Domestication Alone Does Not Lead to Inequality

Current Anthropology Volume 51, Number 1, February 2010

16 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2012

See all articles by Michael Gurven

Michael Gurven

Independent

Monique Borgerhoff Mulder

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Paul L. Hooper

Santa Fe Institute

Hillard S. Kaplan

University of New Mexico - Program in Interdisciplinary

Robert Quinlan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Rebecca Sear

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Eric Schniter

Chapman University - George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics - Economic Science Institute

Christopher von Rueden

Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond

Samuel Bowles

Santa Fe Institute; University of Massachusetts

Tom Hertz

ERS

Adrian Bell

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

We present empirical measures of wealth inequality and its intergenerational transmission among four horticulturalist populations. Wealth is construed broadly as embodied somatic and neural capital, including body size, fertility and cultural knowledge, material capital such as land and household wealth, and relational capital in the form of coalitional support and field labor. Wealth inequality is moderate for most forms of wealth, and intergenerational wealth transmission is low for material resources and moderate for embodied and relational wealth. Our analysis suggests that domestication alone does not transform social structure; rather, the presence of scarce, defensible resources may be required before inequality and wealth transmission patterns resemble the familiar pattern in more complex societies. Land ownership based on usufruct and low-intensity cultivation, especially in the context of other economic activities such as hunting and fishing, is associated with more egalitarian wealth distributions as found among hunter-gatherers.

Suggested Citation

Gurven, Michael and Borgerhoff Mulder, Monique and Hooper, Paul L. and Kaplan, Hillard S. and Quinlan, Robert and Sear, Rebecca and Schniter, Eric and von Rueden, Christopher and Bowles, Samuel and Hertz, Thomas and Bell, Adrian, Domestication Alone Does Not Lead to Inequality (2010). Current Anthropology Volume 51, Number 1, February 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1939526

Monique Borgerhoff Mulder

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Paul L. Hooper

Santa Fe Institute ( email )

1399 Hyde Park Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501
United States

Hillard S. Kaplan

University of New Mexico - Program in Interdisciplinary ( email )

107 Humanitites Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1221
United States

HOME PAGE: http://pibbs.unm.edu/

Robert Quinlan

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Rebecca Sear

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Eric Schniter

Chapman University - George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics - Economic Science Institute ( email )

One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/ericschniter/

Christopher Von Rueden

Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond ( email )

28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/chrisvonrueden/home

Samuel Bowles

Santa Fe Institute ( email )

1399 Hyde Park Rd
Santa Fe, NM 87501
United States
505-984-8800 (Phone)
505-982-0565 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.santafe.edu

University of Massachusetts ( email )

Amherst, MA 01002
United States
413-545-2590 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~bowles/

Thomas Hertz

ERS ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5416 (Phone)

Adrian Bell

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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