Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality

Energy, Hierarchy and the Origin of Inequality
Fix, Blair. (2019). PLoS ONE. Vol. 14. No. 4. April. pp. 1-32. (Article - Journal; English).

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Abstract or Brief Description

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.



Publication Type

Article - Journal


energy hierarchy inequality


BN Power
BN Civilization & Social Systems
BN Conflict & Violence
BN Distribution
BN History

Depositing User

Jonathan Nitzan

Date Deposited

25 Apr 2019 21:54

Last Modified

20 May 2019 01:57


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