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The Darker Side of the "Original Affluent Society" Author(s): David Kaplan Source: Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol. 56, No. 3 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 301-324 Published by: University of New Mexico Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3631086 Accessed: 26/02/2009 19:59 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=unm. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]. University of New Mexico is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Anthropological Research. http://www.jstor.org THE DARKERS IDE OF THE "ORIGINALA FFLUENTS OCIETY" DavidK aplan AnthropologDy epartmenBt, randeisU niversityW, althamM, A 02254-9110 Hunter-gatherers emergedfrom the "Man the Hunter" conference in 1966 as the "original affluent society." The main features of this thesis now seem to be widely accepted by anthropologists, despite the strong reservations expressed by certain specialists inf oraging societies concerning the data advancedto support the claim. This essay brings together aportion ofthe data and argumentation in the literature that raise a number of questions about hunter-gatherer affluence. Three topics are addressed. How "hard"d oforagers work?How well-fedare members offoraging societies?And what do we mean by "work," leisure, " and "affluence" in the context offoraging societies? Finally, this essay offers some thoughts about why,g iven the reservations and critical observations expressed by anthropologists who work withf oragers, the thesis seems to have been enthusiastically embraced by most anthropologists. Hunter-gatherers are the quintessential anthropological topic. They constitute the subject matter that, in the last instance, separates anthropology from its sister social science disciplines: psychology, sociology, economics, and political science. In thatc entralp osition, hunter- gatherers are the acid test to which any reasonably comprehensive anthropologicalt heory must be applied. -Robert L. Bettinger, Hunter-Gatherers. Archeological and Evolutionary Theory (1991:v) Rousseau was not the first, nor even, probably,t he most naive. But he was the most famous in a long line of credulousp eople, stretchinga s far back as thought and as far forward,p erhaps,a s our precariouss pecies manages to survive, who seem to believe that we have left something behind that is better in every way than what we have now and that the most apt way to solve our problems is to go backwarda s quickly as possible. Inevitably, what is past is viewed as natural,w hat is presenti s unnaturala; s if the march of history, with its spreadingp lague of gadgets, had somehow distancedu s from the bodies we inhabit,f rom the functionsw e performe very day. This nostalgia is characteristicallyu ndiscriminatingT. he naive romanticso f an era often look backj ust a few decades to find theirE den, little realizingt hat the romanticso f that era also looked back, and so on, and so on. -Melvin Konner, The Tangled Wing (1983:3) Journal of AnthropologicalR esearch, vol. 56, 2000 Copyrigh?t by TheU niversityo f New Mexico 301 302 JOURNALO F ANTHROPOLOGICALR ESEARCH THE FORAGER'S JOURNEY FROM PENURY TO AFFLUENCE IN THISE SSAY I DISCUSSa chapter in the recent intellectual history of anthropology.' The chapter I have in mind concerns certain contemporaryi nterpretationso f hunter-gatherers--ora, s they are often called, foraging societies-interpretations which have gained a wide currencyw ithin as well as outside of anthropology( see, e.g., Gowdy 1994, 1997). Severalc ompellingr easonsm ake an explorationo f these issues worthyo f our time and attention.F or one thing, puttingt ogethera s accurate a pictureo f hunter-gathererass possible can, I believe, tell us somethings ignificant about the range of humana daptations,a s well as fill in an importantp iece of the puzzle aboutt he naturea nd limits of humann ature.M oreover,t he recenta ccounts that are the focus of this essay providea n illustrationo f how ideological yearnings can exert a powerful influence on how we handle ethnographicd ata. As Ernest Gellner( 1988:23) has remarkedr, eferringt o our preagrariana ncestors," Primitive man has lived twice: once in and for himself, and the second time for us, in our reconstruction." Throughoutm uch of the history of anthropology,t he way of life of hunter- gatherersh as been depicteda s an unenviableo ne: toiling from dawn to duskj ust to make ends meet; coping with a hostile and unyielding environment;h aving no leisure time to devote to cultureb uilding. M.J. Herskovits( 1952:15-16) probably spoke for most anthropologistsw hen he observed:" Thusf ood, to a South African Bushmano r a native of Tierrad el Fuego, who lives always in a state of potential hunger,i s always of maximumv alue, since it is essentialt o the maintenanceo f life itself ... there is little surpluso f energy or resourcesa vailablef or other activities than the food quest." Clearly this was a world well lost, and the transitiont o farmingw as seen by most scholars as a progressives tep in humanh istory. All this began to change in the 1960s-the timing here, as we shall see, is significant-when anthropologistss howed a renewedi nteresti n hunter-gatherers, an interest rekindled by the changing cultural milieu in which anthropologists worked as well as several quantitativelyi nformede thnographics tudies conducted in such places as ArnhemL andi n Australiaa nd amongt he foragerso f the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. These enquiries culminated in the now well-known "Mant he Hunter"c onferencei n 1966 (Lee and DeVore 1968), from which hunter- gathererse merged as the "originala ffluent society." This was not the first time that hunter-gatherersw ere characterized as "affluent."A ccordingt o the demographerst, he Caldwells, the demographerA .M. Carr-Saunderws as the fathero f the concepto f "StoneA ge affluence."I n 1922, they claim, he "expresseds cornf or the belief thatp rimitivep eople are always miserable and ill-nourished and drew evidence, as his successors were to do, from the condition of the pre-contact Australian Aborigines, calling attention to the descriptionb y Spencer and Gillen" (Caldwell, Caldwell, and Caldwell 1987:26). Then again in the 1950s, Elman Service, in courses taught at the University of Michigan and later in various of his writings (Service 1963:9, 1966:12-13), took strongi ssue with the idea thatt he life of hunter-gathererws as so dominatedb y the rigorso f sheers urvivalt hatt hey had little leisuret ime in which to engage in culture THED ARKERS IDEO FT HE" ORIGINAALF FLUENTSO CIETY" 303 building. Many hunter-gatherersh, e went on to point out (Service 1966:13), are "quite literally, among the most leisured peoples in the world." Murphy (1970:153), commenting on Service's argument, recalled that the hunting- horticulturalM undurucuo ften had to endure periods of torrentialr ain, making hunting impossible; duringt hese times they had lots of leisure, but it was leisure bought at the expense of gnawing hunger. (Is there an importantd istinctiont o be made between "leisure"a nd "enforcedi dleness"?) Service's observationsm ade one thing clear: culturald evelopmentr equiresa great deal more than idle hands. But the idea of "primitivea ffluence"i s most closely identifiedi n the literature with MarshallS ahlins, who came up with the catchy characterizationth ats eems to have stucki n people's minds;a nd it was he who marshalledt he evidence and wove it into a persuasivea rgumenti n supporto f that characterization.T2 he "affluence" thesis first appeareda s some abbreviatedc omments offered by Sahlins duringt he "Man the Hunter"c onference (Sahlins 1968a); it later appearedi n the French journal Les TempsM odernes in a somewhat longer version (Sahlins 1968b); and finally in a considerablye xpandedv ersion,i t appeareda s the openingc hapteri n the collection, StoneAge Economics( Sahlins 1972). This latterr endition,i f one judges by the frequency of citations within and outside of anthropology,s eems to have carriedt he day andh as come to representt he new enlighteneda nthropologicavl iew of hunting-gatherings ocieties. In this essay Sahlins (1972:1) arguedt hat "by the common understandinga n affluent society is one in which all people's wants are easily satisfied."( One would like to ask: By whose common understanding?A re wants the same as needs? Does Sahlins have any direct evidence of what the "wants"a re of the people he is writing about?)U nlike our own industrials ociety where wants expand indefinitely and means are limited, thereby creating a perpetual condition of scarcity, hunting-gatherings ocieties, he argues, are characterizedb y ends that are limited and means that are modest but adequate. Paradoxically,S ahlinsg oes on to assert,t his Zen strategye nables a people to enjoy "materiapl lenty"w ith what can objectively be considereda ratherl ow standardo f living. Drawingo n dataf rom a varietyo f foragings ocieties, but leaningm ost heavily on quantitatives urveysd one amongt he Arhem Landerso f Australiaa s well as the quantitativem aterialsc ollected by RichardL ee among the Dobe Bushmen of the Kalahari,S ahlins arguedt hatt hese people are able to meet theirn eeds by working at subsistence roughly 15-20 hours per week. Moreover, in some ethnographic examples, the average" workw eek" appearst o be even less thant hat.F or example, Sahlins (1972:27) quotes Woodbur on the foragingH adzao f Tanzania:" Overt he year as a whole probablya n averageo f less thant wo hoursa day is spent obtaining food." When he put together all the societal variations in work times, Sahlins (1972:34) drew the following conclusion:" Reportso n huntersa nd gathererso f the ethnological present-specifically on those in marginale nvironments-suggest a mean of three to five hours per adult worker per day in food production."A ny calculation of the time spent by hunter-gathererisn gaining a living should also include the relevanto bservationt hat these people do not work continuously;q uite the contrary,t heir efforts are "highly intermittent."W hatevert he variationi n the 304 JOURNALO F ANTHROPOLOGICALR ESEARCH number of hours per day or per week that occupy these people in subsistence activities, the fact seems to be, as Sahlins makes clear, it is considerablyl ess than the average workdayi n industrials ocieties. Hunters,w e are told, keep "bankers' hours."W hat is more, when they do work, the work that they do is not terribly taxing or demandinga nd "theirw anderings,r athert han anxious, take on all the qualities of a picnic outing on the Thames"( Sahlins 1972:30). A shortw orkw eek takenu p with not very taxingt asks means thatt hese people have a great deal of leisure time which they spend lounging about, sleeping, and sometimes visiting kin in other camps. Faced with a choice, these people have opted for leisure and rejectedt he work ethic. The Hadza,a pparentlyr epresentative of all huntersa nd gatherers,w e learn," tutoredb y life and not anthropology,r eject the neolithic revolution in order to keep their leisure" (Sahlins 1972:27). Hence, Sahlins concludes, contraryt o what is usually thought,w ith culturald evelopment, the amounto f workp er capitaa ctuallyi ncreasesa ndt he amounto f leisured ecreases. These, then, are the main elements of the original affluent society thesis. Bettinger( 1991:48), looking back on the warmr eceptiong iven the idea of hunter- gatherer affluence in anthropology, expresses surprise at how rapidly anthropologistse mbracedt he thesis, since, as he notes, the data supportingi t were "not overwhelming" (for a similar observation, see Winterhalder1 993:333). Indeed,t his essay has been prompted,i n large part,b y what can only be construed as a certain level of cognitive dissonance in the literature.O n the one hand, one frequentlyc omes across statementsc laiming that contraryt o what was formerly thought,a nthropologistsh ave now shown thath unter-gathererasr e able to achieve a life of relative abundancea nd ease with not much effort. At the same time, a number of anthropologists, especially those who are specialists in foraging societies, have expressed rathers trong reservationsa bout the sweeping natureo f the "hunter-gatherearf fluence"c laim, as well as criticized majorp ortions of the data used to supporti t. What has been the fate of the idea of hunter-gatherearf fluence since its early pronouncements ome thirtyy ears ago? As noted above, althougha nthropologists have voiced reservationsa boutt he thesis, few seem to have rejectedt he core claims contained in its formulation.O ne gets the impression that for many-perhaps most-anthropologists, the vision of hunter-gatherera ffluence contains some profoundi nsight into the humanc ondition,a ndt hey thereforev ery much want that vision to be true. Here are some views of specialists in hunter-gatheresro cieties concerning the staying power of the central features of the hunter-gatherer affluence idea. In an essay on the "affluents ociety" thesis, Bird-David( 1992:27) has written that "Sahlins's argument,d uly updated and reconceptualized,d oes indeed hold." In an introductorye ssay to a collection of papersf rom a conference on hunter-gatherersB, arnarda nd Woodbur (1988:11) observe that althought he "affluents ociety" thesis has come in for certainc riticisms and althought hey too have reservations,b y and large, the "cruxo f the theory has, we believe, stood up well to twenty years of additionalr esearch."F inally, Cashdan( 1989:22-23), in a review of economic researcho n hunter-gathererws ithint he last couple of decades, offers the following appraisal: THED ARKERS IDEO FT HE" ORIGINAALF FLUENTSO CIETY" 305 Hunter-gathererse,v en those living in seemingly harshe nvironmentss uch as the Kalaharia nd Australiand eserts, are able to live very well indeed by devoting only some 20 or 30 hours per week to the food quest. These findings led one participantt o dub hunter-gatherertsh e "originala ffluent society," affluent not because they are wealthy in material things, but because they are able to satisfy theirn eeds andw antsw ith comparativee ase. Although later researchh as shown this to be an overstatement,i t remains true that among many hunter-gathererss ubsistence work is intermittent, leisure time is abundanta nd nutritionals tatus excellent. Indeed, it seems then that the former anthropological stereotype of the miserable hunter-gathererc ondemned to the most meager existence has been replaced in the literatureb y the image of the "happy-go-lucky,"a ffluent hunter- gatherer. As one anthropologist (Kelly 1995:346) noted, virtually every introductoryt extbook written since the late '60s conveys the impression that hunter-gathererlsi ve "near-perfeclti ves." In the following discussion I address three issues bearing upon the original affluent society thesis. First, how hard do hunters and gatherersw ork, or, more accurately,h ow much time do they spend in making a living? (These are separate questions;t hey are often conflatedi n the literature.)S econd, how adequatei s their effort in meeting their nutritionala nd health needs? And third, I discuss some issues which have not received the attentiont hey deserve, namely, what do we mean by concepts such as "work,"" affluence,"a nd "leisure"i n the context of hunter-gatheringso cieties? I suggest that when variouse thnographico bservations andc riticalr emarkss catteredt hrought he literaturea reb roughtt ogetheri nto a more comprehensivep icture,t hen both on empiricala s well as conceptualg rounds,t he originala ffluents ociety thesis does not fare as well as the previouslyq uotedw riters would have us believe. If I am right in this assessment,t hen how are we to account for the remarkables taying power of the thesis? In this connection, I offer some thoughtsa boutt he continuinga ppealo f the affluent society thesis both within and outside of anthropology.3 FORAGERS KEP '"BANKERS' HOURS" The original formulation of hunter-gatherera ffluence leaned heavily for empiricals upporto n two time allocations tudies:o ne conductedb y F.D. McCarthy and M. McArthuri n 1948 (laterp ublishedi n 1960) among four groupsi n Arhem Land,A ustralia,a nd a second survey by RichardL ee conducteda mong the !Kung Bushmeni n 1964. As a numbero f writersh ave indicated,h owever, whethert hese investigationsc an bear the empiricalb urdenS ahlins and othersw ish to place upon them is questionable. The McCarthy-McArthurs tudy recorded hunting and gathering activity among four groups over a two-week period. However, the usefulness of the data collected variedf rom groupt o group.F or example, the dataf rom the Hemple Bay and Port Bradshawg roups, both found on the eastern Arhem Land coast, were 306 JOURNALO FA NTHROPOLOGICRAELS EARCH collected over a four-dayp eriod and were not as informativea s data on the Fish Creek group (located in the stony country near Oenpelli), which were collected over an eleven-dayp eriod.S everali nvestigatorsh ave commentedo n the "artificial circumstances"u nderw hich the data in the entire study were collected, and they have raised certainc autionaryf lags about drawinga ny general conclusions from this experiment. McArthur herself noted (1960:1-26) that all the Australian foragersh ave, in varyingd egrees,m ade the foodstuffs availablea t mission stations (e.g., flour, rice, sugar) a normalp arto f their diet and thus the participantsi n the experimenth ad to be cajoledi nto avoiding such nontraditionaflo ods. For instance, Bird-David( 1992:28) points out thatt he nine adultsw ho comprisedt he Fish Creek group were picked up at a mission station and persuadedt o participatei n the experiment.T hey became so tiredo f the "traditionald"i et thato n the fifth day of the study severalo f the men threatenedt o defect and walkedi nto Oenpellit o purchase some flour and rice. Apparentlyt hey were talked out of consuming these store- boughtf oods anda greedt o continuei n the experiment.T he pointh erei s thatw e are hardly talking about "pristine"h unter-gathererisn this study. According to the Australiana nthropologistJ .C. Altman (1984:185; see also Jones 1980:135; Caldwell, Caldwell, and Caldwell 1987:32), this study has additionald rawbacks.F irst, it was conductedo ver a shortp eriod of time making any extrapolationt o the full seasonalc ycle highly questionable.W hat is more, the demographicc omposition of the groups in the study was atypical-e.g., the Fish Creek group consisted only of adults, which means that there was no need to provide for young dependents. Whate mergedf rom this studyw as the following: at Fish Creek,t he men spent 3 hours and 44 minutesp er day in subsistencea ctivities and women spent 3 hours and 50 minutes,w hile at Hemple Bay, the comparablef igures were 5 hours and 9 minutesf or men and 5 hoursa nd 7 minutesf or women (see Altman 1984:185;a lso Sahlins 1972:14-20). Commentingo n these findings, Altman( 1984:185) observes that "by acceptingt hese data, Sahlins grossly overestimatedt he amounto f leisure time available to Aborigines in the past and that in Arhem Land at any rate affluencei s more a modem thana n originalp henomenon."E4 lsewhere,A ltmana nd Nieuwenhuysen( 1979:88-89) lay out the salient elements of the economic pattern imposed on the wanderingso f the AustralianA borigines in times past: In the traditionals etting clans were nomadic and subsistence output was eitherp erishableo r immobile.... there was a clearly defined ceiling to the demand for output. During "normal"t imes, it might . . . be possible to expendo nly a limited labouri nputa ndl eave othert ime availablef or leisure; while during abnormaly ears . . . when floods or droughts occurred the maximum available labour input would be insufficient to generate the "ceiling"o utput.O n these occasions, there would be a productions hortfall below the ceiling which might mean starvationo r a need to forage on territoriesn ormallya ssociatedw ith other clans. THE DARKER SIDE OF THE "ORIGINALA FFLUENTS OCIETY" 307 To returnt o Altman's assertiont hatt he "affluence"f ound amongt he ArnhemL and foragersi s attributableto moder conditions,K ohen (1995:119-23) reportst hati n contemporaryA ustralia,e ven so-called traditionahl unter-gatherernso w use motor vehicles, hunt with shotguns,a nd rely to some degree on store-boughtg oods such as flour and sugar. Given the above reservations,w hat are we to makeo f the McCarthy-McArthur experiment?A t the very least, one ought to be extremely cautious in basing any general conclusions on it. Sahlins, too, has "seriousr eservations"a bout drawing generalc onclusions from the ArnhemL and survey.T he artificialc onditionsu nder which the surveyw as done, the brief length of the study, and modernf eatures( e.g., metal tools) which may have influencedt he outcome of the survey,h e remindsu s, shouldm ake us wary aboutr elying too heavily or exclusively on the ArnhemL and data.H aving advancedt hese admonitions,S ahlins (1972:17) goes on to say: "The most obvious, immediate conclusion is that the people do not work hard. The averagel ength of time per personp er day put into the appropriationa ndp reparation of food was four or five hours. . . . these Australians seem to underuse their objective economic possibilities." Among contemporaryh unter-gatherersn, o group has been more investigated and more writtena boutt han the variousB ushmen groupst hat live in the Kalahari Desert of southernA frica. One anthropologist( Cashdan 1989:23) referredt o the !KungB ushmena s "them ost compelling example of a leisuredb and society."N ot surprisinglyt, herefore,t he literatureo n the Bushmenh as figuredp rominentlyi n all discussions of hunter-gatherera ffluence, and one of the centerpieces of that literaturei s the time allocation study by RichardL ee of the work patternsi n an encampmento f Dobe Bushmen over a four-week period in 1964 (see Lee 1968, 1969, 1979:254-65, 1984). Although carriedo ut under less contrived conditions thant he McCarthy-McArthusru rveyi n Australia,L ee's investigations uffersf rom some of the same shortcomings:f or example, to buttressh is argumentc oncerning Bushmen well-being, Lee would like to extrapolateh is findings from one portion of the seasonal cycle to the entirec ycle, even thoughh e is awareo f the significant difference between the dry season and the wet season (Lee 1979:254). Between August and October,w ateri s limited and food scarce (Lee's surveyw as done from July 6 to August 1). In his doctorald issertationc ompletedi n 1965, Lee (quotedb y Truswell and Hansen 1976:190) wrote that duringt his dry season, "the San must resort to increasingly arduous tactics in order to maintain a good diet, or, alternativelyt hey must content themselves with foods of less desirabilityi n terms of abundance,e ase of collecting, or nutritive value. It is during the three lean monthso f the year thatt he San life approachest he precariousc onditionst hath ave come to be associatedw ith the huntinga nd gatheringw ay of life." As the medical researchers from which the above quote is taken add (Truswell and Hansen 1976:190), during the lean months referred to above, people are forced to eat mostly roots and bulbs which have a high water content but a low caloric value. During a four-week period in the winter of 1964 (July to August), Lee kept a recordo f the time spent in subsistencea ctivity by each person in a camp of Dobe Bushmen( the encampmentd uringt he four weeks variedf rom twenty-threet o forty 308 JOURNALO FA NTHROPOLOGICRAELS EARCH people) as well as a recordo f the weight of all meat and vegetables broughtb ack into camp. To make the !Kungs ubsistencee fforts comparablet o those of persons in industrials ocieties, Lee recordedt he times thate ach person left and returnedt o the camp-sort of comparablet o leaving for the office or shop in the morninga nd returningl ater in the day. His purpose was to discover how hard people were workingb y gettinga broadp ictureo f the ratioo f subsistencew orkd ays to days not spent in subsistence (Lee 1979:255).5( In later publications,a s we shall see, Lee enlarged his subsistence category by adding other life-sustaining activities to subsistence.) Lee's investigation revealed that what he defined as subsistence activities occupied adult !Kungf or about2 .4 days per week on the average,o r for about2 0 hours.T his ratherl eisurelyw ork schedule,i t is claimed,m anagedt o yield an abundanta nd nutritionallyw ell-balancedd iet. These findings were somewhat puzzling to some anthropologistsw ho have conducted similar investigations in similar societies. Hawkes and O'Connell (1981) observed that the Bushmen figures were one-half to one-fifth of the time requiredb y the Alyawarra,a central Australianf oraging group. They expressed some surpriseb ecause the !Kunga nd Alyawarraa re very similari n habitata s well as technology. The difference, it turned out, was explainable by Hawkes and O'Connell's definition of work: in their calculationso f work, they included time spent in processing food as well as huntinga nd gatheringi t. In his 1984 survey of life among the Dobe !Kung,L ee himself took notice of this difference.H e first notes that "thea bundancea nd varietyo f plantf ood makes it possible for the !Kung to feed themselves by an average of about 20 hours of subsistencew orkp er adultp er week, a far lower figuret hant he 40-hourw ork week we have come to accept in the industrializedc ountries.I n this chapterw e explore how this 'affluent' way of life is achieved by the !Kung in their harsh, semiarid desert environment"( Lee 1984:37). But then he reminds us that it would be misleadingt o leave the impressiont hat subsistencee xhausts the kind of work the !Kung do: "In addition there are the important tasks of manufacturinga nd maintainingt heir tool kit and, of course, housework-for the !Kungt his involves food preparation,b utchery, drawing water and gathering firewood, washing utensils, and cleaning the living space. These tasks take many hours a week" (Lee 1984:51-52).6W hen these tasks are addedt o "subsistencew ork,"t he estimatep er week is 44.5 hoursf or men and4 0.1 hoursf or women. Lee is quickt o addt hatt hese figures are well below the 40 or so hoursp er week that people in our own society spend above theirw age-paidj ob doing housework,s hopping,a nd otherh ousehold chores.W hats eems to be at issue herei s whatw e meanb y termss uch as "work"a nd "leisure"i n the context of hunting-gatherings ocieties-or, indeed, in the context of any society. But more about this shortly. One final observation concerning how "work" is handled in the anthropologicall iterature:s tatements about the effort put out by foragers will invariablye mphasizet he "time"s pent at this or that activity, usually huntinga nd gathering.B ut people in nonmarkets ocieties tend to be more task orientedt han time oriented( see Applebaum1 984:16-20);n or does the time spentf oragingt ell us very much about the danger,d ifficulty, or health hazardsi nvolved in subsistence THED ARKERS IDEO FT HE" ORIGINAALF FLUENTSO CIETY" 309 activities-all of which one supposes would have a marked influence on the undertakingo f this or thatt ask (Hawkes [1993] has arguedt hatH adza, !Kung,a nd Ache hunters will actively engage in risky endeavors as a means of gaining recognitiona nd status;s ee Silberbauer[ 1981:274-77] and note 5 in this essay for the health hazardst hat can accompanys ubsistencea ctivities). THE WELL-FED FORAGER Not only do the members of the "originala ffluent society" work at a short leisurely schedule, not only is theirw ork when they do work not especially taxing, but with this minimale ffort they are able to achieve an abundanta nd well-balanced diet. This somewhat rosy picture, however, has been questioned by a host of investigators,b oth anthropologistsa nd medical researchers.T he issue here has to do with the quantity, quality, and predictabilityo f the food resources hunter- gatherersr ely upon. Again we focus on the Bushmend atab ecause the literaturei s extensive. Truswell and Hansen (1976:189-90) cite a string of biomedical researchers who have raisedd oubtsa boutt he nutritionala dequacyo f the !Kungd iet, one going so far as to characterizeo ne Bushmen group as being a "clear case of semi- starvation."T ruswell and Hansen (1976:190-91) themselves have concluded that the data suggest "chronico r seasonal calorie insufficiency may be a majorr eason why San do not reach the same adult staturea s most other people." Lee has always disagreed with these findings, although he softened his opposition somewhat by conceding that the smallness of the !Kung might have something to do with underutrition during childhood and adolescence, and he went on to note that !Kungr aisedo n cattle posts on a Bantu diet of milk and grain grow significantly taller (Lee 1979:291). But at the same time, Lee (1979:289) reassertst he adequacyo f the !Kung diet and claims questions about their height, weight, and fatness stem from inappropriateW esterns tandardsO. n the nutritional status of the Bushmen diet, Lee is contradictedb y many of his anthropological colleagues who have also done field researcha mong the peoples of the Kalahari. For example, duringt he "Mant he Hunter"c onference Lora Marshall( 1968:94) commented:" It has been suggested that because they [the !Kung]d o not have to work everydayt hey can be said to have an 'affluents ociety.' This is a bon motbut does not addt o the understandingo f the reasons.... The !Kungw e workedw ith are very thin and . . . constantly expressed concern and anxiety about food." Harpendinga nd Wandsnider( quoted by Wilmsen 1989:305) assert that "Lee's studies of the !Kung [Zhu] diet and caloric intake have generateda misleading belief among anthropologistsa nd otherst hat !Kunga re well fed and underl ittle or no nutritionals tress." Konner and Shostak (quoted by Wilmsen 1989:305) are quite emphatict hatn utritionals tress and its healthc onsequencesa mong the !Kung are hardlyi n the eye of the beholder: Deprivationo f materialt hings, including food, was a general recollection [of Zhu adults] and the typical emotional tone in relation to it was one of

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