The Dawn of Everything Review: No Evolution in Sight

This very sound review of the Dawn of Everything points out many of its flaws. First, it starts rather late in the hunting-gathering era, focusing on Europe in 40,000 BCE rather than Africa, where hunting and gathering began. Second, and surprising for an anarchist, the author  argues that private property and the state have always existed. This challenges all of what social evolution has taught us for the last 60 years. Thirdly, it ignores any materialist explanation about why societies change whether it be geography, ecology or social class. For the authors, participatory democracy and general assemblies can appear at any time in history. It is  just a matter of political will. Lastly, the authors conflate the Social Darwinism of the late 19th century with the evolutionary anthropology that has been prevalent over the past 60 years. Social Darwinists viewed social evolution as progress. Evolutionary anthropologists like Marvin Harris say social evolution is driven by population pressure and resource depletion.
There are far better books about social evolution than this one, such as Kent Flannery’s and Joyce Marcus’ book, The Creation of Inequality.
Read in MR Online

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