Human Ecology

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 167–189 | Cite as

Nutritional criteria in machiguenga food production decisions: A linear-programming analysis

  • Allen Johnson
  • Clifford A. Behrens


Machiguenga Indians of the Peruvian Amazon, like other low populationdensity, technologically “simple” peoples, produce ample food for a nutritious diet. Assuming that this is an intended outcome of their foodproduction strategy, to what extent is it a labor-efficient solution to the problem of producing a “balanced diet”? A linear-programming model of the “diet problem” is constructed with parameters reflecting the Machiguenga economy, and solutions are computed. These are then compared to observed Machiguenga food production; the degree of fit between model and behavior is examined and reasons for discrepancies are discussed.

Key words

native South America food production nutrition optimization models lowenergy economies 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen Johnson
    • 1
  • Clifford A. Behrens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of California at Los AngelesCalifornia

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