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Why there is no egalitarian societies





badai
Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/30/stratified_societies_more_adaptable_and_expandable/

Quote:
Computer sim explains why hippies became extinct

Egalitarian societies of the past were doomed to oblivion

By Brid-Aine Parnell

Posted in Science, 30th September 2011 09:38 GMT

Free whitepaper 2011 Lippis Report

Old-time egalitarian societies were just too stable to survive in a dog-eat-dog world, according to Stanford University researchers, a situation which led to them being overrun by the stratified societies which dominate humanity today.

The study used a computer simulation to compare demographic stability and rates of migration for societies that shared everything equally and those that had a class structure with those on top controlling most of the resources.

The researchers found that, when resources were consistently scarce, egalitarian societies didn't have the motivation to change their ways because they shared out the pain, but in unequal communities, the have-nots tended to go in search of a better life when things got bad.

If resources fluctuated, the class societies were the ones that were stable because the ruling class always had plenty, so they expanded, while the sharing and caring communities found it hard to adapt and once again stayed as they were.

"The fact that unequal societies today vastly outnumber egalitarian societies may not be due to the replacement of the ethic of equality by a more selfish ethic, as originally thought by many researchers," said cultural evolution specialist Deborah Rogers, head author of the study.

"Instead, it appears that the stratified societies simply spread and took over, crowding out the egalitarian populations," she added.

The study, co-authored by Stanford evolutionary biologist Marcus Feldman, was published online [1] this week in the journal PLoS One.
ocalhoun
An excellent theory, though it assumes that there were egalitarian societies at some point in the past...
Which I'm not sure about at all; human society may have been stratified since before the time when it became 'human'.

It would be interesting to look for evidence of 'class' distinctions in primates...
inoshi
badai wrote:
Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/30/stratified_societies_more_adaptable_and_expandable/

I wonder how population density and violence play into the different models?
Ankhanu
ocalhoun wrote:
An excellent theory, though it assumes that there were egalitarian societies at some point in the past...
Which I'm not sure about at all; human society may have been stratified since before the time when it became 'human'.

It would be interesting to look for evidence of 'class' distinctions in primates...

I'm all but certain that such societies didn't ever exist... it's a romantic notion, but not one based in any kind of evidence. Some societies have been more egalitarian than others, but none have really been truly equal (perhaps because true equality is a constructed lie).

Certainly, there is no evidence within other species (ape, wider primate, or otherwise) of such societal structures.
Radar
I'm also questioning the phrase 'egalitarian societies of the past'?

Even if you could set aside human flaws, and you can't, designing a system that is actually good enough to take all details of daily life into account and take everyone into something considered 'equal', is next to impossible.
inoshi
Radar wrote:
I'm also questioning the phrase 'egalitarian societies of the past'?

Even if you could set aside human flaws, and you can't, designing a system that is actually good enough to take all details of daily life into account and take everyone into something considered 'equal', is next to impossible.

Yes, however as I mentioned we can look at them as models, so even if it wasn't 100% "egalitarian", we can entertain the notion of different methods and systems people use and experience in sharing and distributing resources.

I would certainly hesitate to assume we had a perfect picture of the past and how different cultures and societies have existed. Even if we don't want to have an idea that there had been quite a bit more variety, it would be good to remain open to new information.

Inoshi
appsapps
I think for it to work, an egalitarian society needs to be kept small, and its membership must be like-minded people.

And that's a problem, because once your members start giving birth, then you have people being born into your society that may not grow up to share the same views. They have basically been forced to become a part of that society, against their will. They will eventually either leave or fight for changes.

Either way, you have a society that will either die out or change into something else.
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