reply to Read

Mike Lieber (U28550@UICVM.BITNET)
Wed, 28 Sep 1994 20:17:34 CDT

I agree with almost everything you say in your reply to Mizrach, and I very
much appreciate the (dare I say it?) clarity with which you couch the issues of
exploitation of resources and population growth. Let me just add one
ethnographic note for the Northwest Coast. It depends on which groups on the
NWC you're talking about, of course, but the widespread use of slaves is a
kicker that needs to be explained. We know that they were needed for the
intense labor of preserving salmon, and that other than salmon season, they had
to provide for themselves. No one has suggested that the NWC villages were
anything like ancient cities, which, as MacNeil has shown (and to which Dan
Foss has alluded) were deathtraps for 30% of the laboring population over any
given period of time. When slavery faled to replenish the labor supply,
enticement of ethnic communities to relocate was tried. Unless the villages
of the NWC were as deadly as the ancient cities, the 0 growth option probably
firs. What you get in that case is a population that during salmon season is
barely adequate to exploit available resources, while the same population in
other seasons is too big for the resource base. Slaves did not do well.

Mike Lieber