From Marginal Revolution, a post on how agriculture got its start stimulated this comment:
I remember reading somewhere (Spengler?) that agriculture developed because some smart, aggressive guy realized he could use control of agricultural resources like water to expand his power over other men and expand the size of the unit over which he has control to maximize his wealth. Sounds very - human. Settling down and farming was not a collective decision but a command directive. There does seem to be some evidence that agriculture did not benefit the individual hunter-gatherer sufficiently so that it would have been adopted without force being used. Cowboys, for instance, don't see "sod-busters" as having a better life. All changes in society don't have to lead to better lives for the masses. But those that lead to more power for those in power may be falsely portrayed as leading to better lives for all.