Are farmers "more advanced" than hunter-gatherers?

We often view the hunter-gatherer lifestyle as "primitive," and see the adoption of farming as an "advance" over it. But James C. Scott notes that this conclusion is not obvious if we look at the cognitive skills necessary to cope in those different ways of life:

"It is no exaggeration to say that hunting and foraging are, in terms of complexity, as different from cereal-grain farming as cereal-grain farming is, in turn, removed from repetitive work on a modern assembly line. Each step represents a substantial narrowing of focus and a simplification of tasks." (Against the Grain, p. 90)

In fact, hunter-gatherers had the whole toolkit of early agriculturalists (since they were harvesting wild grains), plus tools for collecting, trapping, hunting, building weirs, netting, and more.


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