Imagine a world without poverty. What would it look like? Is it even possible? How do we get there? When people working at foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies dive into this topic, they typically do so with the assumption that poverty is just a natural part of the universe. And yet, if they simply looked to the anthropological literature, they would think very differently.
Poverty appeared recently — some 10,000 years ago when we entered the Neolithic Age of agriculture with its permanent human settlements, stratification of wealth and inequality, and the invention of imperial conquest. Poverty doesn’t arise, it is created. As software engineers would say “it is a feature, not a bug” of all economic systems built on hoarding behavior and the concentration of power.
The best academic sources for this topic are Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame by Christopher Boehm and
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