The Benefits And Negatives Of The Neolithic Revolution

The Benefits And Negatives Of The Neolithic Revolution

Was the First Agricultural Revolution really that great?
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The Neolithic Revolution was a groundbreaking event that happened at around 10000 B.C., when the earliest humans learned how to plant seeds and learned rudimentary horticulture, as well as how to domesticate animals. It was a huge stepping stone for the early humans, for it started the transition from a hunting-gathering society to an urban, agricultural society and shaped the course for the rest of human history. While it is a widely accepted fact that the Neolithic Revolution was a monumental step, and a great thing that happened in history, an opinion has started to grow among historians that the Neolithic Revolution might have actually been a mistake.

Here are some reasons why some think it was beneficial, and why some think it was a mistake.

The Benefits

1. Humans began farming.

Farming was an important step in human history because before, humans were nomadic hunter gatherers, which meant that they would hunt their food and gather fruits and berries in their surroundings. They would not stay in one place and would follow their main food source (usually animals) around. Hunting and gathering was a dangerous life to live, due to the inconsistent food source. It could take hours to track down an animal herd, and even then, the animals could always get away. When the humans started farming, however, they found a new, reliable food source that was easy and sustaining. This was a stepping stone to many of the future changes that happened because of the Revolution.

2. Humans settled down into cities.

When humans started farming, they did not have to wander the land, following the animals they used to depend on. They started to settle down near their food source and come together. Soon, they had permanent settlements with more people living together. That led to more collaboration and work between people. This was also a big step in making empires and proper civilizations later on.

3. Food surplus, specialization of labor, and new technology

When the early humans were hunter-gatherers, the entire tribe/family of people were involved in finding food. They were all part of tracking down the animals that were being hunted, skinning, roasting or another part of the process. However, when the humans started farming, they realized that they actually had an abundance of food on their hands and that it was more than they needed. This is called a surplus.

When they attained a surplus, there were fewer people needed to grow food. That left a lot of the people with free time on their hands, and they began to work on other things. Some became artisans and focused on making specific crafts to help them survive. Others became merchants and specialized in trading and selling things. And others became blacksmiths skilled in making things from metals. When people started to specialize, they invented new technologies in their respective fields. For example, after the Neolithic Revolution, humans learned how to work with bronze. They also invented the wheel. New systems of irrigation were invented to increase crop yields. Soon, instead of everyone focused on the production of food, there were many different areas in which people were working, creating a diverse environment,

The Negatives

1. Social Class Structure

Before the Neolithic Revolution, the human society was generally an egalitarian. Each person played a simple role, and they worked toward the same purpose: attaining food to survive. However, when the humans settled down and started farming, they needed someone to control who did what and how things were being made. This is where kings came into the picture.

Kings and rulers were put in charge of the allocation of resources, infrastructure development and other aspects of early civilization. However, when kings were put into power, a social hierarchy rose up with them. On top were the kings or rulers, then came the priests, then the middle-class workers, such as the merchants and the artisans followed by the peasants and then, there were the slaves. The advent of a ruler caused certain people to rise in power, and others to fall.

Also, with the surplus food the revolution created, there arose the chance for monetary gain among citizens. Some people became richer than others, and they became part of the social elite. Those who held special occupations, like artisans, blacksmiths and scribes, were right under them. Due to the surplus of food, the value of food production decreases, as did that of those who made a living off of it. They were right under the specialists. And finally, the slaves were at the bottom. The slaves were either prisoners of war from a rival village or someone who could not pay off his or her debts.

2. Gender Inequality

In the time before farming became prevalent, both genders were usually considered equal. Men and women spent their day hours looking for food and preparing it. The gender equality common in the Paleolithic society was partially due to the fact that both men and women had the same role: food gatherer. However, all that changes when societies transitioned over to an agrarian lifestyle. Women kept their roles as farmers and raised children. In contrast, men did not need to hunt anymore and left their jobs as hunters to find new, specialized jobs. Through those jobs, they gained money and power, while the women stayed home. This can be interpreted as the foundation of the patriarchal society that dominated most centuries for millions of years.


The Neolithic Revolution was one of the most important transitions man has ever made. The switch from a nomadic lifestyle of hunting for food to a sedentary agrarian society indirectly helped the early civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, and Egypt to grow and develop, thus setting the stage for everything in history that came after it. However, it also came with many negative socio-economic problems, some which we are still suffering from as of today. Whether you think that it was good or bad, it should be known that the Neolithic Transition is one of the most impactful events in history.

Cover Image Credit: Justin LaBerge/ Fotor

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Life Of A Science/Health Major As Told By The Cast Of "Grey's Anatomy"

Study. Mental breakdown. Repeat
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The science/health major is easily one of the hardest majors out there (don’t get offended math majors, we know yours is hard too.) Science/health majors include biology, pre-med biochemistry, chemistry, physical therapy, nursing, pharmacy, zoology, nutrition science, optometry, and etc. I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty proud to be amongst these majors at my university. Most of us watch Grey's Anatomy religiously (as does America), so I wanted to express our problems and the suffering we go through with the wise words of the cast of Grey's Anatomy.

1. When I looked at the syllabus and immediately felt like



2. We do not have syllabus week. We get to chapter 1 the first day after discussing the syllabus for 15 minutes. So when friends rejoice due to their chapter 1 beginning next week, I’m just like:

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3. When someone says they think that being a science/health major is easy.

4. When you have 3 exams, 4 quizzes, two lab reports, and 6 assignments in one week.

5. What it feels like when you study for days and you end up failing the exam

6. When you ask your professor what to study for the exam and they say “the book.”

7. When you and your friends get an A on the exam

8. When you don’t have enough time to eat with all the studying you're doing

9. The one true way to compliment a science major

10. After giving up your soul to finals week and still not getting the grade you wanted

11. Will there be a curve?

12. When the lab instructor explains the procedure and you still don't understand

13. After studying for 10 hours

14. Because we all deserve a drink (and shots) sometimes.

No matter the struggles we go through, deep (deeeeep) down we truly love what we do and will do once we graduate. We love Science, and can't wait to actually use this information in the future to help people! To those applying for med school, optometry school, pharmacy school, nursing school, or grad school etc, GO KICK BUTT!

Anything I missed? Have something to say? Sign up to join the Odyssey community at Saint Mary's University here and have your voice heard.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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An Open Letter To Professors Who Assign Group Work

In the classroom, there is NO strength in numbers.

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There is something to be said about the workings of a well-oiled machine. The swift cohesion of pieces working together to create a masterful finished product. Each individual part bringing its own unique gifts and interesting character together to create an impeccable arrangement of academic collaboration. It is absolutely awe-inspiring that professors dream of this sort of outcome from the random chunk of students that they forced together. So sorry to break it to you, professors, but the group project you assign in your class is not going to work like this. The final product will not be a meticulously crafted work of art. It is going to turn into a flaming disaster as your bitter students shamefully share the work they have thrown together.

Group projects are the bane of my, and most students', existence. You assign them in large lecture halls, small discussion courses, and every class in between. Most of the time you assemble the members of each group yourself, creating the saddest excuse for a team to ever grace the planet. This leaves the students no choice as to who they will be working with, which essentially makes the grade out of the individual's hand because they have no power over which random stranger will be tossed into their group. In the rare occasion that you do not assign the groups yourself, you leave the fear-stricken students to frantically gather their own clusters of people. This is just as bad because in this case students typically choose groups based on geographical location in the classroom, their seats that they chose on the first day of class and never got around to relocating.

Regardless of how they were gathered, every group project will introduce your students to a dynamic range of personalities. There is the one super intense leader that thinks this project grade is the single most important moment of their entire life, and if everyone does not commit their full selves to it they will actually burn the school to the ground. Conversely, there is the lazy, weak link; who is consistently dropping the ball on the group's shared research document and honestly none of the other group members even know what this person looks like because they skip class so ridiculously much. There is the one person who works every second of every day and can never fit your group meeting into their schedule because their nannying job is so important (this is actually a subtweet at me, my apologies to all of my past group members, I just have a really busy schedule, okay). Please, do not subject your students' grades to depend on the work of these insane classmates. A student's grade should reflect their own, individual work, group projects skew and make that impossible.

I understand that you mean well by assigning these projects. You hope to teach us how to work well with others, a valuable communicative asset in the real world. However, in the real world, there are standards for hiring at a company and if a worker does not perform well they will be fired. There are no standards for getting into my psychology class, any student with a laptop and a break in their schedule on Tuesday and Thursday mornings is welcome to join the class. There are no standards for performance either. If a student does not perform well in a group project their grade will plummet, which to my surprise does not greatly bother as many students as I thought, as does every other member of the group's grade. So unfair, so unparallel to the real world. Stop comparing your English 101 class to the real world.

Please professors, just stop with the group projects. I will happily write all of the papers, study all of the lectures, and even read all of the chapters in my textbook. Just don't make me create another Google Slides presentation with a bunch of strangers again.

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