anywhere; (Location 2862)

For example, Robert Braidwood proposed a three-fold division of prehistory into (1) a food-gathering stage, (2) a food-collecting stage, and (3) a food-producing stage. (Location 2868)

Each era is defined by the type of society that has been politically and militarily dominant in it and therefore has enjoyed a selective advantage over other societies in competition for territories and other essential resources. (Location 2875)

to introduce vital information concerning the sociocultural (Location 2894)

Thus, even though the internal forces acting on a set of societies remain largely the same from one era to the next, (Location 2899)

we should expect hunting and gathering societies4 to be subject to environmental influences unlike anything experienced by hunting and gathering societies (Location 2905)

Sometimes, as the Islamic Revolution in Iran demonstrated, individual societies can halt or even reverse the trend for a time, but the long-term prospects seem dim for revolutions that seek a return to the status quo ante. (Location 2911)

is the belief that the process itself is fixed and stable and that only its products—be they species or societies—change. (Location 2922)

Prior to the horticultural era, intersocietal selection appears to have been based on the quantity and quality of technological information that societies possessed concerning the challenges and resources of their own particular niche in the biophysical environment. (Location 2929)

Differences in subsistence technologies predicted and explained the increasing differences in the size of societies, their modes of governance, the appearance of the first urban communities, the beginnings of full-time occupational specialization, increasing inequality, and more. (Location 2958)

Thus, the relative importance of the technological factor was again substantially enhanced, since the differences between agrarian societies and hunting and gathering societies were substantially greater than the differences between (Location 2965)

horticultural societies and hunting and gathering societies. (Location 2967)

itself, evolve over time or that there can be an evolution of the evolutionary process. (Location 3015)

Ecological-evolutionary theory does not, however, deny the importance of social organizational and ideological variables (as other theories often deny the importance of the material determinants). (Location 3051)

In this respect, ecological-evolutionary theory parts company with the Utopian strain in contemporary sociology and with the often-exaggerated view of reality as a social construct. (Location 3053)

First, theories may adopt a reductionist stance and attempt to explain social and cultural phenomena in biological terms. (Location 3060)

Third, theories may assume that explanations of social and cultural phenomena must take account of constraints that our species' genetic heritage imposes on social systems and that humans are not entirely free to shape societies as they might wish, despite the enormous behavioral flexibility that culture allows. (Location 3063)

Durkheim and the functionalists tend to do so also.3 Second, some have made use of special theories without properly grounding them in general (Location 3070)

they are of little theoretical interest or importance. Ecological-evolutionary theory, in contrast, sees the limits as much narrower and therefore much more interesting and important. (Location 3132)

Its concern is limited to individual societies and sets of societies. As a result, it fails to address the important phenomenon of intersocietal selection and its consequences. (Location 3138)

since greater attention to external threats to the survival and well-being of societies would almost certainly direct attention to the influence of technological innovation on military power. (Location 3140)

Instead, technological advance increases the potential for an economic surplus, and this, in turn, increases the range of available options and thereby provides greater scope for ideological (Location 3143)

influence on the characteristics of social systems (Location 3145)

views material factors as exercising greater influence than beliefs and values on social-system patterns. (Location 3150)

is a strikingly adaptive response to the material conditions of Indian society. (Location 3154)

that has been surprisingly successful in protecting a vital capital resource during periods of famine, when pressures to consume this resource would otherwise have been overwhelming. (Location 3154)

His sharp attacks on sociobiology have sometimes made it seem as though he shared the view that human nature is entirely a product of environmental influences. (Location 3157)

without coming to recognize the bias toward self-centeredness and sell-aggrandizement that humans inherit as part of their mammalian-primate heritage—a bias that becomes especially important in larger and more complex societies (Location 3176)

Both share an interest in networks of societies as well as in individual societies. (Location 3182)

The two theories also differ in their assessment of the role of biological factors in human life. (Location 3189)

This was to usher in a new era of liberty equality and fraternity Instead, it brought conflict, the Terror, and, finally, Napoleon. (Location 3196)

egalitarians with a new explanation for inequality and injustice. Marx and Engels identified the institution of private property (Location 3198)

Private ownership of the means of production was abolished in the Soviet Union nearly a century ago, but long before the Soviet Union came to an end, thoughtful Marxists had already abandoned hope for the emergence of either the new man or the new society (Location 3200)

For them, the capitalist world-economy is the ultimate source of evil, and the cure must take the form of worldwide socialist revolution. (Location 3204)

world-system theorists cling to the belief that the evils of human life are merely products of social institutions, and not of any inherent features of our species' genetic heritage. (Location 3206)

Modernization theory like world-system theory is a microevolutionary theory with a time frame limited to the last several centuries. (Location 3216)

As its name suggests, this approach to the study of human societies and other phenomena employs the historical method and emphasizes the idiosyncratic nature of social phenomena, including societies. (Location 3235)

Ecological-evolutionary theory has no quarrel with the assertion that every society is unique, (Location 3238)

the most basic characteristics of the most inclusive possible data set in the social sciences—all human societies, viewed both individually and collectively, throughout the total span of human history. (Location 3253)

The diversity of the problems is intentional, since I believe that one of the primary appeals of ecological-evolutionary theory is its capacity for dealing effectively with an extraordinarily broad range of issues and problems. (Location 3267)

we need to keep in mind that as the technology of a society advances, its economic resources increase. (Location 3271)

and new opportunities for solving problems. (Location 3272)

Some are more expensive than others, and in a world in which economic resources are finite and human needs and desires infinitely expandable, economizing is unavoidable. (Location 3281)

Thus, once again technology constrains the implementation of ideologically based efforts, and technological constraints, acting in concert with human genetics, seem likely to remain a more powerful determinant of societal development than ideology, much as we might wish otherwise. (Location 3283)

I have found that while ecological-evolutionary theory seems plausible to many most have difficulty in seeing how it can be tested and otherwise applied in research. (Location 3321)

the primary concern of the founders was to create a science of human societies that could explain the tremendous social and cultural diversity that Europeans had discovered in their (Location 3324)

social sciences) sought, above all, to understand the circumstances and forces that had enabled their own ancestors to move from what was then referred to as the states of savagery and barbarism to a state of civilization. (Location 3328)

American sociology had become highly ethnocentric, concerned largely with American phenomena. (Location 3333)

it had also lost the historical vision of its founders and become concerned much too narrowly with the contemporary scene. (Location 3334)

if sociologists first accumulate a vast store of detailed information and "middle range theories" about more limited processes. Only then should we even begin to think about the larger issues. In my opinion, the latter view rests on a profound misunderstanding of the relationship between theory and research. (Location 3341)

Finally, for those who desire additional tests of ecological-evolutionary theory, I strongly recommend Jared Diamond's excellent volume, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. (Location 3363)

This is in sharp contrast to the interests of most of the founders of the discipline in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (Location 3372)

a true science of human societies cannot safely neglect any significant part of the total societal record, (Location 3375)

scholars view the social sciences with great skepticism and are reluctant to believe that they can provide anything useful to the understanding of the problems with which they are dealing. (Location 3397)

The earliest account of the origins of ancient Israel is found in the bible, and, more specifically, in the books of the Pentateuch (Location 3404)

But with the growth of religious skepticism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, challenges to biblical authority began to appear. (Location 3408)

no major biblical scholar today accepts the biblical account as a complete or adequate account of what actually transpired more than thirty centuries ago. (Location 3410)

time was negligible. Another major flaw in both the conquest and immigration models is the absence of archaeological evidence to support the thesis of the intrusion into Palestine of a new people with a new culture. (Location 3431)

displaced by another, either by conquest or by migration, the demographic discontinuity is manifested archaeologically by changes in material culture (e.g., new designs on pottery, new tools, and/or new modes of construction). (Location 3433)

On the contrary, the evidence from all the earliest Israelite settlements reflects a remarkable continuity with the material culture of the older, pre-Israelite, or Canaanite, settlements (Location 3440)

Thus, what had originally been a single ethnic and cultural community divided along religious and political lines, with the opposing groups coming to be known as Israelites and Canaanites. (Location 3453)

Not only did Israel worship a new kind of deity—the monotheistic Yahweh, as contrasted with the polytheistic deities of the Canaanites—but it possessed a new kind of moral order based on laws derived from Yahweh. (Location 3463)

it did not eliminate all of them, and it introduced some new problems of its own. (Location 3468)

the new religion of Israel was "the symbolic expression of the Israelite socioeconomic revolution," rather than the reverse, as Mendenhall saw it. (Location 3486)

The apparent lack of any substantial human population in the Syro-Arabian desert at the time when Israel came into being is a major barrier to the acceptance of both the conquest and immigration models. (Location 3496)

preceding the emergence of Israel (Chaney, 1983, 1986), there is no record of such revolts in the thirteenth century when the highland communities that became Israel were first settled. (Location 3504)

More troubling still is the assertion that the revolt was successful. Most peasant revolts in agrarian societies of the preindustrial era were hopeless affairs from the start. (Location 3507)

armed and better-organized forces of the governing class. Of all the many peasant revolts in China's long history, for example, only three were successful prior to the twentieth century (Eberhard, 1952: 52), and it is difficult to find comparable successes elsewhere (Location 3509)

a peasant replaced him on the imperial throne, there were almost no changes in the basic institutional structure of society. (Location 3516)

rise to the formation of a radically new kind of society, this development would probably have been unique and totally without parallel in all the long history of the agrarian era. (Location 3519)

First, Israel had its beginnings in the hill country of Palestine; none of its earliest settlements were in the fertile lowlands to the west, the historic centers of human (Location 3540)

Second, prior to the thirteenth century B.C.E., the hill country of Palestine was very sparsely settled; by recent count, only twenty-nine hill country sites have been identified that predate the mid-thirteenth century. (Location 3542)

Third, beginning at this time, there was an explosive growth in the number of settlements in the area and in the size of the human population (according to one recent survey, ninety-seven new settlements were established and the rate of population growth appears to have averaged (Location 3543)

The few small settlements prior to the thirteenth century were all located adjacent to the handful of springs in the area that flowed continuously throughout the year. (Location 3550)

In addition, a relatively new technique for lining the porous walls of cisterns was introduced into the highlands. (Location 3558)

effectively prevented leakage through the porous rock walls of cisterns in the region. (Location 3559)

amply evident in both prehistoric and historic times. Prior to the recent past, whenever new resources have become available, whether through settlement of new territories or through the development of new technologies, human populations have increased. (Location 3571)

wretched expendables (Lenski, 1966: 281–284). When, however, there were new territories to be occupied and new frontiers to be settled, some part of the flow of migration would be diverted, as happened during the settlement of the European colonies in the New World. (Location 3575)

The normal tendency to migrate to frontiers may well have been intensified in ancient Palestine by the invasion of the coastal region by the so-called sea peoples—an invasion that coincided with the early expansion of population in the hill country (Carter, n.d.). (Location 3578)

Moreover, the hill country may even have been viewed by members of the governing class as a relatively safe outlet for excess population, espedaily (or troublemakers and malcontents who were unwilling or unable to adapt to the demands made of them in an established agrarian society. (Location 3590)

looked to me, as Chaney described it, remarkably like an interesting and familiar variant on the more basic model of agrarian society (Location 3597)

frontier society (Location 3598)

This has been a short-lived type of society that has appeared briefly from time to time when members of an agrarian society have migrated to previously uninhabited territory or to territory thinly inhabited by horticulturalists, hunters and gatherers, or other technologically less advanced peoples. (Location 3598)

The idea of the frontier as the source from which a distinctive kind of sociocultural system arises owes much to the work of Frederick Jackson Turner (1894, 1920), the American historian. (Location 3603)

It also produced antipathy to governmental control (ibid.: 30). (Location 3607)

the result tended to be a plantation system (or colony) in which many, or most, of the sociocultural patterns of the old society were preserved—especially (Location 3619)

But if the new society emerged from the actions of numerous small farmers, and the governing authorities in the old society were not in firm control, the result was the kind of frontier society that Turner argued had emerged in the course of American history. (Location 3621)

I became more aware of the seriousness with which many biblical scholars view the lack of direct evidence of peasant revolts in Palestine in the premonarchic era. (Location 3633)

have led me to conclude that the opening of the new frontier in the highlands beginning in the thirteenth century was probably the principal cause of the developments that followed, and that the concept of a peasant revolt should be thought of as a possible (though unproven and nonessential) contributory influence. (Location 3636)

hypothesizes a pattern of development that appears to be without precedent in the agrarian era. (Location 3641)

typical pattern of development whenever new territories have been settled by small farmers acting on their own initiative, (Location 3646)

Furthermore, archaeological evidence indicates that these new settlements were poor and relatively backward culturally compared to the older, established settlements in the lowlands (Location 3650)

It was not until that century that the application of new technologies (iron, rock terracing, slake-limed cisterns) made widespread human settlement in the highlands possible. (Location 3654)

the frontier society model provides an explanation, rooted in the experience of other frontier societies, of why Israel so quickly abandoned the distinctive institutional system it initially created (e.g., why it abandoned republican government and adopted a monarchical form of government; (Location 3658)

Frontiers, frontier values, and frontier institutions are transitory phenomena, (Location 3662)

one would surely expect that the new system would be defended with extraordinary zeal. (Location 3677)

resistance to his new policies, and even the excesses of his son and heir, Solomon, did not generate the kind or degree of resistance during his extended reign that one would expect if Israel's egalitarian social system was as intentional as Gottwald believes. (Location 3679)

expanded state that had by now incorporated the more productive, wealth-producing lowlands, and where frontier settlements had become increasingly marginal economically. (Location 3681)

Most biblical scholars today agree that our view of this early period, therefore, necessarily reflects to a substantial degree the needs, biases, interests, and experiences of a much later generation of Israel's religious elite. (Location 3685)

In the centuries following the establishment of the monarchy, the people of Israel repeatedly failed to honor the covenant established with Yahweh. (Location 3694)

How can we explain the fact that so many of the elements of the faith of early Israel loom so large in modern Judaism? (Location 3704)

how can we explain the continuing importance of ethical and ritual norms that appear to have had their origin in the premonarchic period and in response to conditions that prevailed at that time? (Location 3706)

important principle that the past is not dead history but living material, much of which exercises an influence for extended periods. (Location 3708)

One invoked a newer ideology that reflected the more complex and more cosmopolitan social experience of Israel's new political and religious elites and that served their interests. (Location 3710)

that had been dominant when Israel was still a society of frontiersmen scratching out a meager living in the hill country of Palestine. (Location 3712)

The key to these developments was the declining fortunes of the kingdom of Israel. (Location 3715)

Israel split into a northern and a southern kingdom. (Location 3716)

Not only was the kingdom destroyed, its elites were scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire and foreigners were settled in much of what had once been the land of Israel. (Location 3717)

ten of the original twelve tribes of Israel disappeared forever from the stage of history. (Location 3719)

With much of the old leadership dead or discredited, a new and reconstituted religious elite emerged that took the teachings of the prophets more seriously. (Location 3722)

several critical institutional changes occurred. For example, the temple at Jerusalem, which had been the focal point of Jewish religious practice since David's day was destroyed. (Location 3725)

new institutions began to take shape. (Location 3728)

the priestly elite and their tradition no longer possessed the same degree of authority and influence it had enjoyed earlier. (Location 3730)

competition for religious dominance within Judaism, (Location 3733)

The Gospels speak often of differences between the Pharisees and the Saducees, and modern scholarship has uncovered evidence of a more populist and radical group known as the Essenes. (Location 3734)

Above all, what are we to make of the biblical account of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt? (Location 3746)

regard the story as grounded ultimately in actual historical experience. In other words, at least some of Israel's early inhabitants were refugees who had fled from bondage in Egypt. (Location 3748)

premonarchic Israel—namely, the Levites. (Location 3752)

The Levites were also a religious elite, set apart by Yahweh from the rest of the people, with special duties and responsibilities. (Location 3757)

for example, we are told that Yahweh commanded members of the other eleven tribes to support the Levites by giving them a tenth of their income. (Location 3763)

rest of the population. This picture of the tribe of Levi and its distinctive and privileged status in early Israel is what we might expect if the Levites were, in fact, descended from a small group of refugees from a highly advanced society, such as Egypt, (Location 3767)

In a society of independent-minded frontiersmen, a privileged status, such as the Levites enjoyed, would, in the absence of coercive force, require some rationale, such as a legitimizing myth, and no myth could be more compelling than one involving a divine injunction. (Location 3770)

a distinctive religious faith and a distinctive history in which they took pride. (Location 3775)

would migrate to a recently settled and primitive frontier region. (Location 3785)

they would have their best chance of escaping the long arm of Egyptian authority, which still extended into Palestine. (Location 3786)

the newly settled Palestinian frontier probably offered better prospects than any alternative. (Location 3788)

namely, a compelling myth capable of forging a strong sense of collective national identity and destiny (Location 3791)

for resisting the efforts of Canaanite elites to bring the new highland settlements under their political control once these settlements became more prosperous and productive. (Location 3792)

In many agrarian societies of the preindustrial past, some slaves were well educated people, and if the biblical accounts of Joseph in Egypt, and of Moses later, have any basis in fact, the society from which the Exodus people fled was just such a society. (Location 3801)

As one who believes that societies that share similar basic attributes and are exposed to similar basic external forces tend to develop in a similar manner, I also believe that models of the development of individual societies that are based on, and grounded in, a broader theory of societal development are preferable to ones that are not. (Location 3828)

It does mean, however, that a model grounded in a general theory that itself enjoys substantial empirical support from varied sources cannot lightly be brushed aside when (Location 3832)

have both found merit in certain aspects of ecological-evolutionary theory especially the model of agrarian societies developed in Power and Privilege and in Human Societies. (Location 3842)

The rise of western European societies in recent centuries has been one of the more surprising developments in human history. (Location 3870)

Following the collapse of Roman rule early in the fifth century, western Europe entered a period that historians long referred to as "the dark ages." (Location 3877)

During this period, Europe was so weak that much of it was overrun by a succession of invaders: (Location 3880)

invaders controlled large portions of Europe for centuries before they were finally expelled; (Location 3883)

For present purposes, however, it may suffice to consider just four of the more highly regarded and widely acclaimed efforts of the past. (Location 3901)

In his analysis of the process of societal modernization, as in most of his other writings, Parsons drew heavily on ideas developed earlier by Max Weber. (Location 3909)

argued that the influence of ancient Israel and Greece was critical. Parsons referred to them as "seed-bed societies," (Location 3911)

But where Parsons's theory all but ignores the role of intersocietal struggles for power and for control of resources, Wallerstein's focuses on them, which is one of its strengths. (Location 3919)

comes close to portraying societal development in the modern world as a zero-sum game, with the gains of western societies being achievable only at the expense of the rest of the world. (Location 3921)

Chirot (1985: 181) argued that the key to the success of the West lies in its early rationalization of law and religion and in the protection that western European governments provided towns and their fragile early economies. (Location 3924)

Chirot argued that European geography was also a facilitating factor and had, in a variety of ways, enabled Europeans to accumulate a greater degree of wealth than had been possible elsewhere. (Location 3927)

In an 800-page volume entitled The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community, (Location 3934)

century. In contrast to most earlier efforts by historians and others, McNeill rejected the conventional Eurocentric perspective and adopted a global perspective. (Location 3935)

For McNeill, external forces, especially the processes of intersocietal cultural diffusion, were far more important. (Location 3937)

We can, however, learn much from accounts written by those who lived at the time, and while we cannot take these accounts at face value, they can enhance our appreciation of certain important aspects of the West's rise to power and affluence that we might otherwise overlook. (Location 3950)

By one account, New World production of precious metals during this period was ten times that of the rest of the world combined (Location 3961)

The enormous infusion of gold and silver into the economies of western Europe obviously meant a tremendous increase in the wealth of western European societies. (Location 3964)

As the wealth and purchasing power of elites increased, so, too, did their demand for goods and services. (Location 3973)

Even the lower classes benefited as opportunities for employment increased. (Location 3975)

Prices doubled, tripled, even quadrupled within a century, and as is always the case when this happens, some prospered while others were hurt. (Location 3977)

Finally, with the increasing monetization of economic transactions, merchants found it easier to calculate their costs, revenues, and profits (or losses) in a precise way. (Location 3982)

The land mass of the New World is more than thirty times that of western Europe, and it is safe to say that the value of the natural resources of the Americas exceeded the value of the natural resources then available to western Europeans by at least as much. (Location 4014)

These developments, it should be noted, were themselves largely in response to the acquisition of new resources and the increased productivity of these societies and their overseas extensions. (Location 4023)

for the economic and political development of western Europe, one needs to ask what difference it would have made if the Chinese, rather than western Europeans, had gotten to the New World first and won control of its vast resources. (Location 4038)

while the Chinese never developed the ships and navigational tools required for trans-Pacific travel, marine technology in China was not far from that level of development. (Location 4042)

Would the economic surplus have increased nearly as rapidly as it did? And (Location 4046)

Is it not even probable that the relative positions of western Europe and eastern Asia in recent centuries would have been reversed? (Location 4050)

since China had a population at least three times larger than that of western Europe at the end of the fifteenth century. (Location 4052)

By the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, those who had migrated to North America enjoyed a standard of living surpassing that of their former countrymen who remained behind in Europe (Location 4055)

This difference in levels of affluence would probably have been even greater had Europe not for so long enjoyed an enormous advantage in terms of political power and capital accumulation (both of which are essential in the development and exploitation of most natural resources). (Location 4057)

one of the questions that ecological-evolutionary theory raises is why this happened when and where it did. (Location 4074)

He said that three inventions—the mariner's compass, the printing press, and gunpowder—"had changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world" (Location 4079)

laid the foundation for a vast social and cultural revolution. (Location 4081)

Writing under the continuing spell of Weber and Marx, the latter all too often focus on developments in ideology and social organization, (Location 4083)

Acquisition of the compass was followed over the next several centuries by a series of important advances in the technology of ship-building. (Location 4089)

All of these innovations made ships more responsive, more manageable, and, therefore, safer on stormy seas. (Location 4092)

Instead, as we know, their efforts led to the startling discovery of a vast new world whose very existence had previously been unknown. (Location 4095)

Although it now appears that gunpowder was less important in the conquest than the diseases that Europeans brought with them (Location 4098)

First, two very specific sets of technological innovations, the invention and subsequent refinements of the compass and the various advances in the technology of ship-building, were essential preconditions to, and catalytic agents for, the discovery and conquest of the New World. (Location 4110)

only because the vast wealth of the Americas enormously strengthened the previously feeble linkage between hard work, frugality, and integrity on the one hand and worldly success on the other. (Location 4133)

that the discovery and conquest of the New World had the effect of validating the Protestant Ethic in a way that would not have been possible in earlier centuries (Location 4137)

it is likely that one would have emerged in some other guise as people became increasingly aware of the new economic opportunities created by the tremendous flow of wealth from the New World. (Location 4140)

In recent years, policymakers around the world (except in China) have largely ignored the influence of population growth on standards of living and quality of life. (Location 4176)

What our policymakers and their supporters fail to recognize is that the experience of the last five centuries cannot be used as a guide to policymaking in today's world or in the years ahead. (Location 4181)

No society or set of societies, is likely ever again to gain control over such vast resources at so little cost. (Location 4183)

Underseas mineral deposits are another largely untapped resource, but the technology required to extract them profitably has yet to be developed. (Location 4186)

but the technology needed for their profitable exploitation lies far in the future. (Location 4188)

Although easy gains now seem a thing of the past, substantial improvements in standards of living will still be possible. (Location 4191)

resources, technology, capital, and population. (Location 4193)

promote advances in resources and technology, growth of economic and human capital, and restraints on population growth. (Location 4194)

in more affluent societies, the primary need today is for effective controls on immigration, (Location 4196)

This variability has been especially evident among the less developed countries (LDCs) that we once referred to as the "Third World." (Location 4226)

What are the basic underlying determinants of societal trajectories of development in the modern world? (Location 4228)

is their emphasis on the cumulative nature of the process of change. (Location 4236)

significant differences between those less developed societies that entered the industrial era with an agrarian heritage and those that entered with a horticultural heritage. (Location 4240)

Historically, the invention of the plow had revolutionary consequences: It enabled humans to harness the energy of animals in the task of food production, and it enabled them to control, for the first time, the spread of weeds and restore the fertility of soils by bringing within reach of the root systems of cultivated plants the nutrients that tend to sink beyond their reach, (Location 4245)

In contrast, the Roman Empire, with its agrarian technology, appears to have had a population of 70 million at one time, and China achieved a population of several hundred million before industrialization began to make its impact felt. (Location 4253)

necessity of producing their own foods and fibers) were widespread in agrarian societies but rare in horticultural societies. (Location 4257)

clear that agrarian societies brought to the modern era many of the social and cultural resources that are essential if a society is to be competitive in the global system (Location 4263)

important, systematic, and predictable differences among industrializing societies. (Location 4266)

though there are reasons for expecting that in the longrun (i.e., a century or more) the gap will decrease. (Location 4273)

(1) current levels of economic development and rates of economic growth, (Location 4275)

(2) informational resources and levels of human capital, (Location 4276)

(3) basic demographic patterns. (Location 4276)

In other words, we will compare the predictive power of the distinction between industrializing agrarian and industrializing horticultural societies with that of a distinction between semiperipheral and peripheral societies, (Location 4278)

Obviously, the thesis that technoeconomic heritage is important in shaping current rates and directions of development in less developed nations is strengthened if one can show that it has significant effects independent of those societies' status in the capitalist world system (Location 4284)

industrializing agrarian societies should differ significantly from industrializing horticultural societies in their level of economic development. (Location 4316)

Average per capita GNP in industrializing agrarian societies is currently nearly seven times that in industrializing horticultural societies, and when the effect of outliers (i.e., atypical cases) is minimized by logging the data, more than 50 percent of the variance in per capita GNP (see R2) among less developed societies viewed as a whole is accounted for by technoeconomic heritage alone. (Location 4318)

per capita incomes in industrializing agrarian societies have been rising more than ten times as fast as in industrializing horticultural societies (2.3 percent/year vs. 0.2 percent). (Location 4321)

Measures of these resources make it clear that, as ecological-evolutionary theory leads one to expect, industrializing horticultural societies lag well behind their agrarian counterparts (Location 4364)

Vast resources are consumed in supporting large numbers of children, many of whom are unlikely ever to be employed productively. (Location 4399)

As ecological-evolutionary theory would lead one to expect, industrializing agrarian societies have long had much larger urban populations than industrializing horticultural societies (Location 4403)

In the short run, however, overly rapid growth of urban populations tends to be a source of all kinds of social problems, especially political instability. (Location 4429)

Specifically industrializing horticultural societies were predicted to have (1) lower levels of technological and economic development, (2) lower rates of economic growth, (3) more limited informational resources, and (4) less favorable demographic patterns than their industrializing agrarian counterparts. (Location 4531)

that todays less developed societies are a homogeneous group except for secondary characteristics and develop mentally unimportant idiosyncratic differences. (Location 4538)

Moreover, to our surprise, several lines of evidence suggest that the importance of the variables in our model may still be increasing rather than declining, as one would expect in the case of variables that reflect conditions in the past. (Location 4546)

sought to establish a radically new kind of social order, one in which all of the more serious evils of existing societies would be eliminated and societal resources redeployed so that freedom, equality, justice, and affluence would be the birthright of every human being. (Location 4589)

they would not only eliminate such behaviors, they would also rid society of the many evils that flow from them: exploitation, oppression, inequality, poverty, crime, alcoholism, alienation. (Location 4599)

On the other hand, if one stepped back and viewed these two sets of societies in broader historical and comparative context, the differences between them seemed less striking and the similarities more impressive. (Location 4629)

The most egalitarian societies were those with the least advanced technologies, while those with the greatest inequalities in power and privilege were ones with much more advanced technologies (Location 4650)

In a discussion titled "Technological Determinism?" I stated that ecological-evolutionary theory takes a probabilistic, not a deterministic, approach to the role of technology in social change. (Location 4657)

it is doubtful that the democratic movement would have succeeded without the technological contribution of the Industrial Revolution. (Location 4675)

Both Communist and non-Communist societies are moving toward a more balanced type of economy in which both market and command will play important roles. (Location 4692)

Todor Zhikov, we learned that during his years in power he acquired no less than thirty homes as well as a yacht that was later sold for $1.85 million, and that he and other top Party leaders had accumulated millions of dollars in secret foreign bank accounts (Location 4710)

Reports released by Soviet authorities during the Gorbachev era indicated that, for years, at least 20 percent of the population had been living at or below the official poverty level (Location 4728)

Despite all this, it still appears that the level of economic inequality in Marxist societies never was as great as that in most non-Marxist societies. (Location 4731)

Moreover, passing accumulated wealth on to succeeding generations was more difficult in Marxist societies than elsewhere, as the experience of the Brezhnev family and others reminds (Location 4734)

we know that the economies of these societies bad been stagnating for a long time and that much of the population had grown disaffected and hostile. (Location 4742)

(1) undermotivation of ordinary workers, and (2) misdirected motivation of managers, bureaucrats, and other decisionmakers. (Location 4750)

More recently the political and economic crisis that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union appears to have had its origins in a process of wage leveling initiated by Brezhnev. (Location 4780)

saw the unattractive aspects of human nature as merely products of corrupting social institutions that could all be eradicated by the elimination of those institutions. (Location 4783)

Finally, they learned that there were only minimal rewards for reinvestment in plant and for technological innovation. (Location 4824)

Those societies that are commonly referred to as "capitalist," have, in reality, very mixed economies.12 (Location 4858)

If the assumptions concerning human nature that undergird ecological-evolutionary theory are correct, debates over the proper allocation of the economic product will almost certainly continue indefinitely in democratic societies, since what appears equitable from the perspective of one person or group commonly appears less than equitable from the perspective of others. (Location 4867)