While progress is defined as making a civilization more efficient through social and technological advancements, there are many aspects of it. Progressiveness is carried out through every piece of a society, including political, social, intellectual and economical. Therefore, in order to say that the transition from hunting and gathering societies to agricultural-based civilizations is a progressive one, it must be considered in each aspect.
When a hunting and gathering society makes the switch to agriculture, one may argue that everything changes. Economically speaking, the move is not progressive. In hunting and gathering societies, an almost socialist based society thrived. After the Neolithic Revolution, a slightly more modern and civilized economy arose. In pre-Neolithic societies one would commonly see men (hunters) and woman and children (gatherers) all held together under a single leader. The agricultural shift changed this. The Revolution brought something rarely seen in more traditional societies: strong rewards for productivity. The farmers that produced surplus would see a greater increase in wealth as an incentive. This inevitably leads to different economical classes; the most productive farmers, and eventually merchants, against those who are less successful. Whether or pro-capitalist or not, I cannot argue that anything in which causes separation and tension among people is a progressive thing.
There was also a great shift in how these two types of societies handled politics and leadership. Traditional hunter-gatherer tribes held a single leadership position, usually a chieftain chosen through bloodline or noble warrior status. Larger populations and the process of building up an entire civilization based around one point led to the first emergences of centralized government and administration systems. While at first this may seem like a progressive move simply because we still see these systems in place today, which is not...