So I read today that tool using monkeys some where in Asia stopped making and using tools but instead survived off the largess of tourists and locals. This quickly brought to mind the plight of native Americans who were trading with the Dutch, English, and French. The Indians were stone age people, that is they lacked the metal working ability. For some Indians this worked out well enough due to Obsidian which is sharper than Iron and easily worked. They had no desire to work metal, their needs were met.
On the east coast the Obsidian was harder to get so European steel, not to mention guns and household tools, were much preferred. After about a century of trade many native peoples stopped making their own stuff and instead traded pelts and military service for European goods. They became a hunter/warrior people and discarded their productive skills because they were inferior. Like the Monkeys, they had adapted to a superior and more easily acquired supply of support. Unfortunately many native tribes were caught in European power struggles and were subordinated and many were dispersed.
The way this connects to the future is what if aliens show up, and they don’t wish to conquer, but they wish to trade. Mineral resources should be pretty consistent through out the universe, but Biological and Cultural resources would be unique planet to planet. So let’s say that aliens show up and want to buy our books. (I am over simplifying this, see my previous entry on aliens in Hollywood not being alien enough). They would trade their super duper, handy dandy tools for our books. Eventually, if we follow the Huron and Algonquin, we would only go around making artistic things and stop making tools, weapons, clothing, etc. John Deere would be destroyed by Blargarxt Hover Tractors. Then when more aliens show up to get our books they will play us against each other and we will be left without the ability to make our own tools.
Lesson to learn is this: Adapt to alien methods, don’t rely on alien sources.