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Old 10-31-2009, 06:42 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by chuckm View Post
But why would cultural evolution favor urbanism over nomadism? If nomadism provides better life and health, why didn't that lifestyle come to dominate modern human populations?
Remember that we're talking about quality of life - or at least I am - and especially QOL for the average individual. The advantage of cities is that they allowed more specialization, but that came at a cost. For every Socrates or Plato, you had maybe ten thousand helots (and a thousand soldiers to keep them in line). So you had a few, up at the top of the pyramid, developing the arts of civilization and enjoying a pretty decent lifestyle. Average their QOL out with those down at the bottom, and it's not such a pretty picture at all.

When we get to dominance, it's those armies again. The top of the urban pyramid has those soldiers keeping the helots in check, so they might as well use them - and all the other arts - to go out and dominate some nomads. Besides, the helots tend to wear out rather quickly, so it helps to acquire a fresh supply every now & then.
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