Human populations have evolved over time from “lower” life forms. All life has co-evolved with all other life (and weather systems, and everything else) on the planet and in specific habitats. Animals form bands/tribes for safety, fun, and more-efficient living. In human symbolics (language, for instance) “economics” is the “management of the household” in the individual family or in the society. It’s originally the way local natural resources are managed (gathered, distributed, stored, traded).
It’s important to remember that all behavior goes back to physiology. We are expressions of our unique physiologies, and this is true of any animal or plant. Physiology determines how we interact within our habitat, what we can perceive and how we can perceive it, how we will interpret that perception, and what will seem like an ideal outcome based on those interactions and perceptions (so, what actions we will take). All of our tools (technology) reflect these physiological parameters as well (“structural” (e.g., the shape of the human hand determines how we will shape the tools we make) and “functional” (e.g., the way we process information will shape the tools we make)).
Over time we developed social-reflex behaviors based on our physiologically-determined perception and response habits within certain habitats.
A tendency in animal evolution is to progressively enclose/encapsulate “external” resource-dynamics – to bring the sourcing and management of resources bodily-within the organism. Human beings have done this exceedingly well. We carry our environment with us internally. That’s another way of looking at our adaptiveness.
Reflecting that physiological state, our functional behaviors tend toward enclosing/encapsulating [nature-human] dynamics. That is, our technologies drift toward us becoming more and more separated from (if only in perception) direct contact with/reliance on nature.
As human society and technology have progressed we’ve removed ourselves and our constructs (society, economy, art, etc.) from the natural world. Mostly this is just a matter of inertia (behavioral- and thought-/perception-inertia).
Some of it has to do with aberrant constructs that have run amok over time like religion (which is a technology – and so also became more and more abstracted from nature), leading to concepts of an “external” God; and with science, leading to concepts of man’s separation from and dominance over nature. In economics, we have removed subsistence from the natural world and into a meta-world of “commerce” (which interestingly has reached the point where the entire world must be seen as the natural resource, and all people as the “global village”).
All of this removal from nature has only been an illusion. And so we’ve behaved with neglect to nature. We are finding that we are, in fact, inseparable from nature, and so that habitual behavior (petroleum-machine thinking, dietary choices divorced from habitat, movement habits formed by box-habitats, etc.) is starting to bite us in the ass.