Self-Sufficiency is Poverty
And how prosperity comes from our differences
Before Adam Smith there was Mother Nature.
The original division of labor roots from the inherent biological difference between the sexes. Men hunted because they were stronger, women gathered because they were primarily occupied with the important task of carrying and rearing children. Women acquired dependable staple starches while men chased after calorie-rich proteins and fats.
By exchanging and sharing the fruits of their labor, women accessed prized nutrients without being exposed to the risks of hunting, and men accessed a safety-net supply of food that was ready to sustain them when hunts failed. When both sexes specialized in what their biological proclivities gave them an advantage in, the entire group benefitted without anyone having to expend unnecessary energy or take unnecessary risks. This is the principle that drives prosperity: it is the increase in the amount of goods or services you can get in return per unit of labor.
Theophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle, once said th…
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