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Excerpt from The Myth of Human Supremacy

Walls Around Food (p. 189)

From chapter "Authoritarian Technics"

Agriculture is usually presented as the solution to food scarcity. My point here is not so much that this is not true, though it isn’t. Voluminous literature makes clear that human stature, health, and intelligence all decreased with the rise of agriculture. Diversity of diet decreased. Hunger increased. What agriculture did was allow human population to increase, by converting the entire biome to human use. It also led, as we’ve discussed, to increased militarization, increased authoritarianism, an increase in rape culture, the destruction of the biosphere, and so on. It is an authoritarian technic, and has led to ever-increasing centralized control of food supplies. Anyone can catch and eat a salmon from the stream, but the walls in the first cities surrounded not the cities themselves, but instead the grain storehouses, not protecting the cities from “raiders” (e.g., the Indigenous peoples whose land the agriculturalists were stealing), but rather the king’s grain from the hungry people who might have eaten it and thus not been dependent for their very lives upon their Supreme Leader. Controlling a people’s food supply controls them. None of this is the same as being a solution to food scarcity.