【经济学人】狩猎采集经济学 | 2017.7.20 | 总第969期

摘要: 采集经济经过1000多万年的发展,到大约200万或300万年前(或认为400-500万年前),便难以为继

导读

采集经济经过1000多万年的发展,到大约200万或300万年前(或认为400-500万年前),便难以为继了。一方面,人口逐渐增加,对野生植物资源的需求逐年加大,对野生植物资源的破坏也逐年加剧,形成恶性循环,终于导致采集经济危机,仅靠采集植物已难以满足不断增长的人口的生活需要。于是人们被迫在长期山林生活中积累起来的与野兽作斗争的经验的基础上,开始学习肉食和狩猎。最初可能捡食一些残剩的动物尸体,捕食一些昆虫之类等等,随后开始有意识地进行狩猎,在狩猎的过程中逐渐改进工具,最后终于学会了制造石器和用火。 

Hunter-gatherer economics

狩猎采集经济学

Living off the land

以土地为生

Jul 20th 2017

Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen. By James Suzman. Bloomsbury; 297 pages; $29.

《不盈余的富足:布须曼人正在消失的世界》。 詹姆斯·苏兹曼(James Suzman)著。Bloomsbury出版社;297 页;29美元。


IN JANUARY 1488, Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese explorer, rounded Africa’s southern cape and put to shore to take on food and water. There he found a group, smaller and lighter-skinned than the other Africans he had encountered, who, mystified by the odd men appearing out of the infinity of the sea, chased them back to their boat under a hail of arrows.

1488年1月,葡萄牙探险家巴尔托洛梅乌·迪亚士绕过非洲南部的海角,靠岸补充食物和淡水。在这里,他发现了一个部落,这个部落的人比他之前遇见的非洲人都要瘦小而且肤色较浅。他们对大海尽头来的怪人们诧异不已,并用如雨的弓箭把这些外来者赶回了小船上。


The exchange, notes James Suzman in his new book “Affluence Without Abundance”, was a meeting of two distant branches of the human family tree: Europeans descended from ancient tribes that migrated out of Africa, and people commonly known as the San, who had called southern Africa home for at least 150,000 years. Just as important, the meeting represented the collision of humanity’s most ancient and durable form of economic organisation with its most powerful. The latter, wielded by Europeans, has dominated the half millennium since that scrape on the beach. But modern capitalist societies may have something to learn from the ways of their ancient forebears.

詹姆斯·苏兹曼在他的新书《不盈余的富足》中描写了这次文明交流,人类演化中两条相隔万里的支系在这里碰面:欧洲人来源于从非洲迁徙出来的古代部落,而被称为萨恩人的这群人在过去至少十五万年里都居住在非洲南部。同样很重要的是,这此碰面是人类最原始、最持久的经济组织与人类最强大的经济组织的碰撞。由欧洲人构建的后者,自船只靠岸以来500年里都占绝对优势。但是现代资本主义社会或许能从他们先民的生活方式中学到什么。



Mr Suzman is an anthropologist who has spent years studying the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert: a San people related to those who greeted Dias on the beach, some of whom maintain the hunting and gathering lifestyle that sustained them for 150 millennia. But “Affluence Without Abundance” is not simply a description of Bushman life. Mr Suzman deftly weaves his experiences and observations with lessons on human evolution, the history of human migration and the fate of African communities since the arrival of Europeans. The overarching aim of the book is more ambitious still: to challenge the reader’s ideas about both hunter-gatherer life and human nature.

苏兹曼先生是一个人类学家,他多年来研究在卡拉哈里沙漠上的布须曼人。布须曼人与在海滩边遭遇迪拉兹的萨恩人有亲缘关系,他们中的一些人保留15万年来的狩猎采集的生活习惯。但苏兹曼的这本书不仅仅是简单描述布须曼人的生活。他熟练地将他的经历和观察与人类进化史、迁移史和自欧洲人到来之后非洲社会的命运结合在一起。这本书的首要目的更是雄心勃勃:是为了挑战读者对依靠狩猎和采集的生活模式和对人类本性的固有想法。


Life spent hunting and gathering, while occasionally trying, was not a tale of constant toil and privation. Food could run short during droughts or annual lean periods, but reliance on a broad range of food sources typically afforded such tribes a reliable, well-balanced diet.(读者试译) Even around the arid Kalahari food is plentiful (at least when the tribes are not forced to share the land with farmers and ranchers)—so much so that the typical adult need work less than 20 hours per week.

(期待您的翻译,明天会有针对这句话的长难句解析哟~)即使在干旱的卡拉哈里沙漠上食物也很充足(至少部落不会被要求与农民和牧场主分享土地)食物充足到典型的成年人每周只需要工作时间少于20小时。


The contrast with farming societies, which dominated history after the domestication of plants and animals about 10,000 years ago, is stark. Farmed land is more productive, which allowed the more populous farmers to push hunter-gatherers off all but the most remote or inhospitable land. But farming societies depend heavily on a few staples, leaving them poorly nourished and vulnerable to crop failure. That high productivity also took endless, mind-numbing work: to prepare and tend the fields, keep up the homestead and defend the surpluses needed to feed everyone from one harvest to the next.

这和自一万多年前开始畜养牲畜和种植农作物的农耕社会的差异是显著的。耕种过的土地更高产,这使得人口方面占优势的农民可以将游牧民族驱赶出他们的领土到一些荒无人烟难以居住的地方去。但是农耕社会严重依赖一些农产品,这导致他们容易营养不良,并且对收成不好无能为力。而高生产力需要无休止的、相当疲劳的工作才能保证:准备并看管土地,维护家宅还要保证有盈余可以让每个人从一个收成到另一个收成之间都有饭吃。

  • Domestication:n.驯养,教化

  • Stark:adj.显著的

  • Populous:adj.人口稠密的,人口多的

  • Hunter-gatherers:多指原始社会

  • Staple:n.主要产品

  • Mind-numbing:糟糕到令人脑袋麻木的

  • Homestead:家宅,宅地

Mr Suzman argues that the dramatic cultural shift resulting from the adoption of agriculture gave rise to impulses that people in modern rich countries, the heirs of farming societies, regard as naturally human—especially the insatiable desire to accumulate. Farming teaches people to accept inequality and to valorise work. But for the vast majority of human history there was little point in accumulating, since most of what was needed could easily be got from the surrounding environment. Nor was there anything heroic about work; spending time getting more food than one could eat was a foolish waste.

苏兹曼先生认为这种源于农业社会而形成的明显的文化转变会产生一种想法,即在现代发达国家——农耕社会的继承者,会认为囤积是人类本性。农耕教会人们接受不平等并为工作标价。但是在人类历史的大部分时间里囤积并无太大意义,因为人们需要的大多数东西周围的自然环境都可以轻易提供。工作也并无甚英雄主义意味,因为花费时间获取一个人吃不完的食物是一种愚蠢的浪费。

  • Impulses:n.凭冲动行事

  • Insatiable:adj.贪得无厌的,无法满足的

  • Heroic:adj.有英雄气概的


Modern San struggle to cope in a market economy, thanks to this heritage (and to anti-San bigotry). Employers struggle to keep them on the job: offered higher wages they work fewer hours rather than more. Yet Mr Suzman also reckons, after years of studying the Bushmen, that a world in which people work and worry less is possible. Humanity spent many more thousands of years living that way than working its fingers to the bone, after all.

现代萨恩人挣扎着适应市场经济都要怪这一传统想法(以及反萨恩的偏执)。雇主们也挣扎于让他们继续工作:提供了更高的工资,他们却工作更少的时间而不是更多。但是萨兹曼先生在经过对布须曼人多年的研究之后,也同意减少人们工作量和担忧的世界是可以存在的。毕竟,人类无忧无虑生活的时间比现在吃苦卖力工作的生活多了好几千年。

  • Cope:v.处理,对付

  • Bigotry:n.偏执,顽固

  • Reckon:v.估计,预算

It is a nice idea. But Mr Suzman’s recounting of recent history makes clear that modern life is like riding a bicycle, in which stopping means toppling over. Having created countless problems by turning to agriculture, rich societies have little choice but to press on: working, striving and inventing, even as this progress creates more problems in need of solving.

这是个不错的想法。但是苏兹曼先生对于近代史的叙述清楚地表明现代生活就像骑自行车,如果停下来就意味着跌倒。由于转向农业而产生了数不清的问题,发达国家别无选择只能坚持工作、努力和发明,即使这一进步产生了更多需要解决的问题。

  • Topple over:颠覆


翻译 ▍下罗小柜员,迟暮,Bibobibo,陌上

审核 ▍白夜叉

图文编辑 ▍澜意

责任编辑 ▍毛毛

Try to translate 

Life spent hunting and gathering, while occasionally trying, was not a tale of constant toil and privation. Food could run short during droughts or annual lean periods, but reliance on a broad range of food sources typically afforded such tribes a reliable, well-balanced diet.

Put Chinese below

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