Adam Smith and the unintended consequences of history
It is commonly believed that it is only from the Neolithic period that one can speak about the economy. Before the development of this economy of food production – based on farming and livestock rearing – the economy of hunter-gatherers – based on food procurement – is usually assumed to be limited to a subsistence economy. Our purpose is to demonstrate that even during the pre-Neolithic period, the economic activity had been already quite developed. Indeed, this period starts with the end of the last ice age and is then featured by a broad-spectrum economy, including varied food resources. Such change has induced less nomadism, increasing division of labour and human population growth. In turn, it has implied, on the one hand, trade, wealth accumulation, the implementation of property rights, including land ownership. On the other hand, it has stimulated labour productivity and human knowledge. Even if it was less developed, the pre-Neolithic economy was quite similar in nature to the Neolithic one’s. Therefore it already contained the origins of our civilization.
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