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Second Nature: Economic Origins of Human Evolution [Paperback]

by Haim Ofek
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

November 19, 2001 0521625343 978-0521625340 1
This book spans two million years of human evolution and explores the impact of economics on human evolution and natural history. The theory of evolution by natural selection has always relied in part on progress in areas of science outside of biology. By applying economic principles at the borderlines of biology, Haim Ofek shows how some of the outstanding issues in human evolution, such as the increase in human brain size and the expansion of the environmental niche humans occupied, can be answered. He identifies distinct economic forces at work, beginning with the transition from the feed-as-you-go strategy of primates, through hunter-gathering and the domestication of fire to the development of agriculture. This highly readable book will inform and intrigue general readers and those in fields such as evolutionary biology and psychology, economics, and anthropology.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ofek's book is in fact remarkable because it gives interesting, exhausting and insightful answers to old problems and, at the same time, it provides a new way to approach human evolution from the economic viewpoint. I hope it will stimulate the research on the economics of prehistory." Economic History Network

"...the boldness, coherence, and sweep of the book are impressive...Ofek has good and highly persuasive ideas about his main concern, which is the importance and centrality of economic analysis from an early point in human evolution...Second Nature is an exhilarating and interesting read that raises powerful questions about how humans got here and how we should be studied." Science

"...Ofek's book is in fact remarkable because it gives interesting, exhausting and insightful answers to old problems and, at the same time, it provides a new way to approach human evolution from the economic viewpoint." Joao Ricardo Faria, EH.NET

"Ofek makes several interesting connections between economics and biology." Nature

"Ofek sythesizes an enourmous range of research on human origins to advance to key role of exchange of goods and services in the evolution of distinctively human species.... This superb book seems poised to be a touchstone for work in prehistory and human origins for the forseeable future; essential for all academic libraries; highly recommended for others." Choice

Book Description

Was exchange an early agent of human evolution or is it merely a de novo artifact of modern civilisation? Spanning the last two million years, Haim Ofek explores the possible impact of economics on human evolution, prehistory and natural history. He identifies distinct economic forces at work, beginning with the transition from the feed-as-you-go strategy typical of primates to the development of agriculture and the domestication of fire. This readable book will inform and intrigue general readers and those in fields such as evolutionary biology and psychology, economics, and anthropology.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521625343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521625340
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,145,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely interesting, to say the least. April 27, 2003
Format:Paperback
To put it in a nutshell, quoting from Alexander J. Field, Haim Ofek "argues that humans were selected for exchange, and that both the harnessing of fire, and the development of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, were dependent on a previous selection for exchange".
In any event, I would like to add that this work reminds me of Morris Berman's "Wandering God: A Study in Nomadic Spirituality", in the sense, that, both books treat plenty of issues which, although instrumental to defend their respective thesis, are so interesting that, even if you do not agree with their authors, they make well worth it reading them.
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