We tend to think that more property causes one to become lazy.
During evolution, however, it was the other way round.
And once there was property, laziness must have decreased. There were many ways in which hard work could produce enduring assets that could increase an individual’s fitness or that of his children and relatives. Farmers could save to buy more land or livestock. They could build long-lasting improvements like buildings or irrigation works. This was not really possible for hunter-gatherers—there was no way for them to accumulate wealth. If they had full stomachs and their tools and weapons were in good shape, hunter-gatherers didn’t work. They hung out: They talked, gossiped, and sang. They were lazy, and they should have been: Being lazy made biological sense. They could usually obtain enough food fairly easily, since constant local violence kept human numbers below the land’s carrying capacity. When law and order let human density increase, farmers eventually had to work harder and harder just to survive. Here again, selection must have favored those odd people who like to work, even when there was enough to eat.
Ultimately, this meant that both sexes had to work hard. In fact, for most people, that became the only way to produce enough to feed and raise a family. That pattern is not universal. In situations where resources are abundant, men sometimes do little work. Men working hard to feed their families—“high paternal investment,” we call it—is common among contemporary hunter-gatherers and may well have been a standard feature of the ancestors of all modern humans. Women bring in most of the calories in such societies (from plant foods), at least in warm climates, but the meat contributed by male hunters is a vital source of protein and other essential nutrients.