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Paleo Diet People Alert: Grains Blamed for the Rise of the State

1 min read

Interesting new academic theorizing on the foundation of the state that adds a new wrinkle to mysociological observation that the paleo diet is sweeping the libertarian movement.

In a paper called “Transparency, Appropriability and the Early State” (an earlier version of which was published by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research last year), Joram Mayshar, Omar Moev, and Zvika Neeman argue that:

The emergence of the state is commonly associated with the increase in productivity that accompanied the Neolithic Revolution. The standard argument is that the transition from foraging to agriculture created food surplus, and the availability of surplus facilitated through various channels the advance of an elite that did not engage in food production, leading ultimately to the emergent state. We argue that this explanation is deeply flawed. The protracted rise in productivity during the Neolithic period by itself could not have generated any surplus, since population size would have adjusted endogenously to prevent its creation.


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