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The Dawn of Everything (Hardcover, 2021, Signal) 4 stars

For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike--either free and equal …

American citizens have the right to travel wherever they like—provided, of course, they have the money for transport and accommodation. They are free from ever having to obey the arbitrary orders of superiors—unless, of course, they have to get a job. In this sense, it is almost possible to say the Wendat had play chiefs and real freedoms, while most of us today have to make do with real chiefs and play freedoms. Or to put the matter more technically: what the Hadza, Wendat, or 'egalitarian' people such as the Nuer seem to have been concerned with were not so much formal freedoms as substantive ones. They were less interested in the right to travel than in the possibility of actually doing so (hence, the matter was typically framed as an obligation to provide hospitality to strangers). Mutual aid—what contemporary European observers often referred to as 'communism'—was seen as the necessary condition for individual autonomy.

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