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What Makes Humans Economically Distinctive? A Three-Species Evolutionary Comparison and Historical Analysis

  • Christopher Boehm

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    The fundamental problem, of what makes humans economically distinctive, is addressed here by using a highly focused cross-species analysis to examine the evolution of property relations. Chimpanzees and bonobos are compared with mobile human foragers, and it is argued that our egalitarian political practices, in conjunction with variance-reduction practices we applied prehistorically to large-game meat consumption, led to a critical evolutionary transformation. The transition began with private property at the ancestral level, but ended with humans having not only private property, but communal property. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/B:JBIO.0000040455.83350.1d
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Bioeconomics.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 109-135

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:6:y:2004:i:2:p:109-135
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    1. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-05, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    2. Samuel Bowles & Astrid Hopfensitz, 2000. "The Co-evolution of Individual Behaviors and Social Institutions," Working Papers 00-12-073, Santa Fe Institute.
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