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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breaking free of the hunter-gatherer mentality

Pervasive in the Occupy movement is the assumption that relative inequality of wealth -- as opposed to the absolute amount of wealth (on the low end of the spectrum) that some possess -- is per se a problem. This is atavistic thinking, a leftover from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. If one member of the tribe goes out and gathers all the nuts and berries within walking distance and refuses to share, the whole tribe suffers. If the idea that inequality of wealth can be acceptable seems counterintuitive, it is because we evolved to our present state before most of the activities that generate wealth were invented.

This insight comes courtesy of my husband, aka The Hoosier Gadfly.

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