Are modern humans "domesticated"?

That is, has there been a selective effect on human behavior caused by 10,000 years of agriculture and 5000 years of civilization? Are we more likely to meekly submit to authority? Less likely to be nomadic? Is the willingness to work day after day at boring tasks with no immediate reward something no one had 20,000 years ago? Are criminals possibly throwbacks to a time when no one answered to anyone but their immediate superior? Are we as different mentally from our Cro-Magnon ancestors as dogs are from wolves?

I supose you could test that by doing a personality analysis on a sample of Egyptians (assuming they’ve been farming and civilizing the longest) and some hunter gathers in New Guinea or somewhere else who have never farmed (if such a group exists).

Any idea how long it takes to make a good bow and a set of arrows?

Bad analogy. Dogs represent the descendents of a very small population of wolves from a small geographic area (most likely Eastern Asia) that became domesticated. People spread out all over the globe long before agriculture was invented anywhere. Human evolution and wolf-to-dog evolution have taken very different paths. There would be no reason to expect similar results.

Think of it in these terms- a hunter-gatherer gets to keep the bow and set of arrows, and he know there is a purpose to his task- mainly, obtaining food that has the ability to run away.

Now, consider someone who is stuck in a room, day after day, performing one aspect of making the bow and arrows, say, stripping the bark from the wood used to make them, or straightening the sticks… at the end of a week of doing this, he and his hundred or so coworkers have produced 500 bows and sets of arrows, and each of them is given an amount of food or trade goods that is of considerably less value than what one good a bow and a set of arrows can be traded for.
Not really sure our ancestors would have sat still or that.

I think they would probably say the Cro-Magnon equivalent of “screw this”, kill their boss and trade the bows and arrows on their own.

So, you’re saying Cro-Magnon’s would act like Marxist?? :confused:

And of course no one in the modern world does that either. Clearly if they were capable of making considerably more money working by themselves they would.

I assume you are refferring to the concept of using thrid world labour for production. Of course all those people know that they could not make those goods on their own, and even if they could they know that they could not afford to get them to their markets. So they are not getting paid less than what the product would be worth if they sold it.

Can you give us a rea life exmaple where people make things in a factory that they would be able to make individually and sell for higher prices net than their wages?

First of all, my hypothetical Cro-Magnons were not making their products individually. They were working as a group on a primitive factory basis. Also, I never said that the bows and arrows were netting more than the workers’ wages. I said that they were being sold for more than the workers’ wages, a not unreasonable proposition if sweatshop labor was being used to manufacture high-end products (and I don’t imagine that a well-made bow complete with a bunch of arrows would be a cheap item in a hunter-gatherer society.)

If our society was tribal, rather than having a governmen that would protect he interests of the factory owners, but we still had all the machinery of modern manufacture, well…

I worked many years ago at a wire-harness assembly plant for minimum wage. There was no such thing as a merit raise- we got a dime an hour raise every four months we worked there. After five years, and learning to do nearly every job in the plant, my per-hour value as a worker was $4.75. If the people who worked there in my hypothetical tribal society had risen up, killed our boss, and declared independence from the foriegn tribe that owned the plant, and then divided the profits up equally among ourselves, the lot of us would have moved from abject poverty into the middle class. Since the infrastructure was already in place to get our products to market, we would simply have told the John Deere Tribe that they would be buying the wiring harnesses for their lawn and garden tractors from the Assembly Tribe of South Bend, IN, rather than our former overlords the Wealthy Business Tribe of Fargo, ND.
RandomLetters, no, I’m saying that Marxists would act like Cro-Magnon

I would say to a certain extent “yes”. The average American is an overweight couple with 2.4 kids making $40k a year. They are content to travel back and forth between a generic suburb and a cubical in an office park in their Ford Taurus. They want nothing to disturb their generic lifestyle and are perfectly happy to wallow in mediocrity until they retire at 65 and die shortly thereafter. These people do pretty much what they are told. They go to the schools they are supposed to, get the grades they are supposed to (good, but not too good), get the job they are supposed to, and get married when they are supposed to (around 25 or so, kids at 28). For all practical purposes, they are as domesticated as an eager to please Laborador.

On the other hand, there are always a significant number of people who say “screw the system”. When this energy is used positively, you end up with entrepreneurs and business leaders. These people, when successful, can actually become so powerful that the redifine the system.

When a “screw the system” attitude is not backed by actual talent or ability to effect change, or if it is caused by a failure of the system, it can lead to criminal behavior.

Except that you have fallen into the standard trap of the lower classes. There is more to a business than the day to day tasks of the drones. If you destroy the controls that manage the operations of the business (ie kill the managers), you no longer have a connection between the market that demands your products and the mechanisms for producing (I think back to my idiot secretary who thinks she can “run the business” because she knows all the paperwork). Unless you simply want to divide the spoils, at some point new managers will need to rise up and take control in oder to get things going again. You see, the John Deere Tribe might not want to buy your wires because they don’t know you. They knew the WBTofF. The WBTofF was able to deliver on time and for a predictable price. The ATofS might be too unstable to do business with.
And by the way, our ancestors would sit still for it because they obviously did at some point. People do what they have to to survive. While traveling around and hunting might seem all free and romantic, there is a great deal of uncertainty. I’m sure many of our ancestors starved. At some point, they figured out that more mundane tasks like farming would provide a more stable food source and we’ve continued to move in the direction of repeatability and efficiency ever since.

No, friend. More like 1.6.

The people whom you speak of hide in the bubble world from the reality they fear. These people do pretty much what they are told. They are about to disappear.

There is a box in your living room that makes moving pictures and sounds. You have recieved about 30-70% of what you think you know about life from it. It raises most children nowadays. And those who weild it’s power can do very, very drastic things to our minds.

<font color = cyan>If the people who worked there in my hypothetical tribal society had risen up, killed our boss, and declared independence from the foriegn tribe that owned the plant, and then divided the profits up equally among ourselves, the lot of us would have moved from abject poverty into the middle class.</font>

Only because you stole all the assets that now make you middle class.

At all times you lacked the capital to set up a factory on your own no matter what your skills may have been. You were only getting paid less than the goods were worth because were effectively leasing the assets required to produce the goods, as well as the negotiating power that mass production gave you. The shortfall you perceive only existed because, unlike your initial example of the cavemen, you could not produce even one single harness on your own. That isn’t in any way similar to your original analogy. None of the people in that plant had the ability to manufacture anything at all on their own. They were totally and uttlerly dependant on the capital invested by the factory owner.

Of course you can steal all his starting capital, and all the capital acccrued over the years. You can then invest that capital to make more money. You can do that by retaining the factory and continuing to work there, or you can liquidate and buy stocks. Either way the truth remains the same. You have not become middle class because of your skills. You were only able to become middle calss through theft.

This isn’t at all a ‘Cro-Magnon equivalent of “screw this”, kill their boss and trade the bows and arrows on their own’. It’s a cro-magnon equivalent finding someone who owns a dozen bows and arrows, then killing him and stealing the goods. And all when done by a cro-magnon who has no capability at all of making even one bow.
This isn’t some wondrous economic reform based on natural law. It’s basic theft based on no law.

It’s not an example that modern humans submit too meekly to authority. It is an example of humans submitting to one of the most basic laws: don’t murder and rob your clansmen. Even cave,men had to submit to that law.

This is not an example of working for no immediate reward. It is an example of working for a very immediate reward: the ability to use someone else’s assets to produce capital which is of benefit to you.

I’m sorry thea logica but as an analogy it falls down at just about every stage.

You make it sound as if humans are meek and obedient for no reason whatsoever… society is built in a way to punish those that don’t play along. If the system benefits the rich or itself is of course debatable up to a point.

If Mr. John Doe factory worker quits his job and decides to do nothing… he will be in abject poverty pretty quick. If he decides to “fight the system” and not work within it he will be going against the police.

Humans are what keep other humans in check... without societal control or economic necessities I feel most humans are not domesticated... we are conditioned. Though of course we are social animals. Even indians live in tribes and have rules.

Are you saying that you think this situation is rooted in genetic changes to humans that occured in the last 5,000 - 10,000 yrs? That is what the OP is suggesting. The rest of your post talks about cultural issues, not biological issues. Are you sure you agree with the OP even if just “to a certain extent”?

No more so than did my hypothetical Cro-Magnon tribe.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that I could have. I know how to use tools. I probably could have acquired the materials to make a harnes and, with probably several hours of effort, assembled a functional wiring harnes. What I and my coworkers lacked was the resources for mass production.

As was my hypothetical Cro-Magnon tribe. They would not have had the resources to mass produce bows and arrows without their boss supplying the raw materials, what with the being busy with the hunting and gathering.

No, we can steal, if that’s the word you want to use, the means of mass-producing bows and arrows.

We have become middle class because of saying “screw this” and taking the profits of the fruit of our labor for ourselves rather than allow the Wealthy Business Tribe to take it. So, yes we did become middle class through our skills. We are the ones making the wiring harnesses, see?

I’ve already addressed this. I won’t repeat myself.

It’s the same law by which the Cro-Magnon killed their boss and took the bows and arrows for themselves. I never said it was a wondrous economic reform.

No it isn’t. The Wealthy Business Tribe of Fargo, ND were a foriegn tribe becoming rich from the value added to the raw materials by the Assembly Tribe’s labor, while the Assembly Tribe who added that value were scraping out a subsistance level existance.

Which is exactly what my hypothetical Cro-Magnon tribe was doing.

But this domestication is just a cultural, not biological quality. If you were to kidnap the infant children of this hypothetical American couple and give them to say, the !Kung hunter-gatherers of southern Africa to raise, then these kids would become as independent as !Kung children (who are so independent that eight-year olds will move into a relative’s house on their own if they get into a bad argument with their parents). Agricultural societies tend to emphasize the “ears open and mouth shut” philosophy, whereas hunter-gatherers tend to value independence and individualism more.

Actually, that’s how the !Kung used to be. There are no pristine hunter-gatherer groups anymore, and the !Kung today are already sedentary and practicing agriculture and herding.

Actually, Cro-Magnons (who were anatomically modern humans) probably didn’t have bosses in the first place. Or chiefs, or leaders who gave commands that had to be followed. True hunter-gatherers live in cultures that don’t really have bosses. They have people they respect who make suggestions, and because of that respect the suggestions will probably be followed, but each member of the band would be well within his or her rights to tell this “chief” to stick it somewhere where the sun don’t shine.

There’s evidence that early agriculture was a lot less productive and provided less nutrition than hunting and gathering, and that people switched to agriculture only because they were forced to in order to survive (probably there was a drought or famine that cut back wild food supplies, forcing people to grow their own food). But agriculture did give more stable food supplies, which meant people could have more children (h-gs tend to have relatively few children, maybe 3 or so, and giant families of 10 or more kids only came about with agriculture).

Of course, 1000 ill-fed agriculturalists still outnumber 200 well-fed and healthy hunter-gatherers, and eventually the h-gs either died out or converted to agriculturalism to survive.

Here’s the rub: Simple self bows require far less in the way of front-loaded overhead and infrastructure to produce. The difference between a Chevy and an arrow is that somebody can have all the skills to make a Chevy, a simple hand tool or three, and piles of the raw minerals around and be utterly unable to make the Chevy–you need the industrial infrastructure.

On the other hand, any good bowyer who has raw materials and a simple hand tool or three has all he needs to do the task. Infrastructure requirements are far different. A factory that rises up in revolt finds itself out of business. Nobody will ship raw materials to them. They can’t get replacement parts for their machines.

This is not just hypothetical. There are accounts of this very thing occuring during the colonial era of North America.

. I think you could make the Chevy. Of course, if you had to smelt your own iron, then hammer it into shape, etc., it would probably take you a year or five to put a single car togethe, but you could make the Chevy. The situation would be made less complex if you lived just up the stream from a tribe of folks who had gotten good as smelting iron, though. You could maybe trade them some nice jewelry you made out of seashell beads you traded those antelope skin rugs with the tribe by the ocean for.

This would certainly be true in a modern capitalistic economy. But I was thinking in terms of a communistic tribal economy with more sophisticated tools. In that sort of economy, the tribe that was providing the raw materials would probably find it in their interests to continue to do business with my Assembly Tribe. They would know that if they didn’t continue to trade their smelted iron for whatever nifty trade goods we could provide them with, there would be a distinct possibility that we might come over the hill with our weapons and take it from them.

You’re right, that’s an even better example that “domestication” is a pretty meaningless term when speaking of humans. And also note that there are even far more examples of the reverse – the children of hunter-gatherers who are raised as agriculturalists, successfully living according to an agricultural society. Even hunter-gatherer adults are good at adopting the agriculturalist lifestyle, illustrating that whatever human “domestication” is, it is something that can be learned.

They never would have made a factory in the first place.

Likewise, just what evidence do you have that an automobile assembly line worker knows how to smelt steel, build silicon chips and transistors, etc. all from scratch?