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wealth transfer

by on November 2, 2009

This is important in giving  sense of how power moves in a society, including the US.

Small-scale human societies range from foraging bands with a strong egalitarian ethos to more economically stratified agrarian and pastoral societies. We explain this variation in inequality using a dynamic model in which a population’s long-run steady-state level of inequality depends on the extent to which its most important forms of wealth are transmitted within families across generations. We estimate the degree of intergenerational transmission of three different types of wealth (material, embodied, and relational), as well as the extent of wealth inequality in 21 historical and contemporary populations. We show that intergenerational transmission of wealth and wealth inequality are substantial among pastoral and small-scale agricultural societies (on a par with or even exceeding the most unequal modern industrial economies) but are limited among horticultural and foraging peoples (equivalent to the most egalitarian of modern industrial populations). Differences in the technology by which a people derive their livelihood and in the institutions and norms making up the economic system jointly contribute to this pattern.

  1. Mark permalink

    Dude. Tribes. Small groups that link already need to move up in stages and reach out to other tribal leaders. As each tribe does this the effect is better than apyramid scheme. No institution can do this. Global change takes global networking. One tribe at a time. MAHB is such a tribe I believe.

    • I half agree. The future is too complex to be merely tribal, and tribal can be mafias. Blending hierarchy, networks and tribes seems to me the wisest, but in any event all will be very difficult.

  2. Mark permalink

    Ageed. Global complexities go beyond the scope and reach of any tribe.  I think the power of tribes is the potential for exponential growth in outreach, as opposed to something like an ad campaign. I think it better to coordinate and tag ideas or memes that fit with sustainability. Then use the tribal connections of our species to get a large portion to buy into the idea. How fast did Wikipedia work, for example, without an instutuional base to provide an open-source resource for the world? Only after there is a critical mass behind it should any authority be given to global governance.

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