Fix, 'Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality'

Posted On By Blair Fix

Fix, 'Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality'

April 25, 2019

ABSTRACT
Where should we look to understand the origin of inequality? I propose an unusual window of evidence — modern societies. I hypothesize that evidence for the origin of inequality is encoded in the institutional structure of industrial societies. To test this idea, I use a model to project modern trends into the past. This model takes the modern relation between energy, hierarchy, and inequality and creates a hindcast of the origin of inequality. The results are broadly consistent with the available evidence. The model predicts an explosion of inequality with the transition from hunter-gathering to agriculture, followed by a plateau. This finding potentially opens a new window of evidence into the origin of inequality.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0215692
Citation
Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality
Fix, Blair. (2019). PLOS ONE14(4), e0215692.

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