How free (in terms of personal liberty) are / were primitive societies? (self.AskAnthropology)
104 ups - 31 downs = 73 votes
It strikes me from reading something like 'The Wealth of Nations' that pre-industrial Western society was incredibly restrictive for ordinary people. Going back further into history this also seems to be the case for Western and other civilisations, e.g. slavery, serfdom, mandatory military service etc.
So I'm wondering does this trend continue right back to the origins of human culture? The stereotype of primitive societies are that they are indeed free, but how free, in our modern sense, are they?
EDIT - There seems to be a book on the subject - "Freedom and Authority in Primitive Societies" by William Charles McCormack, but I have no access to it.
58 comments submitted at 13:22:21 on Feb 10, 2014 by greenonthescreen