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Is progress inevitable?

In his book on the history of human progress, Our Kind, anthropologist Marvin Harris asked in the final chapter, “Will nature’s experiment with mind and culture end in nuclear war?” The book came out in 1989, in the final years of our Cold War nuclear paranoia, and his telling of how people developed from hunter gatherers all the way to McDonald’s franchise owners, he said, couldn’t honestly end with him gazing optimistically to the horizon because never had the fate of so many been under the control of so few.
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