Argues that the struggle over income, wealth, status and privilege-inequality-has been the principal, defining issue in human history and provides a novel framework for understanding inequality today
Whereas President Barack Obama declared inequality as the defining issue of our time, in The Origins and Dynamics of Inequality
, Jon D. Wisman claims more: it is the defining issue of all human history. The struggle over inequality has been the underlying force driving human history's unfolding. Drawing on the dynamics of inequality, Wisman re-interprets economic history and society. Beyond according inequality the central role in history, this book is novel in two other respects: First, transcending the general failure of social scientists and historians to anchor their work in explicit theories of human behaviour, this book grounds the origins and dynamics of inequality in evolutionary psychology, or more specifically, Darwin's theory of sexual selection. Second, this book accords central importance to ideology in legitimating inequality, a role typically inadequately addressed by social scientists and historians. Because of the central role of inequality in history, inequality's
explosion over the past forty years has not been an anomaly. It is a return to the political dynamics by which elites have, since the rise of the state, taken practically everything for themselves, leaving all others with little more than the means with which to survive. Due to elites' persuasive ideology, even after workers in advanced capitalist countries gained the franchise to become the overwhelming majority of voters, inequality continued to increase.
Sweeping and provocative, Jon D. Wisman presents a fresh perspective on why economic inequality exists and how its dynamics have shaped human history.