[WSMDiscuss] How equality slipped away

Sajai Jose zazai.reset at gmail.com
Sat Jun 26 13:29:20 CEST 2021


Most of us live in social worlds that are profoundly unequal, where small
elites have vastly more power and wealth than everyone else. Very few of
the have-nots find this congenial. As experimental economists have shown,
we tend to enter social situations prepared to take a chance and cooperate
in collective activities. But if others take more than their share, we
resent being played for a sucker. We live in unequal worlds, and few of us
are unaware of, or indifferent to, that fact.

Since the elites are massively outnumbered, the origins and stability of
unequal divisions of the cake are puzzling, especially once we realise that
this is a very recent aspect of our social existence. Our particular
species of humans has been around for about 300,000 years and, best as we
can tell, for about 290,000 of those years we lived materially poorer but
much more equal lives.
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