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Why Cities?

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Published on Sep 19, 2017

In which John discusses the agricultural revolution, the development of permanent settlements, and whether cities were good news. SOURCES BELOW.
Hank is publishing a novel next year! https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/bo...
But before then, we are going on tour to celebrate my new novel, Turtles All the Way Down: http://www.turtlesallthewaydownbook.c...

SOURCES:

Hunter-gatherers have less famine than agriculturalists: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.or... This gets into some of the archeology and analysis of human remains that indicates that hunter-gatherers lived on average longer and healthier lives than agriculturalists.

The Case against Civilization inspired this video and includes the statistics about how much hunter-gatherers work in food acquisition and domestic labor: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...

This article also explores some of the complexities of agriculture's development: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2...

The book discussed in "The Case against Civilization" is called AGAINST THE GRAIN, and while I disagree with a lot that's in it, I also think it's an interesting read and outlines both its case for why cities developed and other people's cases. I also leaned on the book SAPIENS by Yuval Noah Harari for some of the theories about why cities developed.

Our World in Data is an amazing resource for understanding long-term trends in human history. That's where I got the graph about the dramatic reduction in absolute poverty the world is experiencing: https://ourworldindata.org/extreme-po...

And also the graph about the declining number of hours worked: https://ourworldindata.org/working-ho...

And lastly, the median U.S. household income really is higher (even after adjusting for inflation) than it ever has been before: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Househo...

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Preorder John's new book, Turtles All the Way Down, out October 10th 2017! You can find links to both the signed and unsigned editions here: http://bit.ly/turtlespreorder and information on how to (probably) get a signed copy here: http://probablysignedturtles.com

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