>> Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Cultural overhead" is the term anthropologists use. It's a fancy way of defining how many nonproductive people there are in a society. for every priest, king, prince, warrior, middle manager, or CEO--non of whom directly produces food or shelter--the average person must work that much harder to provide food and shelter for all. In some of our "developed" cultures, as little as 2 to 5 percent of us provide all the food for everybody. And the farmers among us work damn hard and use enormous numbers of calories (mostly from oil: tractors, fertilizer, transport) to do so.
--Thom Hartmann, Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture, p. 9


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