‘The idea that hard work needs to be rewarded is a farmer’s view. The claim that “we’re all in this together” is hunter-thinking’
In the early 1980s, the anthropologist Hilly Kaplan visited Paraguay to study a hunter-gatherer tribe called the Aché. He found a moral code that, by western standards, seemed too good to be true: Aché hunters shared with open hands, giving away 90 per cent of their meat and 80 per cent of the grubs and fruit they gathered. The Aché believed that a hunter who ate his own kill would be cursed.
As the years passed, Kaplan saw this sharing culture disappear. The rainforest was being hacked back, so the Aché found that foraging would no longer sustain them. They put down roots – literally – and began to farm. And as they started farming, they stopped sharing.
Published in the FT and Globes G magazine.
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