Yay Social Inequality

01.23.133:58 PM ET

The Oh So Stubborn Meritocracy

Is the human race naturally egalitarian or meritocratic? Most major societies trend meritocratic, and Dylan Evans notes that not even communism in practice is egalitarian, as bribes and high positioning within the ruling party makes some more powerful than others. Commerce, however, injects a sense of fairness and egalitarianism into this Darwinist scheme.

The gradual development of market mechanisms would have been impossible without the co-evolution of norms about what constitutes a fair exchange. And this gives rise to a paradox: markets are both the cause of great inequality, and the source of ideas about what constitutes fair exchange

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