History’s Biggest Fraud

It is arguable that since the Agricultural Revolution, the population bomb that was ticking has exploded, causing immeasurable consequences for humanity and the ecosystem. It is unnecessary to say that people are suffering and working harder under worse conditions than before. In earlier eras, there were diverse diets and leisurely lifestyles, which were their secret to success.

Working hours and overtime pay are widely discussed: According to the law, normal working hours per day are nine hours, including a one-hour break for lunch and prayer time. With overtime, daily working hours can extend up to twelve hours. Statistics show that the average weekly hours worked in 2024 are 50.30 in Pakistan, 49.90 in India, and 49.90 in Bangladesh (Source: International Labour Organisation). The minimum wage per day for labor is 2500, despite long working hours.

Historian Yuval Noah Harari writes in his book *Sapiens* that “This is the essence of the Agricultural Revolution: The ability to keep more people alive under worse conditions.” This undeniable fact is obvious and understandable. You can witness such conditions in daily life, particularly among people from peripheral areas who work hard with limited resources to enjoy daily life.

Although there is more food consumption, one estimation tells that annually, 1500 trillion calories are consumed globally. However, proportionally, poor countries consume less. This can be explained paradoxically: Countries with predominantly young populations tend to have lower average Minimum Dietary Energy Requirement (MDER) values, as children’s energy needs are generally lower than adults’. Conversely, countries with populations engaged in physically demanding activities, such as labor-intensive or agricultural work, often have higher MDER values due to increased energy requirements. The US, Norway, and Canada have higher daily calorie consumption, while Ethiopia, Pakistan, and India have lower consumption despite hard labor in hot seasons. Similarly, the per capita supply of protein in North America and Europe remains notably higher than in Africa.

Such paradoxical situations are the outcome of the Agricultural Revolution, and one must not celebrate it too much, as it has caused suffering among humans. One of my scholar friends, Jalal-uddin Kakar, expressed his disillusionment and conspicuous argument during a late-night discussion, calling it history’s biggest fraud.



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