"Cold and Miserable"
"Always hungry, scrounging for food"

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn gives a far different perspective, that cavemen, Noble Savages were not miserable, cold, hungry, and living a generally unhappy life.

Of course, as both a layman and a skeptic, I couldn't accept either stance as truth. What I can do is think it through mathematically.

Evolution and Economy are so fundamentally similar. Whereas the main driving force in an Economy is money, IE. production power of a country, the main driving force behind evolution is resources.

The idea behind sexual selection is that it creates competition between members of the same sex. Why it helps the survival of the individual is questionable, in many instances it has absolutely no positive effect on the ability for the individual to continue its lineage. Except, of course, that the individual's children will have the same, attractive genes that got him/her laid in the first place.
Is that explanation enough to justify sexual selection?
Of course, sexual selection only exists when the individuals who have otherwise deleterious qualities survive. When they start to die because they have, for example, large tail feathers of the peacock and other less quoted birds, then those individuals of the opposite sex will fare better when they mate with individuals most fit to survive in an environment with predators.
So why does sexual selection exist?

Because, like an economy, if there is no competition, then when one individual surpasses others and imposes their will through their increased power, then they control the economy, just as a peacock with large tail feathers controls the gene pool.

Competition exists because money equals power, just as being attractive equals the passing of genes.
When there is little competition, it will naturally increase until only the fittest can survive.
When life is easy for cavemen, then they'll naturally have children until the available resources decreases until it matches the difficulty required to attain it. Any more difficult would cause a decline in population. Any easier and more children will be produced.
Competition will always exist as long as there is someone who will compete, who will try and better their position.

Yet humans only acquire the ability to give birth at about age 15-20 (depending on how nourished, as well as other factors). It would take a long time to reach an equilibrium.

Was life really harder back as a hunter/gather society than today?

Today, the usefulness (output) of each individual, multiplied by the number of the individuals equals the productivity of a country.
And since power is money, and money is production, then the countries who can produce the most are the richest countries.
The quality of life of individuals is variable for every person, but when the amount of money required to life a comfortable life is compared to the average income (determined by the output of said individual, as well as other economic factors), then you can easily determine how hard it is simply to be alive. Of course, it's impossible to deduce happiness through mathematical equations, it's no stretch to say that having a difficult job does not always make a comfortable life.
And if there are a large portion of people who are willing to compete by giving up their comfort for money, then the standards for employment are raised, and life is made more difficult.

Competition will always exist as long as there is someone who will compete, who will try and better their position.

So the ultimate question is this: How difficult is it to achieve a comfortable life?

50% of the people alive today lives off of $2 a day.
Sure, things are different there than here.

But are they happy?
Here in America, the average income is median income is $48,2012
Are we happy?

Could we escape this prison known as Earth and live as a hunter/gather society?

Of course not. 6.5 billion people cannot be supported by a non-agricultural society.
And even if we could, who is to say that some military power wouldn't put us to better use in a factory?

#2. http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032007/hhinc/new04_001.htm, Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Revised August 28, 2007, Accessed November 4th, 2007.

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