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Florida (U.S.), May 11 (Canadian-Media): A theory by Thomas Piketty, a renowned economist, on present-day wealth inequality explains a lot about how smaller-scale societies in the prehistoric Mediterranean developed, research of a professor from Florida State University (FSU) suggests, Science X Newsletter reports said.
Thomas Piketty. Image credit: Facebook page
While progress of economic conditions can slow the rate of wealth inequality and low-growth can accelerate it, says Piketty's theory.
In a new study, Thomas Leppard, FSU Assistant Professor of Anthropology argues that certain hierarchical Mediterranean societies from about 3500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. fall into this low-growth context described by Piketty .
Leppard's research is published in the journal Current Anthropology.
The reason Mediterranean societies could not reach the levels of societies in richer environments throughout the Old World, argues Leppard, was due to their development in zones that were not prime for agriculture provided opportunities.
Similarly In high-growth environments of larger, urban societies located in Mesopotamia, or near the Nile and the Yellow rivers, income inequality was slow to occur, suggests Leppard.
"We know that agriculture was, to an extent, vital for the emergence of urban and 'state' societies," Leppard said.
Piketty's theory, says Leppard, illustrates how very different conditions can drive similar social outcomes, and this challenges some current models in anthropological archaeology on how societal hierarchies developed.
"Ultimately, if very different processes can drive the appearance of societies that appear structurally similar, we're going to have to start thinking about multiple pathways to societies that we like to think of in one category," Leppard said.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)