There are three reasons why we must be cautious about drawing inferences about past forages from observations of present forages. First, early foragers lived in many types of environments. Thus, what is observe among recent and contemporary food collectors, who generally live in deserts, the arctic and tropical forest may not be comparable to what we would have observed in more favorable environments in the past. Second, contemporary foragers are not relics of the past. This is because societies have evolved and continue to evolve. Foragers respond to differences in local environmental changes. Thirdly, recent and contemporary foragers have interacted with societies that didn't exist until after 10,000 years ago.
Three types of reciprocity are generalized, balanced and the Kula Ring. Generalized reciprocity is when goods or services are given to another without any apparent expectations of a return gift. This type of reciprocity sustains the family in all societies. Parents give freely to their children, but they actually calculate how their children will reciprocate later. The social implications are reduced tensions, less envy and anger, and peaceful social relations. In exchange for gifts, a person can gain "social credit" for a potential return in the future. A parent that gives to their children may have their children take care of them later. Balanced reciprocity is explicit and short term in its expectations of return. This type of reciprocity involves an immediate exchange of goods or services or an agreed upon exchange of a limited amount of time. The exchange itself may be fun, adventuresome, or aesthetically pleasing or it may enhance social relations. Because each party has something the other wants it can enhance the relationship and cooperation between trading partners. The third is type is the Kula Ring. This type of reciprocity is practiced by the horticulture Trobriand Islanders who live off the eastern coast of New Guinea....
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