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A number of threads of evidence point to an evolutionarily determined human level of inequality close to Scandinavia's.

Quote:Through ethnographic and cross-cultural studies, researchers have concluded that the basic template for human social groups is moderately but not unerringly egalitarian. They have found gradients of wealth and power among even the most nomadic groups, but such gradients tend to be mild. In a recent analysis of five hunter-gatherer populations, Eric Aiden Smith of the University of Washington and his colleagues found the average degree of income inequality to be roughly half that seen in the United States, and close to the wealth distribution of Denmark.

Interestingly, another recent study found that when Americans were given the chance to construct their version of the optimal wealth gradient for America, both Republicans and Democrats came up with a chart that looked like Sweden’s.

Quote:Studies have found that the thirst for fairness runs deep. As Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich and his colleagues reported in the journal Nature, by the age of 6 or 7, children are zealously devoted to the equitable partitioning of goods, and they will choose to punish those who try to grab more than their arithmetically proper share of Smarties and jelly beans even when that means the punishers must sacrifice their own portion of treats.

In follow-up research with older children and adolescents that has yet to be published, Dr. Fehr and his colleagues have found a more nuanced understanding of fairness, an acknowledgment that some degree of inequality can make sense: The kid who studies every night deserves a better grade than the slacker. Nevertheless, said Dr. Fehr, there are limits to teenage tolerance. “ ‘One for me, two for you’ may not be too bad,” Dr. Fehr said. “But ‘one for me, five for you’ would not be accepted.”

There are strong biological reasons for this sort of arrangement to come about.

Quote:David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary theorist at the State University of New York at Binghamton, sees the onset of humanity’s cooperative, fair-and-square spirit as one of the major transitions in the history of life on earth, moments when individual organisms or selection units band together and stake their future fitness on each other. A larger bacterial cell engulfs a smaller bacterial cell to form the first complex eukaryotic cell. Single cells merge into multicellular organisms of specialized parts. Ants and bees become hive-minded superorganisms and push all other insects aside.

“A major transition occurs when you have mechanisms for suppressing fitness differences and establishing equality within groups, so that it is no longer possible to succeed at the expense of your group,” Dr. Wilson said. “It’s a rare event, and it’s hard to get started, but when it does you can quickly dominate the earth.” Human evolution, he said, “clearly falls into this paradigm.”[links in the original]

Link. Note that this research doesn't necessarily imply any particular policy - biology doesn't necessarily care about income inequality with people with whom you have no personal connection.
I declare this study flawed. Beyond very tiny numbers, all people were roughly = before the industrial age.

You can't claim evolutionary effects caused this equality/inequality gap, it was because there were not many avenues to get wealthy before the industrial age except murder and primogeniture.

As soon as the avenues popped up, mankind asserted his natural talents towards the goal of enriching oneself. Now we have billions across the globe who live more comfortably than Midas ever dreamed of.

I am not arguing against evolution, just that this isn't an evolutionary cause and effect.
(07-10-2011, 08:33 AM)Palladin Wrote: [ -> ]I declare this study flawed.

I raise you:

I declare this not be science at all, but mere propaganda. S28

(07-10-2011, 08:33 AM)Palladin Wrote: [ -> ]You can't claim evolutionary effects caused this equality/inequality gap,
I don't think you read the article at all. It said that biology goes against income equality, not that it caused it.
I see this as more that Og has more stashed than Ug so Ug clubs him or gets the tribe to take Og's stuff. Crabs pulling each from the edge of the bucket. MV is close.
seems nature is superior to christian altruism. nature produced a civilization, and christianity barbarians.
(07-12-2011, 11:56 AM)quadrat Wrote: [ -> ]seems nature is superior to christian altruism. nature produced a civilization, and christianity barbarians.

Nature also produced others such as yourself "Q". I don't know whether to be horrified, or jubilant. S13

I conjecture that such social researchers allow their biases to color (or even determine) their results. In the 70's and 80's such touchy-feely stuff was rife. Then it turned out that the murder rates in most primitive and medieval societies was much the same as in the worst murder capitals of the world today.

Much of history past 4000 BC is filled with societies with vast differences in income; surely the kings and priestly classes were far above the common man in affluence, leisure and power.

Current sub Saharan African countries are probably run similarly to what their dna requires since they subscribe to no particular political philosophy other than might (and tribal relations) make right. Most are kleptocracies with insane differences of income. Hobbs was right.

Even in the new testament, there is a record of vast differences of wealth and power.

Perhaps in some hunter-gatherer primitive tribes such egalitarian utopias existed.