~12 min read · Aug 29th · This was written exactly one week after September 11, 2001, at the invitation of the Chicago Reader‘s editor, but the first time it was published was on this web site on March 11, 2010. — J.R. I was…
~14 min read · Jun 10th · For 97 per cent of human history, all people had about the same power and access to goods. How did inequality ratchet up?
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.
There are two developments in mobile forager cultures that tend to set the stage for the establishment of inequality. One such scaffold to inequality was the emergence of clan structure. Clans have a strong corporate identity, built around real or mythical genealogical connection,
7 min read · Jun 24th · In a new book, the historian Elizabeth Hinton reveals that, in the late sixties and early seventies, there were hundreds of local rebellions against white violence and racial inequality.
~13 min read · Apr 15th · The fall of the Roman Empire wasn’t a tragedy for civilisation. It was a lucky break for humanity as a whole
Yet all these enduring influences pale against Rome’s most important legacy: its fall. Had its empire not unravelled, or had it been replaced by a similarly overpowering successor, the world wouldn’t have become modern.