Factors on civilization

Topics: Culture, Marvin Harris, Individualism Pages: 2 (1374 words) Published: April 27, 2014
Main components of every civilization:
1. government and laws
2. formal religion
3. language
4. agriculture (irrigation, domestication of plants, etc)
5. specialized skills (pottery, clothing, etc)
6. trade (to acquire what you do not have and cannot make, but need) 7. economic system (bartering or currency, etc).

Factors that give rise to civilization:
A. Geographical location
1. All four of the major centers of early civilization (were China, India, Mesopotamia, and Mesoamerica) arose along major river valleys in arid regions, thus having important irrigation networks. They all relied upon domesticated plants as well as animals, and they had well-developed transportation networks (using water craft and the wheel) and a high-level of technological achievement (using the wheel, plow, bronze, and iron).

Rivers - Egypt, India, Babylon/Sumeria, and China had them, and farming communities developed.

2. Readily available domesticates. Certain civilizations like the predecessors of the Incas had access to potatoes, which, freeze-dried, served much the same purpose as other nations' grain. It was the commodity that could be collected as tax. With the cultivation of potatoes, people settled down to farm in one place, and they gradually developed the civilized aspects.

Food domestication enabled sedentary, vastly growing populations, to become viable.

3. Adequate natural resources and livable weather to allow some development to progress

B. Agriculture and animal domestication
Prior to that humans were hunters and gatherers, wandering from place to place, from season to season, depending on what was in availability. The development of agriculture meant that humans could stay in one place, and thus build permanent settlements. Better methods of agriculture enabled division of labor because everybody was not concerned with growing crops.

This is the foundation of all aspects of civilization.

C. System of writing and communication
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