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The Right of Nonuse$
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Jan G. Laitos

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195386066

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386066.001.0001

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Era I—The Age of Human Survival

Era I—The Age of Human Survival

Chapter:
(p.17) 3 Era I—The Age of Human Survival
Source:
The Right of Nonuse
Author(s):

Jan G. Laitos

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386066.003.0003

This chapter discusses the Age of Human Survival—which occurred tens of thousands of years ago during the Pleistocene Epoch. The first few early humans struggling to exist then were rather sparsely distributed and had little aggregate impact on the use component of resources. Our ancestors exploited easily accessible natural resources in order to gain a toehold in an environment that was harsh and threatening to this new species. Small groups of hunter-gatherers eked out a tenuous existence in highly variable environments and climates. The human relationship to resources during Era I can be understood by reference to individual decision theory. A fundamental principle of economics is that individuals maximize their own welfare. With the assumption that individuals were rational decision makers who chose actions regarding resources with the aim of furthering individual interests, the limited resources during Era I meant that individual decisions revolved around basic human survival.

Keywords:   Pleistocene Epoch, early humans, individual decision theory

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