The Ecological Citizen Vol 2 No 1 2018: 67–76
The significance of the agricultural revolution is underappreciated in the discourse on the problematic relationship between economy and Earth. The emergence of agriculture was a major transition in the social evolution of humans; it established a structure and dynamic to economic life that has been with us ever since. The economic order that devolved from agriculture was characterized by profound, productive, interdependent, mutuallyreinforcing interactions that drove human expansionism. The relationships among humans and between humans and the other-than-human world were fundamentally altered with agriculture, while the material reproduction of humans became a self-referential enterprise with the integrity and force of a 'superorganism'. Cross species comparison of agricultural species, and the use of an expanded evolutionary framework to interpret it, reveal that economic order is a foundational aspect of collective species existence with currency in the matrix of species evolution. In the case of humans, agriculture was not simply the result of the Holocene warming and human ingenuity, but also of the complex play of evolution on external and internal factors that set the course and stage for the rise of global capitalism and the sixth mass extinction.