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Second Nature

Second Nature
Economic Origins of Human Evolution

$69.99 (P)

  • Author: Haim Ofek, State University of New York, Binghamton
  • Date Published: November 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521625340

$ 69.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This book spans two million years of human evolution and explores the impact of economics on human evolution and natural history. The theory of evolution by natural selection has always relied in part on progress in areas of science outside of biology. By applying economic principles at the borderlines of biology, Haim Ofek shows how some of the outstanding issues in human evolution, such as the increase in human brain size and the expansion of the environmental niche humans occupied, can be answered. He identifies distinct economic forces at work, beginning with the transition from the feed-as-you-go strategy of primates, through hunter-gathering and the domestication of fire to the development of agriculture. This highly readable book will inform and intrigue general readers and those in fields such as evolutionary biology and psychology, economics, and anthropology.

    • Readable and highly interesting account of how market forces may have played a major role in human evolution
    • Shows how the uniquely human characteristic of trading with non-related others has shaped our destiny
    • Will appeal both to general readers and those from backgrounds in economics, anthropology or evolutionary biology and psychology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Ofek's book is in fact remarkable because it gives interesting, exhausting and insightful answers to old problems and, at the same time, it provides a new way to approach human evolution from the economic viewpoint. I hope it will stimulate the research on the economics of prehistory." Economic History Network

    "...the boldness, coherence, and sweep of the book are impressive...Ofek has good and highly persuasive ideas about his main concern, which is the importance and centrality of economic analysis from an early point in human evolution...Second Nature is an exhilarating and interesting read that raises powerful questions about how humans got here and how we should be studied." Science

    "...Ofek's book is in fact remarkable because it gives interesting, exhausting and insightful answers to old problems and, at the same time, it provides a new way to approach human evolution from the economic viewpoint." Joao Ricardo Faria, EH.NET

    "Ofek makes several interesting connections between economics and biology." Nature

    "Ofek sythesizes an enourmous range of research on human origins to advance to key role of exchange of goods and services in the evolution of distinctively human species.... This superb book seems poised to be a touchstone for work in prehistory and human origins for the forseeable future; essential for all academic libraries; highly recommended for others." Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2001
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521625340
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Bioeconomics:
    2. Exchange in human and nonhuman societies
    3. Classical economics and classical Darwinism
    4. Evolutionary implications of division of labour
    5. The feeding ecology
    6. The origins of nepotistic exchange
    7. Baboon speciation versus human specialization
    Part II. Paleoeconomics:
    8. Departure from the feed-as-you-go strategy
    9. The origins of market exchange
    10. Domestication of fire in relation to market exchange
    11. The Upper Paleolithic and other creative explosions
    12. Transition to agriculture: the limiting factor
    13. Transition to agriculture: the facilitating factor

  • Author

    Haim Ofek, State University of New York, Binghamton
    Haim Ofek is Professor of Economics at Binghamton University, New York.

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