Solitary hunter-gatherers

What are the energy exchanges participated in by a single hunter-gather (no family, no companions)? This simple scenario assumes that the sustaining natural resource for an individual making it on his/her own consists of an abundant supply of large nuts (weighing approximately one ounce each). The individual can also harvest occasionally available fruit, wild salad greens, wood for building and for cooking fires, the occasional pretty pebble or semi-precious gem stone, The individual's main activity (gray box) is the daily search for food, water, and other fundamental resources. To protect against bad periods, this person saves nuts and smokes or dries other edible substances for storage. These items will not stay good indefinitely, so items may be traded for items not available locally, e.g., fish hooks, arrow heads, terracotta pots, etc. Hostile interactions with other humans may also occur since this individual may have his cache of food and other items taken from him or he, or the individual may commit predation against other humans.

sol hunter-gatherer

It may be worth pointing out that the individual under discussion here may put the products of trade and predation into his cache, and also that he may lose some or all of these items, and even lose his or her life to predation by other creatures, including other humans. The more this individual is able to accumulate, the more need there is for vigilance against predation and for security improvements to housing.

Note well the outcomes that will have great importance for economic institutions of a less primitive form, surpluses devoted to (1) gifts, (2) religious institutions, (3) trade, and (4) savings. These outcomes continue to be important in economic systems of all sizes.

We will next consider any differences that may become involved when this human forms a partnership with another human or with another animal such as a dog, cheetah, etc.Perhaps factors other than division of labor will come into play.

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Last revised 9 January 2016