Coffee, Beer and Civilization

I have long had a theory that civilization was greatly advanced by the introduction of caffeine into society. Great civilizations – China, India and the British Empire – were certainly fueled by regular and ritualized consumption of tea and coffee. Caffeine drives productivity and the work ethic. Other stimulants have played a strong role in other civilizations – coca in Peru fueled the Incas and quat has a long history in Arab based civilizations. Nicotine has also contributed to stimulating social interaction and tracking the spread of its use might be intriguing to discover correlations with civilization’s march.


But an article in the New York Times has made me consider the role played by depressants in  man’s ascent. I have always believed that everything is possible with beer. So I was very glad to get this more scientific take on the role of beer and wine in ancient social formation. Slainte!


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