Title: The dynamics of inequality in the human story: a brief sketch

Authors: Jon D. Wisman

Addresses: American University, 4400 Mass. Ave., Washington, DC 20016, USA

Abstract: Teaching contemporary inequality can be significantly enriched by being nested in its dynamics over the course of human history. This essay provides those teaching inequality with a brief sketch of: 1) the original human condition of a high degree of equality that endured for 97% to 98% of our species' existence as foragers and early agriculturalists; 2) the origin of extreme inequality that accompanied the rise of states and civilisation about 5,500 years ago as weapons technology enabled a few to subjugate the producers; 3) why, despite a significant degree of political democracy in many contemporary societies, extreme inequality persists.

Keywords: aboriginal equality; rise of state; comparative advantage in violence; democracy; ideology; teaching inequality; inequality.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPEE.2018.092236

International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, 2018 Vol.9 No.1/2, pp.4 - 17

Received: 28 Jul 2017
Accepted: 09 Feb 2018

Published online: 01 Jun 2018 *

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