A THOUGHT FOR YESTERDAY AND TODAY
I regularly receive comments from readers, which are always welcome. Most are published, excepting those inviting readers to sex contacts (we were ‘bombed’ a few years back, hence the use of Moderation) and those that are commercial with no connection to the History of Economic Thought.
In this connection I would welcome readers passing on news of new books and articles on Adam Smith and others, which I would feature on Lost Legacy.
A recent reader from 2007 comments on my post of 20 September, 2007: “A Misleading Quotation Exposes the Ignorance of the Quoter”.
I re-post a couple of paragraphs from my original post. They encapsulate my ideas from the early days of “Lost Legacy”. I think they are still relevant.
“Those hunting societies in Europe and the Near East 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, after the last ice-age, that formed small settled societies, developed civil governments among which problems they faced was who lived where in the settlements. This required the invention of the role of private property. Without such a concept they could never have developed shepherding (Adam Smith’s second age of mankind) to solve the elementary problem of who owned which deer, sheep, pigs or cattle, and they would never have gone on to develop agriculture (Adam Smith’s third age of mankind), from which, as they say, the rest is history."
Now there may be some (I’ve certainly met a few) who regret the long run consequences of that fateful decision of individuals to abandon relying on hunting towards the end of the ice-age and starting mankind, unknowingly and unintentionally, to create the recent history of mankind as we know it. There are even some still surviving who would welcome the end of property, though they wish to retain all the appurtenances of civilisation at the same time. I admire their self-sacrifice of the lives of billions of humans, including themselves, who would never have been born if the ragged survivors of the last ice-age had reverted to hunting as many did in the rest of the world and were found in the same state they were in when the descendants of the pastoral and farming tribes found them from the 15th to the 18th century.
I had an additional thought on what happens when humans from different levels of economic and technological development find or are found by others.
These historical events did not justify nor excuse the largely abominable treatment meted out to those our predecessors who found earlier orginal societies and their peoples, including genocide, slavery, racism, social and sexual exploitation.
Should human kind ever begin to explore the Universe, I fear for the prospects of any living kind they come across. Moreover, should any living kind visit Earth, I would not expect any good news to come about as a result of their contacts with our descendants.