The Dynamics of Inequality in the Human Story: A Brief Sketch
Jon Wisman ()
No 2017-10, Working Papers from American University, Department of Economics
Teaching contemporary inequality can be significantly enriched by being nested in its dynamics over the course of human history. This essay is intended to provide those teaching inequality with a brief sketch of: a) the original human condition of a high degree of equality that endured for 97 to 98 percent of our species' existence as foragers and early agriculturalists; b) the origin of extreme inequality that accompanied the rise of states and civilization about 5,500 years ago as weapons technology enabled a few to subjugate the producers; and c) why, despite political democracy, extreme inequality persists.
Keywords: Aboriginal equality; rise of state; comparative advantage in violence; democracy; ideology. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A20 D30 D63 N00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:amu:wpaper:2017-10
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