Locke’s (somewhat Hobbesian) Second Treatise

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Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali
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    says:

    Rufus, can I just say that this is Awesome!!!Report

  2. Avatar Christopher Carr
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    A welcome return to Blogging the Canon.

    This:

    “…foraging communities typically spend considerably less time and effort in securing food than agricultural ones, and their lives tend not to be much more brutish, short, and cruel, why start farming at all? Locke’s answer is that God created man, as a rational being, to be industrious and to cultivate the land. Note, however, that the Bible tells us the life of toil and want that came with farming was God’s punishment for man’s transgressive, Promethean curiosity.”

    What is your answer?

    And is the premise that the question rests on non-trivial? Agriculture allows for specialization, which allows for positive utility gains for the society.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Christopher Carr
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      What is your answer?

      I’m hoping Mike Farmer weighs in on this one. The best I can come up with is that there’s a human instinct for possessing things close at hand and agriculture satisfies that drive.

      And is the premise that the question rests on non-trivial? Agriculture allows for specialization, which allows for positive utility gains for the society.

      That’s interesting. Would the first farmers have thought any of that? Locke might have thought so, but he was definitely aware of existing tribes that had not made the choice. It’s just hard to guess why people made the switch, although we know it was monumental when they did.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Rufus F.
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        I imagine it’s not a choice at all. I almost agree with the Marxists that agriculture was probably forced upon quasi-slaves. But whatever light we read the dawn of agriculture in, it eventually doesn’t matter whether societies chose agriculture or not, since agriculture allowed for specialization (specifically proto-engineers and proto-soldiers) so that agricultural societies out-competed hunter-gatherers.

        That is, I’d argue for thinking of agriculture development as a random mutation.Report

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