Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Egalitarian By Nature?

Christopher Boehm has written a book, Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior, about his search for the roots of human political behavior. This is another contentious nature vs. nurture question, complicated by the vast range of human behaviors. Our relatives among the higher primates exhibit a wide range on the scale from egalitarian to despotic, with the behavior rather specifically specified by species, but human societies range from far more despotic to more egalitarian than any of them. Moreover, human societies exhibit cooperation on a scale not see in egalitarian monkey or other animal societies.

I haven't gotten far in the book, but Boehm looks like a naturist to me.