The Development of Agriculture and Pastoralism

6 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2016

Date Written: November 3, 2016


The ultimate cause of much historical, social and cultural change is the gradual accumulation of human knowledge of the environment. Human beings use the materials in their environment, including plants and animals, to meet their needs and increased human knowledge of the plants and animals in their environment enables human needs to be met in a more efficient manner. The plants and animals in the human environment have particular properties, caused by their genetic make-up and these properties make some plants and animals more suitable for domestication than others. Humans learnt which were the best plants to domesticate, and how to cultivate them, in a particular order with the easiest crops to domesticate being domesticated first and with agricultural techniques improving over time as human knowledge increased. They also learnt which animals could be domesticated, and how to use and control them, in a particular order with the easiest to domesticate, being domesticated first, and the harder to domesticate being domesticated later. The knowledge of how to use and control domesticated animals, improved over time, with the simplest techniques being learnt first and more complicated techniques being learnt later. The order of discovery determines the course of human social and cultural history as knowledge of new and more efficient means of meeting human needs, such as agriculture and pastoralism, results in the development of new social and ideological systems. This means human social and cultural history, has to follow a particular course, a course that is determined by the properties of the materials, such as plants and animals, in the human environment.

Keywords: domestication of plants, domestication of animals, proto agriculture, hunter gatherers discovery of agriculture, plant mutations, evolution of crops

JEL Classification: A00

Suggested Citation

Forrester, Rochelle, The Development of Agriculture and Pastoralism (November 3, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Rochelle Forrester (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics